This is the first in a series of blogs on understanding and using your personal spirit. These are excerpts from my book, Deeper Water for Thirsty Souls —– https://www.amazon.com/Deeper-Water-Thirsty-Souls-Book/dp/1493781286/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1474994767&sr=8-6
Chapter 1 – Understanding Yourself: Spirit, Soul and Body
I have several friends who own BMWs and Mercedes. As everyone knows, these cars are considered some of the finest running vehicles on the road, and, yes, you pay through the nose for the privilege of driving one! (But some people have “large noses,” so no problem for them.) BMW prefers to call its car “the Ultimate Driving Machine,” which makes me at least believe it must be.
Unfortunately, so far I’ve had to settle for my “preowned” ’01 Toyota Camry that’s seen more than 200,000 miles. However, as scripture says, “I have learned to be content in all things” – but I’m selfishly praying for one of these other babies!
God made us uniquely designed “machines,” too, fashioning us to function for a lifetime, running at top speeds until we start to wear out in our mid-70s for most men and early 80s for most women. Because of the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2), we start to break down and ultimately die, no matter how much pumping and pampering we do. But, hey, we can look great in the casket! “Hey, Bob, take a look at Shirley. She’s 108 but only looks 92!”
Taking care of ourselves is a daily ordeal, but it begins by understanding exactly what makes us “purr” most effectively. God made us in three parts: our (human spirit), the God conscious part; soul (mind, emotions and will), the people and self-conscious part; and body, the pain-pleasure conscious part. The spirit is designed to lead the others, but most Christians have either never been taught how this happens, or they are not even aware they have a spirit, being only schooled in the soul part or focusing on their bodies. Sylvia Gunter, in her book, Blessed in the Names of God, tells us how the relationship among these three should work:
“The relationship of spirit and soul is somewhat like a marriage. It is a beautiful partnership, but there are times when someone has to lead, and someone has to follow. I defer to my husband because he is the head of our household. It’s not whether I matter. Of course I matter, and I have been chosen by God to bring forth my own contributions of function, beauty and relationship. But for my good and our good, there are times when he needs to lead. At times he defers to me. That’s the beauty of mutual relationship. The relationship of spirit, soul and body is similar. The spirit has the responsibility to lead under the direction of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the benefit of our soul and body. My soul will become healthier and whole as it takes its proper place in God’s design. It is a matter of function. The spirit initiates change and leads in God’s transformation, and the soul responds and adds its own unique God-designed contributions. The harmony of the whole is beautiful.”
Since in this book we’ll be talking about the soul quite a bit and a tiny bit on the body, I want to take a look at the human spirit to help us see more clearly how we put legs on the spirit walk. May I introduce you to a “Theology of the Human spirit”?
Lots of head knowledge, little power
Over the past 50 years, Christians, especially the Pentecostal / Charismatic brand, have been inundated with teaching about the Holy Spirit, and well we should have. He is God on earth since the Lord Jesus left us in bodily form two millennia ago.
Sadly, after all this time, most churches still treat him like the stepchild of the Trinity. They ask for Him at the beginning of a service to bless it and at the end of it to dismiss it, but in between give lip service to His presence in favor of “conservative” theology that prefers scholarship over experiencing a genuine move of God in their midst. And we wonder why miracles are so few and far between. Hmmm…
This is not to disparage solid theology and biblical scholarship because I deeply appreciate the brothers and sisters the Lord has blessed with these things. But, for the life of me, I can’t find anywhere in the New Testament where power and brains were to be separated!
Our Lord Jesus rebuked the Pharisees in Matt. 22:29 for knowing neither, but somehow many today choose one or the other. Jesus didn’t. There is something deeply wrong about a theology that forgets the words of Jesus when He said:
“You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.” (John 5:39 The Message)
Our lord was never politically correct, and neither should we be. Sensitive? Yes. Politically correct? No. I feel like singing “Oh, How I Love Jesus” … because He told the truth!
Sloppy theology and the crazies
Before I leave this, I want to apologize to all of you who have witnessed sloppy theology and sometimes fakery in the name of the Lord. A lot of searching people are not given the justice they deserve because of charismatic tomfoolery.
But as Vineyard founder John Wimber said to ABC’s Peter Jennings (Jennings was doing a series on the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in America’s churches many years ago), in answer to his question about what was real and what wasn’t, he said, “I’ll put up with a little fakery if someone suffering with cancer gets genuinely healed by the power of God!”
Me, too! I’ll let God sort out the nuts and flakes.
The Ruth Graham School of Theology
Just a little about me in the event you accidentally got this teaching, I know a little Greek and a little Hebrew – they jointly own a delicatessen. That being said, I have been pretty diligent over the years to gain insights as a laboring layman in the vineyard of the Lord, and if it pleases the court, I would prefer being Ruth Graham about whom the Rev. Billy allegedly said, “You may beat Ruth in a theological debate, but she’ll love you to death.” Personally, I think that’s good stuff coming from the history’s most often-heard evangelist and a gentleman of God in the first degree!
Moving on from chasing theological rabbits because this isn’t about the power of the Holy Spirit in your church. It’s about how to download more yourself in the nasty now and now, although I’d love to squawk more about the amazing impotent power in most churches, especially those who enjoy keeping the Holy Spirit in neat little religious boxes because “all that passed away with the first century.”
Well, that’s a frightening thought, especially if these same folks, who are hoping for a pre-trib rapture before the reported Muslim antichrist walks on the world stage with signs and wonders, are wrong! Bless God, I was thinking the same thing in ’82 when Hal Lindsey said the planets were going to line up, and we were all going to get that holy trip in a moment of time. In all humility and seriousness, we need the Holy Spirit more now than ever!
Developing a theology of the human spirit
A theology of the human spirit has been fully developed by some theologians over years, so I’m not here to set up shop or offer an online degree for such … but wait! The Bible isn’t silent on the subject, but somehow it’s been greatly overlooked and sadly ignored. Some will argue that spirit, soul and heart are used interchangeably in the scripture, and yes, it’s true there are times when this appears to be so.
Sanctify your spirit, soul and body
The question may be posed: Why consider and promote it? The simple and direct answer is found in the often-quoted 1 Thess. 5:23, in which God says we’re to be sanctified spirit (human), soul and body:
“And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).” (Amplified)
The spirit is saved (justified) and is being sanctified, the soul is saved (justified) and being sanctified and the body is saved (justified) and being sanctified (1Thess. 5:23). You can’t sanctify what’s not been justified first! All three will experience a final perfection when we meet Jesus in the air! (1 Thess. 4:13, 1 Cor. 15:51-54).
The spirit and soul parts of us are undergoing major spiritual change while we are on Planet Earth. The body, though it is experiencing justification and sanctification in this life as well, will experience yet another kind of change (glorification) at the last trumpet, as noted in the two previous references. This earthly body, which has been subject to the law of sin and death, and therefore, pain, disease, and ultimately, death, will one day know no pain, disease or death. We will receive a body like His (1 John 3:2).
I mentioned that many Christians know little about their personal-human spirit. In most cases, their theological training was bereft of this much-needed inclusion. In the next chapter, we’ll delve into cleansing and healing our personal spirit so may complete the command of 1 Thess. 5:23. What we don’t know can definitely hurt us!