“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

Shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his sight? How would you view that proposition? You shall have estates, blocks of houses, mines of gold, luxuries untold, and in exchange you must pay with your sight. Will you agree with the bargain? What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his hearing? You shall have diamonds in multitudes that cannot be numbered, servants for every need, and all the delights of the sons of men, but you shall pay your hearing in exchange for the bounty; you shall never hear the human voice again, its eloquence, its song, its friendly word, its kind salute. What would you say to this offer? Would it be too much to pay?

What a wonder, then, if Jesus Christ should say, “If you will not pay your sight, if you will not pay your hearing, in exchange for what the world has and can give, what shall it profit you if you gain it all and pay with your soul? A soul paid for a month’s comfort, eternity ruined at the price of a day’s release from pain, heaven pain in exchange for hell.” These are the ironies of life! Such things are done every day by men who claim to some measure of intelligence. Within us there is a power against which our best impulses and noblest purposes contend. A wondrous battlefield is the human heart! What is the remedy? Our opportunity lies in the grand choice between being crucified by others and crucifying ourselves. Jesus laid down His life, and therein was His peace. So, we must yield up our will to Christ’s own cross.

Adapted from In His Presence