This is the second of two blogs on the human spirit. The first one dealt with its function, and this one its need for healing.
Chapter 2 – Healing Our Spirit
Cleansing the spirit
The Amplified Bible’s translation of 1 Thess. 5:23, says “your spirit,” soul and body is to be sanctified. This is simple enough to understand. Our spirits need sanctifying. Contrary to popular theology, though our spirits are positionally perfect in Christ, they aren’t yet sanctified, nor is the soul or body. They are in process by the work of the Holy Spirit. I like what Hebrews 10:14 says:
“…because by one sacrifice he has made perfect (positionally – emphasis mine) forever those who are being made holy.” (NIV)
There are two tenses – past, by one sacrifice, positionally perfect, and present tense, being made holy. If you read the human spirit references carefully, where they’re used in this book, you’ll notice the human spirit’s myriads of moods and emotions, good and bad.
Further, 2 Cor. 7:1, written to Christians, exhorts us to give heed to the promises by cleansing our spirits from things that defile. The “prince of preachers” Charles Spurgeon reportedly said this about it: “I wish we were more concerned about cleansing ourselves from the filthiness of the spirit. I am inclined to think that some men heedlessly pollute their spirits; I mean that they do it willfully.”
The need for this cleansing is spelled out by the Greek words below, so there should be no argument about what this text is saying.
2 Corinthians 7:1 (NASB)
???????? – Strongs No: 2511 – Transliterated: katharizo; Pronounced: kath-ar-id’-zo
???????? Strongs No: 2511
Transliterated: katharizo; Pronounced: kath-ar-id’-zo
from ö2513ö; öTDNTöö 3:413ö; övö
öTrans.ö & öfreq.ö in the öAVö— cleanse 16 times, make clean 5 times, be clean 3 times, purge 3 times, purify 3 times; 30 occurrences of Greek word in öAVö
- to make clean, cleanse
a. from physical stains and dirt
- utensils, food
- a leper, to cleanse by curing
- to remove by cleansing
b. in a moral sense
- to free from defilement of sin and from faults
- to purify from wickedness
- to free from guilt of sin, to purify
- to consecrate by cleansing or purifying
- to consecrate, dedicate
- to pronounce clean in a Levitical sense
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT)
Our spirit’s need for intimacy
The extreme importance of the human spirit in “connecting” with the Holy Spirit cannot be overstated. If our spirits aren’t fully cleansed and awakened, we won’t get the downloads that are crucial in listening and knowing what “the Spirit is saying to the church” (Rev. 2:29), but also in the practical sense, in the marketplace where we live and work.
God likens the spirit not under our own control to that of a city broken into that has no walls. In other words, the ability to function, as we should in the Spirit, is dependent on the control we have of our own spirit under the Holy Spirit’s leading:
“He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.” (Prov. 25:28 – Amp)
Further, God says the power of the human spirit under the power of the Holy Spirit is greater than one who takes a city:
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.” (Prov. 16:32 – NASB)
These two verses strongly emphasize what is possible for a Spirit-filled Christian whose spirit is healed, sanctified and moving in concert with the Holy Spirit. As my friend Christian writer and speaker Steve Sampson says, “Revelation not just information.”
We have enough Christian information to sink a battleship! Another book won’t fix what’s wrong with the human spirit that will cause it to move in consistent, joyful power in God!
Furthermore, many Spirit-filled Christians have little, if any, daily revelation from the Holy Spirit or intimacy with the Trinity. How come? I think there are three basic reasons: 1) Too rushed for time with the Lord, especially meditation on Jesus and His Word 2) Wounded spirits 3) Slumbering. I’m not going to go into the absolute need for the baptism in the Holy Spirit since volumes have been written on this, but let me say PLEASE ask God to immerse you in that power. The difference is totally amazing!
And, yes, He wants you to speak in tongues! It’s the language He gave (charismatics didn’t invent it) for communing with Him. You can argue with God about it, but millions of believers have done it for 2,000 years, and the Scripture backs it. You are the one who’s missing out on this great blessing if you’re not doing it.
Do I think you can be Spirit-filled without speaking in tongues? Yes, but you’re better off if you do! Paul wrote that he “spoke in tongues more than you all” (a good Southern gentleman, no doubt) (1 Cor. 14:8 NASB), so if it was good enough for Paul, let’s join him.
Too rushed for time with God
It’s said that the great Methodist theologian John Wesley prayed three hours every day. If he had a busy schedule, he prayed four. John and brother Charles are generally credited with bringing the teaching of sanctification back to the church.
Nobody is suggesting this kind of monumental praying for the too busy American Christian (hey, there’s facebook to spend oodles of time on). However, time alone with the Father of spirits (Heb. 12:9), stilling the spirit and bringing the hyperactive soul into subjection isn’t a nice idea; it’s mandatory!
For me it took a panic attack (it’s a type of hell on earth, believe me) to learn the power of quieting my spirit so Jesus’ peace could still the storm in me! A panic attack is like having the ground REMOVED from under your feet (and Carole King thought having “the earth move under her feet” was bad!). If you understand this reference, I’d say you’re at least 50 years old.
Oh, yeah, I had my handy prayer list for years before Hurricane Panic hit right before cardiac surgery. Even so, Satan was kickin’ my fanny! Excuse my honesty here, but I couldn’t pray away panic.
One thing worked – I had to “Steal Away to Jesus.” This famous Negro spiritual speaks of running away to Jesus like a slave would run away home. Panic had no chance in His enveloping presence! And neither does financial debt, menacing people, mad Muslims and demons behind every rock! Selah!
I had to learn to abide in the Vine (literal Greek like a twisted cord) to survive then and now. This is called getting a PhD in His nature! I’m a stumbling, bumbling Christian sometimes, but I know where LIFE is! Do you?
A wounded spirit who can bear?
I once started to write a book titled, “The Maddest Man in Alabama” because I was. I was at one time full of rage. Nothing worked to soothe the savage beast, and I even considered suicide at one time in my life (for about 20 seconds). Among the many things that needed Dr. Jesus, was my spirit that was badly wounded.
When I started reading Proverbs, I thought the Three Stooges, Moe, Joe and Larry, needed another partner: me. I was the literally the proverbial fool who, except for the Lord Jesus, should have gone to one more class at the University of Alabama, and that one was being held next door at Bryce hospital, our state’s oldest mental institution!
Scripture makes no bones about it — a wounded human spirit is almost unbearable:
“The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” (Prov. 18:14 – KJV 2000)
The human spirit can be wounded by numerous things, but words may be the worst of all because they can enter the innermost being and do grave damage (Prov. 26:22). Though this passage refers to gossip, consider Prov. 12:18:
“Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.” (Good News Translation)
Wounding words of rejection are like a sharp arrow or sword that lands in the spirit and soul (mind, emotions and will). We often can sense and deal with rejection in the soul, but because we’re unaware of this spiritual reality, rejection in the human spirit goes unnoticed and festers. This can feel like a literal thorn is embedded. And we wonder why someone is easily provoked to anger?
Crushed spirits are rampant
“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:13)
The human spirit can be crushed by the painful circumstances of life, and they will come! Heartache comes by broken relationships (a broken heart), losing a very dear loved one, expectations that are never consummated or being disillusioned with God. Let’s get real here – being angry at God (“Why, God?”) — is the root of many people’s (including Christians) journey in search of something other than their relationship with God. Losing self in “affairs,” booze, hunting, football and reaching the top at work, etc., can mistakenly drive us to seek satisfaction outside the loving arms of the Father.
A crushed spirit can have physical consequences:
Proverbs 17:22: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
We can safely say this isn’t a metaphor! The intricate relationship of spirit, soul and body can produce peace and healing through Jesus or sickness and disease (literally dis – ease). 3 John 2 says clearly that God’s desire for us is that we “prosper and BE IN HEALTH even as our soul prospers.” Sadly, people often view the “prosperity” word in this text as materially prospering, but many people who have a fat bank account are miserably unhappy and/or physically sick.
Dr. Henry Wright of BeinHealth.com has spent more than 20 years helping people get healed of spirit-soul-body diseases, some of which were deemed “incurable.” Most doctors recommended pills, etc., but Wright believed God’s infallible Word, coupled with an understanding of the beauty of the divinely designed body could produce healing. According to Wright, the two have proven extremely effective against bodies ravaged by disease.
Many years ago, the Holy Spirit emphasized to me that “a tranquil heart is life to the body” (Prov. 14:30). This is the foundation scripture of what Wright teaches. In effect, a heart that knows God’s deep peace can experience and maintain health. Stress is a killer, which any doctor worth his salt will verify. Most agree that stress causes 85-90 percent of all illnesses. In other words, dis-ease has an underlying cause or root.
Slumbering? Like asleep? Yes. The Bible has many references to spirits that slumber, and it’s not pretty. Spiritual slumbering is a condition in which the spirit of a person essentially goes to sleep. Suffice to say the person with this condition may be much aware of people and circumstances with their head but has little to no spiritual sensitivity.
The causes are numerous, but the primary one is nurture that was withheld in childhood – being lovingly held, rocked and blessed in their spirit by their parents, particularly the father. The outcome is an underdeveloped spirit that cannot experience real intimacy with God or people. And the church of Jesus Christ is full of them! We can relate to the head, the emotions but not the heart! Check out these verses: Isa. 52:1-2; Isa. 56:10; Rom. 13:11-14; Eph. 5:6-14; 1 Thess. 5:6-14; Rev. 3:1-2; 15-16 to see the unbelievable impact.
What’s the result of this? A slumbering spirit results in the crippling of one’s ability to function in many areas of daily living. Among these consequences are:
- A hardened heart within the personal spirit
- lack of a true conscience
- inability to communicate intimately and to sustain close relationships
- inability to worship and have a fulfilling devotional life
- inability to learn from the past or project into the future
- inability to sustain good health
Worn out souls in the Body of Christ
I spent years in self-crucifixion, and yes, the Bible teaches it (Rom. 6:6), and it works! There are lots of good things coming from our spirits, but some things are not so good.
Have you ever considered that the fruit of the spirit (Gal. 5:22) is a little s? Oh yes, that fruit is born of the seed of the Holy Spirit, but it is a little s (our spirit) through which Christian maturity – the nine fruit—must grow and flow! And flow it must through a soul that can be besieged by everything common to man! (1 Cor. 10:13). The soul mirrors either the flesh or the spirit; it simply shows which one is in charge!
One of the heart cries of most in the Body of Christ is, “I’m so tired!” And though a great deal of this is because of a society in perpetual movement, including most Christians, God’s answer is rest.
The Book of Hebrews says we are to rest in His finished work (4:10). This rest isn’t just physical rest. Everyone physically rests, but many rarely ever deeply rest inwardly; they go to bed tired and wake up tired. The referenced promise isn’t just about heaven, but the promise is “Today, if you would hear His voice…” you can enter into His rest.
The significance of understanding the “little s”
For whatever reason, for years I missed the part about the “little s,” and believe me, it’s significant! Most Christians mistakenly infer that spiritual reality comes through their soul, so they are constantly like the old Avis Rent-a-Car’s slogan, “We try harder!” Not!
The WAY it works is to receive through your spirit from the Holy Spirit who’s in you. Your mind (and soul-body) will receive the revelation from your spirit. Revelation is sometimes short-circuited because our brain gets in the way! The Bible is clear:
“For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit. Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]. [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God’s Law; indeed it cannot.” (Rom. 8:5-7 Amplified)
Listen, the carnal mind isn’t just a mind filled with trashy subjects and thinking – it’s a mind that separates itself from the real movement of the Holy Spirit! The carnal mind can be very religious!
And, yes, it’s true that we’re to be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Rom. 12:2), but the Holy Spirit-led person is to be led by the Holy Spirit working through their spirit to accomplish spiritual work! The scripture says it’s the mature sons of God who are led by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14).
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father! The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.” (Rom. 8:14-16 Amplified)
Michelle Perry, a one-legged 34-year-old missionary in the Sudan and “mother” to more than 100 orphans, put it this way in her book, “An Invitation to the Supernatural Life”:
“When we choose to follow Jesus, we are born again into God’s family as His children. The Greek word for a child is teknon. A teknon is an immature child who might be an heir in right, but has not yet been trained to be an heir in experience.
God sends His Spirit into our hearts to help us become mature. The word adoption used here is more accurately translated as the placing of a mature son. In the ancient world there was a training process for a child to grow to the point his father could publically recognize him as a mature son or a huios.”
Sex and our spirit
It’s always amazing how rational thought and scientific research can often work against spiritual growth. For example, current studies show how healthy having sex is. Well, duh! No Rhoades Scholar needed here! Sex releases tension and produces a high that is almost incomparable on this earth, but even this God-provided outlet cannot compare to spiritual highs in the Holy Spirit!
God intended for sex to remain within the covenant of marriage. Of course, He knew all the ramifications of our getting outside that sphere. After all, the Bible teaches that we are spiritual beings, created in God’s image – higher than animals.
Because God’s Spirit breathed into us, we are primarily spirit, not just a body and mind, as Western science teaches. This dual spiritual and sexual nature is not an accident of “evolution.” Both are expressions of our being created in God’s image. God’s nature is that of both male and female.
Leanne Payne says, “Gender and sexuality are grounded in the Being of God and His creation and have transcendent dimensions. Ultimately masculinity and femininity descend to us by the way of love, it is an attribute of God.” (Crisis in masculinity)
The damage of extramarital sex
God made the human spirit to function best in true holiness. If we engage in sex outside of marriage, damage occurs. The spirit loses its sensitivity to the Lord and His Word.
Gifts may still function, but intimacy with the Trinity begins to wane, and a slumbering and insensitive spirit may become the norm. Physical and soul bondage result, even with someone we may have no real love for. All this, under the covenant of marriage, can result in the opposite effects.
If we have clear understanding of how our spirit functions, we can be are healed of past damages. Sex was designed to bring two people closer than through any other means.
This incredible emotional and physical engagement can’t be matched, but most aren’t aware of spirit-to-spirit connection that occurs through sharing of bodies. We become one with the person we have sex with:
Do you not see and know that your bodies are members (bodily parts) of Christ (the Messiah)? Am I therefore to take the parts of Christ and make [them] parts of a prostitute? Never! Never! Or do you not know and realize that when a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? The two, it is written, shall become one flesh. But the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. Shun immorality and all sexual looseness [flee from impurity in thought, word, or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” (1 Cor. 6:15-18, Amp)
The damages come through both intentional and unintentional means. We’re all aware of what rape, incest and other forms of molestation do to the psyche and sometimes to the body when sex is violent, but few understand damage to the spirit. John and Paula Sandford of Elijah House International in their book, The Transformation of the Inner Man, had this to say:
“Sexual blessedness, more than any other form of human encounter, depends upon our having become human beings (italics theirs). A human being is a person who has a loving, living personal spirit by which he empathizes with others and cherishes others more than himself.
… Sexual blessedness depends upon the capacity of our spirits to reach through our bodies to nurture, bless, enfold, enrich, and enrapture the heart and spirit of another.” (p. 270)
Wild oats grow up!
Most folks have dismissed “sowing wild oats” as part of growing up and even laugh about it. Though certainly God forgives when we ask Him to, damage can still remain, even more so than unbiblical, legalistic teaching that can put a hamper on desires that should flow between husband and wife.
The good news is that Christ’s Blood cleanses us, and by using the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, we can sever past sexual liaisons and make ourselves like virgins all over again! Bondages, confusion in our spirit, shame, guilt and embarrassment, hardness of heart, licentiousness, filthy thoughts and addictions can be broken by a wise prayer warrior who knows and can apply this truth:
“Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.” (Prov. 20:5)
All things considered, we have little understanding of and appreciation for the catastrophic impact, both good and bad, when two human spirits unite in the sex act. Is it any wonder in our “anything goes” society, which is saturated with recreational sex, that divorce rates are soaring?
In short, our understanding of the relationship of spirit, soul and body is paramount if we are to “grow in respect to salvation” (1 Pet 2:2).
Healing the spirit requires prayer for your spirit and the discipline needed to “call your spirit forth to life” to promote sensitivity and growth. As in the passage above, “A wounded spirit, who can bear?” spiritual woundedness is indeed painful, and if we keep dealing repeatedly with the soul, without praying and ministering to the spirit, we won’t experience the fullness of the healing God wants to bring us. Books have been written on this, but let’s review a few things the human spirit can experience:
Job 32:8: “But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty that gives him understanding.”
Proverbs 20:27: “The Lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of man; it searches out his innermost being.” (NIV)
II Cor. 4:16: “Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day.”
Ecclesiastes 12:7: “The dust shall return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”
Some things we can do in our spirits, experience with our spirits:
John 13:21: Jesus was “troubled” in spirit.
Acts 17:16: Paul was “distressed” in his spirit.
I Cor. 14:14: If I pray in a tongue, my spirit “prays” but my mind is unfruitful.
:15: “sing” with my spirit.
:16 “praising” with my spirit.
James 4:5: “Or do you not think Scripture says without reason that the spirit He caused to live in us “tends toward envy.”
As you can see, your spirit is an amazing vessel designed to respond to life, but it can experience numerous sensations both good and holy and yet sometimes very negative.
30 “But Sihon king of Heshbon refused to let us pass through. For the LORD your God had made his spirit stubborn and his heart obstinate in order…”
1 Sam 30:6
6 “David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.”
4 “The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God’s terrors are marshaled against me.”
1 “My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me.”
3 “When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me.”
Luke 1:46, 47
“And Mary said: My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”
Notice in the last verse the actions of the soul and spirit. Hebrews 4:12 teaches that soul and spirit are to be divided so their functions are distinct and clear. The Word of God is the divider, but it takes the Holy Spirit’s quickening to KNOW which is which:
“For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 Amp)
Get the print version today at https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=overcoming+bipolar+disorder+%26+Other+mental+difficulties&type=. The print version also will soon be available on Amazon, ITunes and other book distribution websites along with the epub version, which is already available. Joe is also the author of Deeper Water for Thirsty Souls – http://amzn.com/1493781286