The Spirit and Soul of Man

Scripture Study:  3 John 1:2

I’ve been reading lately through the Apostle John’s three letters and this brings me to the scripture passage in this post:  3 John 1:2.

I believe by and large that Christians don’t have a total understanding of what it means “our soul to prosper.” (AMP)  In my meditations of God’s Word, I believe it would be enlightening to understand what the SOUL is first before going on.

Many people say the SPIRIT and the SOUL are the same things, however, the Word of God differentiates them.

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

[12] For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

If the soul and spirit were the same things then why would there be a need to divide them as the Word of God is saying here?

The meaning, the thoughts, and intentions of the HEART are not the same as the thoughts and intentions of the soul.  Since they are different and need to be divided,  it would be beneficial to understand this and know why this needs to be so.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?

Why is it so important to know the differences to have a prosperous soul?

I believe it’s critical for us to understand the difference.  I believe it’s vital in order to know when we are receiving something from God and something that’s just flesh.

I know God is Spirit and that He always communicates with our born again spirit, not with our flesh, or mind or soul.  I believe it begins with the Word of God, as the writer of Hebrews says.  We have to start here.  The Word of God is a divider of spirit and soul.

The word HEART is often synonymous with spirit in the Bible.  It’s not talking about the physical beating heart but our spirit.

Jesus said this…

We know He wasn’t talking about physical birth.  He specifically said, “born of the spirit.”

It’s the SPIRIT of man that’s born again.  We know this because He goes on to explain in verses 6-7:

“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.  [7] You should not be surprised at my saying,  ‘You must be born again.'”

God’s Word tells us…Proverbs 20:27 (NIV)

[27] The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one’s inmost being.

It is man’s spirit that communicates with God, and also where God communicates with us, not our intellect or emotions.

BORN AGAIN OF GOD

God’s life has been imparted to the one who acknowledges Jesus as LORD.  So, if the spirit of man is “born of God”, then what is the SOUL?

Well, we know it’s not the spirit and we know that it’s not the flesh, so what’s left?

EVERYTHING ELSE is left!

  • Our emotions,
  • Our intellect,
  • Our thought processes, and…
  • Our Minds

All are things that are NOT born again.

Now that brings up an interesting question:  “If we are born again…” then isn’t our SOUL born again too, isn’t our SOUL saved too?  At least I’ve asked that same question and it gets to the heart of this study.

The writer of Hebrews says this…Hebrews 10:39 (AMP)

“But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith persevere the soul.”  

The literal translation says “preservation of the soul.”  (Strong’s Greek 4047)

James said this– James 1:21 (NLT)

James was writing to BELIEVERS and not to the lost.  He didn’t mean to save your spirit.  Their spirits were already born again.  He said the engrafted (rooted) word, which is able to save your soul and is able to save your mind.

Our minds or souls are not born again, they have to be RENEWED by the Word of God.  This is a process that takes time while being born again happens instantly; the moment you confess Jesus as LORD.

James goes on to say…

This is about hearing and putting the Word of God into practice, or action.  This is part of the renewing process.

Paul said in Romans 12:1-2 

[1] I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you to view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and facilities] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.

[2] Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].  (AMP)

Paul here is talking about the presenting of your bodies and minds to God.  He said, BE TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind.

James said receive with meekness the engrafted Word which is able to save your soul.

The engrafted Word…Renew your minds…Save your soul.

They both said a similar thing about renewing, restoring and saving the mind or soul.

The 23rd Psalm said a similar thing (Psalm 23:3).

[3]  He refreshes my soul.  He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.

He Restores My Soul.

We are BORN AGAIN of the spirit but our soul must be renewed with the Word of God.

The mind will be dominated by the body if it’s not first RENEWED by the Word of God.

We will be dominated by the flesh and not the spiritual without this receiving process.

In order for your soul to prosper,  it must be dominated by your spirit!

In order for your spirit to dominate your soul or mind, you must receive the engrafted Word of God.  This will SAVE your soul!

You might be saying, I just don’t see this.  All you do is have to look at any mental health institution and you will see people who have lost their soul.  The world is full of people who no longer have control over their mind and have given it over to forces that now control them.  Maybe this wasn’t their original intention but it’s the end state, none of the less.

Our MINDS must be RENEWED by the Word of God.

SPIRITUAL MATURITY.

In order to grow up to spiritual adulthood, we must allow our spirit to dominate our mind and begin to walk the walk of FAITH.  It can’t happen any other way and there are no shortcuts in this process, only diligence in God’s Word.

As the Apostle Paul said, this is our reasonable service (Rom. 12:1).

Only the RENEWED MIND can dominate the body.  The mind or soul will take sides with our spirit because we have renewed it with God’s Word.

Your spirit by the power of the Holy Spirit will then and only then be able to have control of the CARNAL mind.

The Renewed Mind Is The Beginning Of The Process, Which Is The Salvation Of Our Soul  [Romans 12:1-2]

I have to ask the following questions at the end of this post: 

Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?

If so, I urge you to earnestly pray this prayer.

Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus, Your Son.  Your word says, “…the one who comes to Me, I will most certainly not cast out” (John 6:37).  So I know You won’t cast me out, but you take me in.  And I thank you for it.

You said in your Word, the “whoever” (that’s mecalls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.”  (Rom. 10:13)  

So I am calling on Your name.

So I know You have saved me now.

You also said, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and is justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”  (Rom. 10:9, 10)

I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  I believe He was raised from the dead for me to be righteous.  And I confess Him now as my Lord, because your Word says, “…so that we might become the righteousness of God.”  (2 Cor. 5:21)

And I am SAVED!  Thank You, Lord!

I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!!

I give Glory to God!!!

AMEN

If you prayed this prayer, be sure to share your new faith in Christ Jesus in the comment, reply section at the bottom of this page.

___________________________________________________________

CREDITS:

Photo/Images:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations:  New International Version (NIV); Amplified Bible (AMP); or where noted in images or in the text.

 

Searching to Obtain a “Soul Lift” Instead of a “Facelift”

A “New Image” for the Old–

A woman who turned 101 years old, was asked by a local news reporter, what she thought of living to such a ripe old age.  Her reply made me tickled:

“You know this growing old stuff is for the birds.  But considering the alternate, I’ll take growing old.”

When I reached the age of collecting Social Security and Medicare benefits in my 60’s, the “You Know You’re Getting Older When…” jokes began to play against my self-worthiness.  I know, a ‘man of God’ concerned about what he looked like in the mirror? Sorry, it happens sometimes.

“You know you’re getting old when…”

*  You and your teeth don’t sleep together.

*  You try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks and discover you aren’t wearing any.

*  You are on a first name basis with your pharmacist.

That last little “giggle” really applies in my life.  Walking into our small town pharmacist the other day to pick up a called in prescription when a voice rang out,  “Hi Mel!”  And of course, I returned the greeting and yelled across the store “Hi Jerry!!” instead of yelling back across the pharmacy counter, “What ya’ say?”.  But as the lady centenarian exclaimed, “considering the alternate…”; guess I can still chuckle at “getting older” jokes.

SCRIPTURE 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Amplified Bible:

[16] Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.

[17]  For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory  [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!].

[18]  Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.

We Are Living in a Plastic Surgery World!

I recently read in a survey dealing with plastic surgery in America, that 48% of women are interested in liposuction, cosmetic surgery, or a combination of the two.  An additional 23% said they would “possibly” be interested [Footnote [i] ].

Despite the traditional implications of cosmetic surgery as a feminine procedure, a surprising number of men expressed a similar interest.  Twenty-three percent of the men surveyed said they were definitely interested, 17% said they “might be interested [Footnote [i] ].

Outwardly we are wasting away! (2 Corinthians 4:16)

The apostle Paul’s opponents FOCUSED on the bodily presence, worldly skills, and money.  Sound familiar today?

The Greco-Roman world worshiped the body, consider the Olympic Games.  They focused exclusively on the external: exo anthropos; dee-af-thi-ro; “to rot thoroughly” – i.e. to ruin – corrupt, destroy, perish.

2 Corinthians 4:4:  “For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and likeness of God.”

Verse 4:18:  “Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.”

In Paul’s Day…

In Paul’s day, as in our day, most people seem to focus on what is VISIBLE and FLEETING.

In our culture the “worship” of the human body.  Someone watching on TV an infomercial while eating Nachos, seeing a person receiving a stomach bypass surgery, collagen injections and liposuction.  Is there something wrong with that picture?

Our actions to resist the inevitable becomes obvious and therefore ridiculous.  If you can get a tan in a can, why get one?

EMBRACE your aging, regardless your number!

“As a white candle

In a holy place,

So is the beauty

Of an aged face.”

[Footnote [ii]]

ANTITHESIS: Inwardly we are being RENEWED day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16):

Paul tells us there is another option available to seek:  We can be RENEWED “day by day” – Our “earthly home” or “earthly tent” (2 Corinthians 4:16; 5:1, 4).

Some of the most  handsome, beautiful people I know and recognize in this life are godly people.

graham
Billy Graham

 

Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa

CHOOSE to focus on the INVISIBLE and the ETERNAL:

The Human Heart –

“seek” or “search” to have a SOUL LIFT instead of a FACELIFT.  The start begins with the inward renovation  with Jesus Christ:

“Always carrying about in the body the liability and exposure to the same putting to death that the Lord Jesus suffered, so that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be shown forth by and in our bodies”               (2 Corinthians 4:10 AMP).

It is a daily process, “day after day”; His life in us and not our life.

SYNTHESES–Deductive Reasoning comes into play at this point–

We have “precious treasure” stored in JARS OF CLAY:

“We possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and 4200524837_e5ef456736exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves”  (2 Corinthians 4:7 AMP).

The NIV translation of the above verse says “jars of clay”; baked clay pots, cheap, breakable and replaceable but still serves a necessary function:

*  2 Cor. 4:16;

*  4:7  “may be shown”

*  4:17  

ILLUSTRATION of treasure in “jars of clay”

We can possess God’s LOVE within our lives, but if all you have is the outward, then it will pass away:

“Therefore you not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.  He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ”                   (1 Corinthians 1:7, 8 NIV).

To focus on the outward and neglect the inward is but “Fool’s Gold.”

2008 Fitness magazine poll:

1,000 women were asked what they would do to get their desired weight:  21% said they would trade ten years of their life!

The greatest prize to find in life is…

Not your outer appearance but your inward glory.  When it comes right down to it, true makeovers happen from the inside out.  Care and maintain your body image, but do not worship your body.

The “Disobedient Body” – a Story by Philip Yancey (See Footnotes for source) – A powerful Metaphor for the Church:

HOPE

I have a bright, talented and very funny friend in Seattle named Carolyn Martin.  But Carolyn has cerebral palsy, and it is the peculiar tragedy of her condition that its outward signs–drooling, floppy arm movements, inarticulate speech, a bobbing head–caused people who meet her to wonder if she is retarded.  Actually, her mind is one part of her that works perfectly; it is muscular control she lacks.

Carolyn lived for 15 years in a home for the mentally retarded, because the state had no other place to put her.  Her closest friends were people like Larry, who tore all his clothes off and ate the institution’s houseplants, and Arlene, who only knew three sentences and called everyone “Mama.”  Carolyn determined to escape from that home and to find a meaningful place for herself in the outside world.

Eventually, she did manage to move out and establish a home of her own.  There, the simplest chores posed an overwhelming challenge.  It took her three months to learn to brew a pot of coffee and pour it into cups without scalding herself.  But Carolyn mastered that feat and many others.  She enrolled in high school, graduated, then signed up for community college.

Everyone on campus knew Carolyn as “the disabled person.”  They would see her sitting in a wheelchair, hunched over, painstakingly typing out notes on a device called a Cannon Communicator.  Few felt comfortable talking with her, they could not follow her jumbled sounds.  But Carolyn persevered, stretching out a two-year Associate of Arts degree program over seven years.  Next, she enrolled in a Lutheran college to study the Bible.  After two years there, she was asked to speak to her fellow students in chapel.

Carolyn worked many hours on her address.  She typed out the final draft–at her average speed of 45 words per minute a page–and asked her friend Josee to read it for her…Josee had a strong, clear voice.

On the day of the chapel service, Carolyn sat slumped in her wheelchair on the left side of the platform.  At times her arms jerked uncontrollably, her head lolled to one side so that it almost touched her shoulder, and a stream of saliva sometimes ran down her blouse.  Beside her stood Josee, who read the mature and graceful prose Carolyn had composed, centered around the Bible text: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surprising power is from God but not from us.”

For the first time, those students saw Carolyn as a complete human being, like themselves.  Before then her mind, a very good mind, had always been inhibited by a “disobedient” body, and difficulties with speech had masked her intelligence.  But hearing her address read aloud as they looked at her on stage, the students could see past the body in a wheelchair and imagine the whole person.

 


FOOTNOTES:

[i] – Statistics, Surveys and Trends – American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

[ii] – Joseph Campbell, “The Old Woman”.

Photo Credits:

Billy Graham – BG Photo cnsnews.com

Mother Teresa – Google Photos at  http://www.biography.com/mother-teresa/

 – Photo Pin.

Story Source Credit:

The “Disobedient Body” / “Disappoint with God” a  story of Carolyn Martin; the “Hope” chapter by Philip Yancey – https://books-google.com/books 2009.