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In My Own Hand

In My Own Hand

       As we face life, at some point we come to the realization that we have responsibility for our own lives. For most, this encompasses the better part of our adulthood. When we began our lives, our parents had the duty to feed, clothe, and provide for us. As teens, we eagerly looked forward to “being on our own”, not fully realizing the obligations we must so soon face. Many, upon having to deal with these, keep leaning heavily on parents or on various folks to “support” them in numerous ways.   Still others, while they are quite young, tenaciously take on the many rigors of life and see to their needs as best they can. Unfortunately, a lot of folks lower their standards in order to accomplish this. One can perhaps “make it through” this life in this fashion.

       However, when it comes to our eternal soul, we are not allowed to alter the standard God’s Word sets, nor relegate the responsibility for our soul to another. It is clear from Ezekiel 18:20 that each one with a capable mind has accountability for their own actions while on earth.   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. Should not all be aware from this that each has full control of their eternal destiny?  

     In Psalm 119:109, the Spirit had the palmist pen Words to convey this very thought, and also point to the means by which every soul can be preserved. My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law. We should also be mindful that it is up to the individual to make the choice. Just a little before this we read: I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments (God’s Word) have I laid before me. - Psalm 119:30. This shows some of the differences between man, created in the image of God, and the beasts of the field. First, man has an everlasting soul, and will spend eternity somewhere.   The beasts do not. Secondly, we can determine where that will be.   But we can only make that determination from God’s Word.  

       Some are quick to point out correctly that these previous passages are from the O.T., and therefore don’t necessarily apply to us. But, let me show that this concept is relevant in the present dispensation as well. This becomes readily apparent in Galatians 6:7. The churches of that area, and by extension we today, know that all shall receive reward or punishment based on the choices made in this life.  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Verse 8 shows we have the choice to live for the “here and now”, or live now while properly preparing for eternity. That choice is ours. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

         The N. T. church in Corinth was also reminded in 2Corinthians 5:10, that their soul was “in their hands” and that each must give an account for the choices made while residing in these earthly bodies. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.  This also shows that we have a choice to make.   Hebrews 9:27 reminds us that these choices must be made in this life, before our departure from this realm.   And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

         Therefore, we need guidance.   As we return to the example of God’s O.T. people Israel, we see they were given divine guidance in Jeremiah 6:16. Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.  Notice the choice many of them made at that time. God had previously given these people His Law, and expected them to follow it.   Obviously, they had not, and needed to repent and turn to the “ways” God had shown them through that Law.

     As the N.T. time approached, Jesus told His apostles that the Spirit would provide them the needed guidance following Christ’s ascension to Heaven. In John 16:12-13 we read the Words of Jesus to them.   I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. That guidance included causing them to remember what the Lord had taught them according to John 14:25-26. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.  These things are now recorded in God’s Word for us.

       We now live in the “last days”, the final dispensation of time, and still, everyone’s soul is in their own hands. The “way” we are to go is the same as was explained to Thomas in John 14:6. Jesus said: I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Won’t you come to God through Christ in full obedience to His Word?   Your soul is in your hand. You have responsibility for it. What will you do with it? Where will it spend eternity? These questions cannot be answered for you. You must answer them now by how you live.   Be obedient to God’s New Testament plan of Salvation. Make proper preparation for you soul today.  

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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