At our last Home Church gathering, we had a conversation about the importance of our human spirit. It is to be expected that among a group of people who come from different denominational backgrounds and church experience, there will be differences of opinions, and even those who don't fully understand the relationship with our spirit.
To set the foundation of this post, let me just explain that the Bible clearly states that we are a three-part being ... we are flesh [or our physical body]; we have a soul; and we are a spirit being. We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. As my husband pointed out in our study this morning, Scripture presents those three parts in the order of their importance -- first and foremost, we are a spirit being, made in the image of God, who is Spirit. Jesus created us at the foundation of the world and has known the purpose for which He created us since that time. It is our spirit that He sends to earth to be knit in our mother's womb, and in His perfect timing. He decides exactly what moment. on what day, and what year in which century you will be conceived. Think about that! Your spirit was divinely created, and you are here for a time such as this, with a specific purpose to glorify God!
Secondly, we have been given a soul which consists of our mind [our thoughts and opinions], our emotions [which are our feelings], and our will [which is our free will, given by God, to make decisions on our own]. Thirdly, our soul and spirit reside in this body of flesh, which is corruptible and decaying with each passing moment. At some point, this fleshly temple, where the Holy Spirit resides in our hearts, will die and our spirit will return to its place of origin, Heaven. I will admit that I am still determining my opinion of the destination of our soul when we die, but for now I am content that it is our consciousness and will remain in a state of "sleep". Whether it is joined with our resurrected, glorious bodies or not, has not been fully determined in my mind at this time.
But I want to emphasize that we are the creation of God, and before the Fall in the Garden, mankind shared in a perfect relationship with his Creator. Our spirit easily communed with God's Spirit, as when God placed man in the Garden and told him not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. There was no impediment between our spirit and His Spirit. But when sin befell man, it was as if a window closed, or a curtain fell, blocking easy access between our spirit and His. It is only when the Holy Spirit is deposited in us that we once again can gain access to the Presence of God.
Just as in the Old Testament picture of God's Presence [as Spirit] residing in the Temple in the Holy of Holies, it is the Holy Spirit that is now God's Presence in us, residing in the temple of our body, specifically in our heart, which is representative of the Holy of Holies. If we are truly a new creation in Christ, then the spirit part of our human nature should be intimately engaged with the spirit realm of the Kingdom of God in Heaven. So why are so many Christians not operating in their purpose and are still under oppression; not walking in the freedom that Jesus came to deliver to us?
Here is what we need to realize ... We are a spirit being, having a soul, and residing in a physical body. Once we have made the decision to believe in the Saving grace of Jesus Christ, we are a new creation, and our spirit should prevail over our soul and our body. But oftentimes, before our conversion, the soul has run the show. We have been governed by our natural minds and emotions, and our free will has become used to doing what makes us feel good. Oftentimes, that soul part of our nature has served as a protector from the world and its hurts. For instance, we develop a controlling personality because we've been damaged by people who have taken advantage of us in the past, and that helps us to feel like we're invincible. So our soul (mind, will, and emotions) develops a protective pattern that has become the way we operate in this world.
But Jesus came so that we could be free of those emotional wounds, and when we accept Him as our Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. And if the soul has a hard time giving up its supremacy, that situation limits the ability of our spirit to engage with God's Presence in us. The soul still tries to control how we live, and we are unable to operate out of the spirit, as God designed us. In other words, the soul is still operating from a "natural man" state. It is important that we keep the soul and spirit separate so the testimony of the Word of God in our spirit can lead our souls to a restful state and into the full knowledge of the Presence of God in us.
Try to picture it like this .... we are designed to be spirit beings, having access to the spirit realm in Heaven and the Presence of God and Jesus. We have been made a spirit being, yet having a soul and living in a physical body. If the soul is allowed to dominate our "spirit man", it is like a hard shell of concrete placed over our heart, where our spirit operates out of. Our spirit is being smothered by our soul and it cannot get free to seek the Light of God. This brings into focus the importance of Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
When we are born again, our soul and spirit are to be divided and separated, allowing our spirit to function in the capacity God ordained it. The soul must come into submission to our spirit, instead of the other way around. We must be attuned to the state of our soul, and when necessary, determine [in the flesh] to break it apart from our spirit, in order to free the spirit to commune with God. Use your imagination to see something splitting that concrete shell off your spirit, freeing it to function as a spirit being. Take the word of God [which is power!] and drive it between your soul and spirit. The dividing of soul and spirit is mandated by the word of God and is vital to our ability to commune with Him. We were made to function spirit to Spirit, and to engage with God in that spirit realm. Our spirit man is designed to host our body and soul; to be bigger than them in order that we might walk in the full measure of our Sonship.
Let me give you an example of how our spirits can work with God to reach another person's spirit in their time of need. It has been a process for me to learn to walk and work in my spirit. I have to oftentimes tell me soul to sit quietly in the corner and let my spirit hear from God. And I have a very good friend who has been suffering from leukemia and was in ICU due to the effects of a particular treatment she had received. Her husband called me one afternoon, while I was driving, and I heard the despair in his voice as he told me, "Please pray for her. It's not looking good!" I hung up and immediately pictured myself in the throne room of God in Heaven, on my knees, asking for compassion and mercy for my friend. Then I deliberately sent my spirit to my friend's bedside, and I cried out in my anguish, "It's time to fight! You've got to fight to live! I want your spirit to hear my spirit declaring that the battle is on! And, Satan, I am calling on the armies of Heaven to come join me in the spiritual realm to fight this battle against you and your evil hordes! We have the healing power of God on our side and we will prevail!" My last words were a final shout to my friend's spirit, "I want you to hear me loud and clear ... FIGHT NOW!"
Well, the husband had no idea what I had prayed or that I had sent my spirit to both Heaven and his wife's bedside. But he called me later that night and said the hospital had brought her out of the induced coma they had initiated and right before they did, my friend was whispering, "Fight! Fight! Fight!". Now, was that a coincidence? You will never convince me of that. I find such hope in knowing we have the same power and authority that we see exhibited in Revelation 4 ... There, the Apostle John tells us that his spirit was free to engage with God in that spirit realm: I saw a heavenly portal open before me, and the same trumpet-voice I heard speaking with me at the beginning broke the silence and said, “Ascend into this realm! I want to reveal to you what must happen after this.” Instantly I was taken into the spirit realm... or as the Amplified version says, At once I was in [special communication with] the Spirit...
Here is the truth --- that was not some special dispensation for John alone! Our Father desires that we engage with Him in the spirit realm! I know that is not a commonly held opinion in our modern denominations. But throughout the Bible God and His Spirit have engaged with men, and it is the intimate desire of His heart that this be an integral component of our relationship with Him. When our spirit can function as it should, and we are able to engage with Heaven on that intimate level, then our souls find rest and our natural man operates from a place of peace.
In summary, contemplate what the closing verses in Matthew 11 tell us about how our souls are to operate in a spiritual relationship with our Savior. Jesus asks, “Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden [upon your soul]? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Take My yoke upon you [joining your life with Mine] and learn My ways. You’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” If you can see it, this is a picture of communing with Jesus in a spiritual realm, free of the burdens of our mind and emotions, where our spirit is refreshed and our souls can be at rest.... and we can enjoy the reality of who we are designed to be: a body of flesh where soul and spirit reside; divided, yet operating in cooperation with God. When we have that intimate relationship, spirit to Spirit, we can understand our divine purpose and glorify our Creator. That's the reason He sent us here!
Romans 8:6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.