he who seeks to save his soul-life will kill it, but whoever will kill it will save it.
literal of Mark 8:35, Mat. 16:25, Luk. 17:33
Translations that give “loses his life” are quite the misnomer and make the reader think that it pertains to his life being in some sense “taken from” him. But the text says he must kill it himself. This is not killing your body, but killing your soul, that it might be saved.
The context was “remember Lot’s wife”. Lot’s wife looked back, because presumably her soul was still in Sodom. She was connected to it and desiring it. Our soul is engendered in the city we grew up in, not from above. All of the earthly passions, fears, ambitions, and problems become our soul and our soul becomes all of that—intertwined. We learn here the soul has to be killed. Not “killed” but killed. That means a painful death. But it is not the painful death of the body, but the soul. It means letting go of it. Stop protecting or fortifying it. Embrace the pain rather than resisting it just as Christ embraced the cross and killed his own soul: “I lay down my soul-life, that I might take it again” John 10:17. By laying down his soul-life on the alter to be sacrificed.
Fear the one who is able to kill the soul-life and body in Gehenna.
If we kill our soul now, we are birthed a new heart of flesh now, and receive all the benefits of this both in this life and the life that is coming. If we seek to save our earthly soul, it will be killed along with the body in Gehenna.