Old Souls

Mike Focht 2/2/2024

There are temptations particular to each stage of life. One of the temptations of old age is that of an old soul. As we age physically, our physical growth slows. As we age spiritually, we are in danger of ignoring spiritual slowing in a parallel fashion. 

It seems that Peter, who was no young man when the Holy Spirit inspired him to write his letters, was very concerned with the spiritual growth of believers. He commands his readers to desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Though his physical life had matured, Peter knew full well there was plenty of space for his soul to grow in the life and knowledge of God. The longer he walked with God, the more sure he felt he needed spiritual growth. Age didn’t have to be a detriment to his life in God; it need not be a detriment to ours. 

God has designed the normal process of life here on earth to push toward growth in Him. Physical limitations and failings force us to place our hope in the promise of resurrection bodies. We know more people as we age and have built deeper friendships that inspire more prayers of loving grace and intercession. We also begin to know more people in heaven than we do on earth. The accumulation of wealth and time allows us to generously love others with the material goods we no longer need and cannot take with us. Finally, death forces us back to the simplicity of Christ and His Words and the ultimate hope of heaven. 

An old soul with no more desire for growth and little appetite for God will see these things differently. An old soul will protect their physical comfort and preserve their health at all costs—even their spirituality. An old soul will give up on making new friends or seeking to deepen relationships, even allowing a few old ones to slip by the wayside because they have a few too many anyway. And the old soul will continue accumulating wealth here on earth for its pleasure and protection, forgetting its treasure in heaven, each added possession galvanizing the heart to earth, inevitably making the inescapable break all the more painful. Finally, an old soul will be obsessed with death—fearfully obsessed with death in a way that causes it to frantically escape any serious contemplation of it. Death is the ultimate intruder to an old soul. 

You see, we must learn what Peter knew. To no longer have any concern for spiritual growth means that we are bored with God. It means we are not genuinely communing with God physically, relationally, materially, or actually. For spiritual growth to wither, God must become peripheral and earthly things must become central. The change is subtle yet devastating. That is one of the reasons why Peter, as an older man, was led by the Holy Spirit to urge believers of all ages to continue to grow! We cannot escape having old bodies, but we should escape having old souls. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.