Throughout the whole world, people work to accumulate things of value.  Depending on your culture, beads may be of great value, or livestock, or diamonds, or gold.  Value is determined by the beholder and the situation at hand.  To someone out in the middle of nowhere starving to death, food and water has greatest value, and a diamond ring wouldn’t be worth the bother of picking up off the ground.  Many put great value on land, homes, possessions and money, while overlooking the most valuable thing of all.     The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 16:26: For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  Though we go through life trying to avoid death for obvious reasons, one thing is for certain, living forever in this body is not an option.  While it may have been intended for Adam and Eve to live forever in their physical body before death entered them through sin, we don’t have that option, for, as the Bible says, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  Yes, that includes you and me.  One day we will all give account for the life we have lived.  What is at stake?  The most valuable thing we possess; our soul.  It is said we can take nothing with us into death, and many have said, If I can’t take my money then I’m not going.  But they are going anyway, like it or not.  We don’t have much control over the “when”, but we do have control over what will happen in the day when we will appear before the Lord.
       Sometimes we get so involved in life, trying to do this or that, that we forget our soul is the only thing we have that will exist beyond the grave.  There have been times I have been so busy working on something that I forget to eat.  A person can get away with that for a while, depending on how focused they are on the task at hand, but eventually your body will say, ENOUGH!  I NEED SOMETHING TO EAT!  Eventually your body’s need will take precedence over your wants.  Whether you are having a wonderful time on the lake in a speedboat, or you are working to build a home to live in, sooner or later you have to stop to eat and sleep.  It’s your body’s way of telling you, my survival is more important than your project.
    In many parts of the world, just surviving the day is the most important thing, and they don’t worry about how they are going to get their next new car or possession.  It doesn’t seem to matter where people live, they tend to focus on physical needs and desires, leaving eternal things to “take care of themselves”.  But the Lord Jesus wants us to consider, what defines true value?  He implies He has no problem if a man gains the whole world for a possession.  So what?  It’s just “stuff”.  And we all know, “stuff” is temporary.  We can build a fine house, but one day it will fall down.  We can buy a new car, but one day it will end up rusting away in a junk yard.  Everything man makes will eventually return to the earth from which it came.  And OUR BODIES will eventually also return to the earth from which we came.  That isn’t what the Lord Jesus is concerned about.  While mankind is “here after” all we can get, Jesus is concerned with the “hereafter”.  What “hereafter”?  The one we humans will all face one day.  He isn’t telling us to sit around idly and do nothing with our life, no, the Lord created us to accomplish things.  Imagine what this world would be like if we never grew crops, or built homes, or roads, and we just sit around in caves grunting at one another.  But even if we did, the Lord would still be interested in our soul. 
   The Bible isn’t saying if we possess things we will lose our soul.  God created mankind on the earth to possess it and do things with it, but we must not fail to realize, mankind is a three part being, we are a spirit being, having a soul, that is, our mind, will, and emotions, and we live in a body.  The spirit part of us is eternal, meaning, when our physical body no longer functions and dies, all that will be left is the spirit, which returns to God who gave it.  Then what happens to the soul, consisting of our mind, will, and emotions?  Here’s where it gets interesting.  The Bible clearly says in Ezekiel 18:4, Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die   Right there, the Lord erases any doubt as to what is going to happen: a soul that sins shall die.  It shall cease to live, just like the body shall one day cease to live.  Have you ever thought about that?  Have you ever given any thought to the fact that if you sin, one day all you think, all your hopes and dreams, all you feel inside, will cease to exist?  You may have thought your soul is eternal, but that isn’t what the Bible teaches.  The Bible teaches our spirit is eternal, but our soul is subject to die.
   Imagine this scenario: we will say you have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and believe, and turn your heart to God. In that moment you experience what is called “being born again”.  Your spirit has been born again, not your soul or your body.  It is then YOUR responsibility to renew your soul; that is, your mind, will, and emotions, to the word of God.  That means you DO what the word of God says, not just agree that it is good.  You begin to cast down every thought that enters your mind that is contrary to the word of God, and refuse to act on them.  You stop hating people or holding grudges.  You choose to forgive others, not because it’s easy, but because the word of God instructs you to.  You stop lust in its tracks, whether it’s sexual lust, or lust for fame, money, or whatever you used to lust after.  Then you take it a step further, you make your BODY line up with the word of God.  You stop caving in to fleshly bad habits such as smoking, or drugs, or drinking yourself drunk, gambling, and everything else that God does not get glory from.  How do you determine what fleshly behaviors need to be changed?  That’s the easy part.  Ask yourself, “Does God get glory if I do this?”  Your flesh may argue “yes”, but your spirit and soul know the truth, don’t they?
The word of God tells us if we don’t reel in the wrong desires of the soul, if we persist in doing ungodly things, even though our spirit man has been “born again”, that our soul will die, plain and simple.  We can say, “I don’t think my soul could be lost once my spirit is saved”, but that isn’t what the Bible says.  God sets the rules, and like it or not, we will be either justified or condemned by them.
   It isn’t God’s responsibility to make us live a godly life, it’s ours.  God gave mankind free will, and He will not violate our free will, even if it means our soul must die as a result of our choices.  Going back to Ezekiel chapter 18, it is important that we heed God’s words:

Eze 18:4  Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Eze 18:5  But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right,
Eze 18:6  And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman,
Eze 18:7  And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment;
Eze 18:8  He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man,
Eze 18:9  Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.
Eze 18:10  If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things,
Eze 18:11  And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour’s wife,
Eze 18:12  Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination,
Eze 18:13  Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.
Eze 18:14  Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father’s sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like,
Eze 18:15  That hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbour’s wife,
Eze 18:16  Neither hath oppressed any, hath not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment,
Eze 18:17  That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.
Eze 18:18  As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.
Eze 18:19  Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.
Eze 18:20  The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
Eze 18:21  But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Eze 18:22  All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
Eze 18:23  Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
Eze 18:24  But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.
Eze 18:25  Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal?
Eze 18:26  When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.
Eze 18:27  Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
Eze 18:28  Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Eze 18:29  Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?
Eze 18:30  Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
Eze 18:31  Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
Eze 18:32  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.
   You are in a battle for the life of your soul.  Each day the devil will try to persuade you to make decisions that will enable him to lead you to destruction.  A little here, a little there, he knows you aren’t stupid enough to just turn your back on God after He has saved you.  But if he can get you to lust, just this once, he can do it again and again.  If he can get you to hold a grudge, just a little one, he can eventually get you really offended, until you can no longer walk in love with people.  If he can get you busy working to build YOUR kingdom, you will soon forget you should be building GOD’S Kingdom on earth.  The devil is a sly one, he is your fiercest enemy, and he has no mercy whatsoever.  He wants to see your soul burn in hell.  He does not value your soul, and he hopes you don’t either.
   How can we neglect to hear the words of our Lord who not only loves us, but who gave Himself on the cross as the sacrifice for our sins, so we could live and not die.  A soul is most valuable unto the Lord, and specifically YOUR soul.  Is not YOUR soul the most important thing you have?  Of course it is, and you would do well to spend your life taking good care of it, for how can you put a price upon it?  What are YOU willing to give in exchange that YOUR soul might live?  I’d like you to think about that today, and every day.