8 ¶ He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.
Its rather easy to love and care for your own flesh. It commands you to do so. Hunger, cold, heat, and pain are felt and tug at you, as your flesh demands to be satisfied and every need met or there is no peace. It takes a strong individual to deny themselves and our self denial is usually rather inconsistent. In fact, we spend so much time trying to satisfy the flesh we deny the needs of the soul.
The first need of the soul is to know the Lord Jesus Christ. The soul needs to know the One who will keep it from the eternal torment of the Lake of Fire and who will unite it with a new body and the spirit in eternal communion with Christ, the Word by which they were created.
Sadly, we teach our children by our example and our permission that satisfying the flesh is the greatest good they can do. Hours are allowed to be spent in front of a television or computer screen, perhaps a game console of some kind, just occupying our time, in no semblance even thinking of drawing closer to Christ through reading, studying, or relating what we understand of His words to another. We drive our children to endless sports activities and wish for them, if possible, the best education they can get so that they will lack nothing as an adult and perhaps “make us proud”. But, very little time is given to teaching a child to love his own soul.
We go to church, the most of us, merely to be entertained or inspired, as we sit passively in sermon after sermon. Perhaps we focus on establishing relationships and friendships at church and engage in activities that we hope will give our children a “healthy outlet” for their energy and intelligence.
Is it any wonder when a child goes astray, winds up in a nightmare of a life of his own creation, or commits suicide to escape the hopelessness and pointlessness that they feel? For, you see, the flesh offers nothing but temporary respite from discomfort and the anesthetic of pleasure. It is a blackmailer on the one hand, merely promising pain if its demands aren’t met. On the other hand the pleasure it offers gives a diminishing return so that one day, if you live long enough you’ll experience all of the old age losses that Solomon talks about in Ecclesiastes 12. We play, we love, we laugh, we are entertained, well fed, clothed, drive a nice car, live in a nice house, perhaps have the respect of people who look up to us, but then one day, we are gone. The flesh dies. Within a generation or two unless we’ve accomplished some great thing we are forgotten. It’s as if we were never born. Our names will exist on some public record or on a grave marker, but in short time, after those who knew us are also gone, we will be blotted out of all memories. This is what the flesh offers because our flesh is temporary, only a temporary habitation.
The soul, however, lives forever. It will inhabit a new body one day, one that does not control our every movement nor one that extorts time and attention. It will be able to walk through walls (John 20:19), and move great distances instantaneously (Acts 8:39-40), accomplish feats of extraordinary ability like Elijah in 1 Kings 18:46 and Samson in Judges 14 through 16, never die, never have anything to grieve, and never experience pain as in Revelation 21:4. But, that’s if the soul’s need for Christ has been met. That’s only if the soul seeks and receives Christ, our wisdom, and our salvation.
1Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (a reference to Gentiles; non-Jews).
But the soul that does not know Christ will also experience eternity, only not in the way of the first. In the beginning, after death, there is Hell, the natural destination of all human souls (Luke 16:23). Eventually, Hell itself will be cast into a lake of unquenchable fire (Revelation 20:14). There, reduced to absolute misery the soul that has rejected Christ will spend forever (Mark 9:42-48; Isaiah 66:24).
If you love your own soul, then get wisdom. Wisdom is Christ. There is no greater wisdom than Christ. For the Christian there is no wisdom apart from Christ. For any person there is no wisdom without Christ. You may be wise in this world but one day, without Christ, it will be as if you were never born to people here. But, for you there will be unimaginable pain, regret, and sorrow as ages and aeons stretch out before you with no hope of redemption and no way of changing your fate. God will not hear your pleas for salvation or mercy. Now, He will hear you. Now, He will lift you up. Now is the time for salvation through Christ.
Understanding is counsel from God (Deuteronomy 32:28). Understanding is that inspiration that God placed in Godly men to give us His words in a Book;
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
God, who knows every second of every minute of every hour that ever was, could have conceivably written a book that we could never read or hold in our hands but He chose to give us His counsel in about 1200 pages thereabouts. Every word is important, with layers of meanings, double and triple meanings, and statements that will last for eternity.
Psalm 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
It is the principal means by which a Christian is set apart for God’s use.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
God holds His word as being very important.
Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
There is no understanding apart from God’s word. Please hear me. There is absolutely no understanding apart from God’s word. If you think you don’t need the Bible but you walk and talk with Christ regularly, who walks and talks with you, let me give you a warning from the Bible.
2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Do you love your soul? What about your children? Are you depending on a visit to meet with the church once, twice, or three times per week to lift your child out of the muck and mire of life? If you love your soul get wisdom, first. There is no wisdom apart from Christ. If you have Christ’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, dwelling inside of you now then drink in His words. Consume them like food.
Job 34:3 For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
Surround your child with that “soul food” as well. Feed his or her soul. Teach them that the flesh can only be appeased and will one day betray them. Teach them to love their soul by loving Christ. Teach them to get understanding and to feed their soul by reading and hearing His words. Teach them to “keep” or guard that understanding with a strong, daily dose of those words. Let the Word enrich you and them with the words every day. There is nothing on the glass toilet; the monster in the living room, the rock n’ rap station on the radio, or the DVD player that will save. Get wisdom, keep understanding, and find good.