by Bud McCord
Did you know that there is a difference between your spirit and your soul? There is and that difference needs to be understood if you ever hope to understand and live what God has in store for you.
Read these words in Hebrews 4:12 and note how the spirit and the soul are differentiated and contrasted.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (emphasis mine)
In this verse soul is linked to “joints” and spirit is linked to “marrow”. Problems with your joints will not kill you but they may make you want to die. Just ask people with chronic back pain! Problems in your mind, emotions and will (your soul) will not condemn you death, but may make you want to condemn yourself to death.
Problems with your marrow (spirit) don’t seem as dramatic or as painful as joint issues (soul disturbances) but they will eventually take your life. Problems with your spirit may seem unimportant and almost unnoticed, but they can separate you from God’s life forever.
The verse goes on to link “thoughts” to the soul and “intents” to the “heart” or spirit.
What goes on in the thoughts is significant to human behavior, but God sees our intent and judges our intentions as the essential thing about us.
It is in the marrow of our being, our spirit, where our intentions are birthed. Just as marrow is supposed to be the source of healthy human blood that allows us to live, so, too, spirit is supposed to be the source of healthy, loving intentions from which we should live. It is from the marrow (spirit or heart) that the intentions travel to the soul where they are felt, considered and become personal human desires. As soon as these desires are birthed in your soul you will quickly fulfill them with your body as actions.
Your spirit is where God designed you to connect with Him for the constant inspiration of healthy, loving intentions. No constant Divine inspiration in your spirit means no hope of healthy life and love in your soul. This is why the book of Ezekiel says God will need to give us a new heart and write His laws on our heart.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
Your soul is where those Divinely inspired intentions are transformed into your thoughts, feelings and desires. These healthy, loving intentions did not originate in you but they become yours by God’s gracious generosity. That is why you will say as they become yours in your soul “I am what I am by the grace of God.” I Corin.15:10
Your body is where those Divinely inspired intentions, which are now fully yours, are manifested as continuous love.
So, here is the Divine plan. You receive in your spirit the inspired, living intentions of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit who abide in you. You rest and rejoice in your soul as these intentions become yours. You then release these intentions through your body as sustained love.
Over time, as you live from the union of your spirit with the Spirit of Christ, you stop limping in your soul and love gets delivered efficiently. Then you say “For to me to live is Christ.” Phil 1:21 This is what is called “spiritual formation”.
This is the faith, hope and love reality Paul describes in I Cor. 13- 14:1. This is the more excellent way to live.
If you have received Christ as your Savior, the Father, Son and Spirit have come to live in your spirit where they will inspire your intentions until your soul becomes one with them and real love is delivered through you where it is needed. Your job is to believe and cooperate—to abide.
Your soul pain (joint pain) will diminish over time and one day you will walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the wrong intentions which once were so natural to you.
What a plan! I’m in! In union with the Spirit of Christ, that is.Read More »
This is from Philip Pantana who has spent hours researching this topic. It’s been an interest of mine since I started this process with PureGoodness to understand how it is that our spirit effects our body and how our mind influences our health, and on and on!! So, he spoke on this at our church recently and sent me his thoughts. I hope it’s an encouragement to you and an inspiration to see how to care for each of these areas. When our bodies are sick, could it be a spiritual sickness personifying itself as a physical illness? How can we nourish our spirits as well as our bodies?
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27 NASB)
According to the Bible, mankind is distinct from all the rest of creation, including the animals, in that he is made in the image of God. As God is a tripartite — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — so man is three parts — body, soul and spirit. In the most explicit example from Scripture of these divisions, the Apostle Paul writes:
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23 NASB).
Man is made up of physical material, the body, that can be seen and touched. But he is also made up of immaterial aspects, which are intangible — this includes the soul, spirit, intellect, will, emotions, conscience, and so forth. These immaterial characteristics exist beyond the physical lifespan of the human body and are therefore eternal.
Dr. Duncan MacDougall was an early 20th century physician in who sought to measure the mass purportedly lost by a human body when the soul departed the body upon death.
They say we all lose 23 grams at the exact moment of our death, everyone. The weight of a stack of nickels, the weight of a chocolate bar, the weight of a hummingbird…
These immaterial aspects — the spirit, soul, heart, conscience, mind and emotions — make up the whole personality. The Bible makes it clear that the soul and spirit are the primary immaterial aspects of humanity, while the body is the physical container that holds them on this earth.
The Body (Greek, “soma”)
This is the entire material or physical structure of a human being — it is the physical part of a person.
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Romans again connects the body, the mind (soul) and the spirit.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:1-2 NASB).
For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body (1 Cor. 6:20).
The Soul (Greek, “psyche”)
Genesis 2:7 states that Man was created as a “living soul.” The soul consists of the mind (which includes the conscience), the will and the emotions. The soul and the spirit are mysteriously tied together and make up what the Scriptures call the “heart.”
The writer of Proverbs declares, ” Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Prov. 4:23 NASB). We see here that the “heart” is central to our emotions and will.
But a natural (psuchikos — soulish) man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised (1 Cor. 2:14 NASB).
Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, “Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day” (Acts 23:1 NASB).
The Spirit (Greek ” Pneuma”)
In Numbers 16:22, Moses and Aaron, “fell upon their faces and said, ‘O God, God of the spirits of all flesh, when one man sins, will you be angry with the entire congregation?’” This verse names God as the God of the spirits that are possessed by all humanity. Notice also that it mentions the flesh (body) of all mankind, connecting it with the spirit.
Another key verse that describes the separation between soul and spirit is Hebrews 4:12:
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12 NASB).
We see in this passage of Scripture that the soul and spirit can be divided — and that it is the Word of God that pierces our heart to bring the division of soul and spirit, something that only God can do.
As human beings, we live eternally as a spirit, we have a soul, and we dwell in a body. We can rejoice with the Psalmist and declare,
For you formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well (Ps. 139:13-14 NASB).
We have a remarkable make up…fearfully and wonderfully made. Our God really created us into something very special, indeed. A wonderful complex of His love… Amen.