Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spirit and Soul

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.

Bud McCord
Abide International

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