And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? [Matthew 16:26 (NLT)]
Many stories, novels, operas, musicals and movies have been based on a similar theme: the selling of one’s soul. In “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” a poor farmer sells his soul to the devil for seven years of prosperity. In the musical comedy, “Damn Yankees,” a distraught fan of the Washington Senators sells his soul to become the star ball player the Senators need for a winning season. In “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” the handsome Dorian sells his soul so that he will never age. He enters into a lifestyle of debauchery and, while he remains handsome, his picture changes, reflecting the immoral and sinful life he’s led.
Satan offers us things like power, riches or beauty in exchange for our souls every day, just not as blatantly as he does in these fictional accounts. He tempts us in smaller, more subtle, ways. We may not sign a contract with him but, nonetheless, we can sell our souls. Judas sold his for thirty pieces of silver; many more have sold out for far less. Are one’s ethics ever compromised in business to get a little more profit or an edge on the competition? Have we ever cheated on an exam, our income taxes, or when writing an invoice? Do we ever take unfair advantage? Are we always as honest and fair as we should be? Do we manipulate others to get what we want? Do we ignore what should be noticed and notice what should be ignored? Fortunately, we don’t have to fall prey to Satan’s temptations. As Christians, we have the fruit of the Holy Spirit, including self-control. It’s up to us, however, to use it.