Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
Off the coast of Greece, since the days of Plato, free divers have been plunging to depths of 50-100 meters with no breathing apparatus at all to harvest sea sponges. Others do this kind of diving for sport.
But it is extremely dangerous.
In 2013, Nicholas Mevoli died after performing a dive. He resurfaced, signaled “OK,” then lost consciousness, and died. In 2015, Russian free-diver, Natalia Molchanova, who held 41 world records and earned 23 gold medals, plunged into the Mediterranean darkness off the coast of Spain for a recreational dive, and failed to resurface. After a few days, rescue efforts ceased.
Free-divers must learn not only the physical techniques of free-diving, but also how to switch off their primal instincts. They do this through rigorous physical and mental training. They learn to silence their primal responses when breathing slows and oxygen levels decrease. However, this switch off, while necessary for the task, can also be the reason for failure. Learning to ignore one’s fears can and does result in serious injury, or even fatality.
This is true of our spiritual selves. We are spiritual beings. Some overcome spiritual fear by ignoring or denying that they are spiritual beings at all. Though it be ignored, the soul of man is quite real (see: 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12; James 2:26).
The spiritual self can, like the diver’s primal instinct, be switched off through sheer will power. The conscience can become numb (1 Timothy 4:2).
When Jesus said, “Fear not,” he meant for us to find peace and hope for our soul through obeying his gospel (Romans 1:16). He did not intend for us to switch off our soul in hopes that it would go away.
Unfortunately, many are free-diving, having shut off the spiritual intuition with which they were endowed by their Creator. They are sinking. The longer they stay submerged, the less likely it is they will resurface.