It is my firm belief that God made humans in His image, does that mean four limbs, a torso and a head? I don’t think so. I believe the trinity that exists in God was the blueprint from which God designed our being. I believe that we have a spirit, a soul, and a body just as God has all three parts (Holy Spirit, God the Father, and Jesus Christ) but they are not separate or inseparable, they all are parts of the whole.
I believe this teaching is important to believers in any stage of maturity and it can help them understand their failures and successes in their walk with the Lord. Just like reading a car manual helps you know the ins and outs, the dos and don’ts of your car as we study the Word of God and put it in to practice we can live an effective life under God and for God.
This is our physical shell, our atoms and organs, our bones and chemicals. There is nothing supernatural about it except its intricate design! In fact this is the one area of God’s creation that us humans have been able to wrap our minds around more and more as technology allows. Our body is the tool that we interface with the physical world with. Think of it as our outward shell that contains the other two-thirds of our being.
Many deny the existence of the supernatural realm and thus the physical is all that they know so they elevate their physical senses (and carnal nature) to the guiding force and primary discernment in life, this is a dangerous position to live in. The physical realm is not all that exists, in fact our allegiance and citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), or the supernatural realm. Our body is temporary whereas our soul and spirit are not (Matthew 10:28, Ecclesiastes 12:7). We are supernatural beings with a physical body and thus we should aim our allegiance to God and not man or self. Our body should be honored and taken care of, but we should not see this as all that exists because all that is physical is simply temporary (2Pet 3:12, Rev 21:4).
Our body can also be pictured as the outer courts of the tabernacle of God where sacrifices are made, songs are sung, people scurry about doing duties and traditions – the busy active place. It is all to common that people live their Christianity out only in the body and not from their soul or spirit, thus leading to dead religion similar to that of the Pharisees.
The soul is our natural and inner self which is sinful (Romans 3:23). It may be called the mind which contains our reasoning, thoughts, emotions, desires (good and bad), and our free will. When a Christian lives only by what they feel they are a soulish Christian, they act carnally and are misled by their desires (Rom 8:7, Jam 1:15).
Our soul is also the middle man or the interface between physical and supernatural. Our soul can allow our spirit man to operate or interact with the natural realm and visa versa. Desires originate from our soul – our natural ones such as happiness, love, and curiosity, and our sinful ones such as lust, malice, and pride, as well as our holy desires such as forgiveness, purity(of mind), and hunger for God’s word.
God’s Holy Spirit can influence our soul through our spirit if we are walking with God or if God is breaking through and changing us. However when we are not living “right” our soul is influenced more dominantly by sources other than God. We are instructed to “not walk in the flesh” (Gal 5:16), to “crucify our flesh” (Gal 5:24) and that our weapons of warfare are “not carnal” (2 Cor 10:4).
The 9 fruits of the Spirit are another thing that resides within the confines of the human soul and develop there as we mature in Christ. The fruits of the Spirit are not supernatural things like the Gifts of the Spirit, they are evidence of a born again life. These are not bestowed in a completed form suddenly but we must put forth effort and action to grow these 9 fruits of the Spirit in our lives as we imitate Christ (Eph 5:1-2).
The soul is the evident life of a person, the Greek word used in the New Testament is “Psyche” which is translated as life, mind, heart, and soul in the King James Version. In Genesis 2:7 we see that God made mans body out of the dirt breathed His Spirit the breath of life into Adam and he became a living soul. We should pray daily that our soul would continually be cleaned out by the Holy Spirit and convicted of sin (John 16:8) unto repentance, and that we would escape temptation. The struggle to replace evil purposes with holy ones within our soul is a life long pursuit but it should never be put on the back burner.
This is a special part of the human construction and the most mysterious. A spirit may be the dividing line between man and animals since we do not see God establishing a relationship with the animal kingdom nor is God recorded breathing His Spirit in to them. The spirit of man is a foreign concept to most because it is unseen and not dealt with typically, science cannot account for it. For the believer this is the place through which supernatural things come about in our lives and the avenue through which we can have access to the Holy Spirit and visa versa. When God speaks to us we hear with our “spirit ears”, when He shows us visions or reveals unseen things such as angels or demons we see with our “spirit eyes” (2 King 6:17, Ezekiel 1:4, Act 11:4) and so on with the rest of the senses. And to answer the question you’d probably feel dumb asking- yes we can taste, smell, and feel spiritual things as well, all thanks to us having a spirit of our own which can perceive spiritual things that our natural body cannot. Gifts of the Spirit are received by our spirit and reside there either permanently or temporarily depending on the gifts and situation. The flip side to the spirit of man is that it is not reserved for God only. I believe Satan can have just as much access to ones spirit if one has given him the rights to do so. Although both parties may not have direct or total access at the same time (Rom 6:16). Satan wants to infect your spirit so that it will not be inhabited by Gods Spirit. Make sure you pray daily that God would protect you from ALL evils – evil attacking your body, soul, and spirit. For the record I do not believe a true Christian can be demonically posessed but I do believe they can acquire demonic attachments, I don’t believe these take place in the spirit but are external whereas posession is internal within ones spirit. It would seem that some emotions that dwell in the soul crossover into effecting your spirit, this may simply be a poetic device in the Old Testament, or it could be that strong, continuing emotions effect your spirit man such as in Exo 6:9, Psa 143:3, Pro 15:13.
Take care of your body and do not use it for sin, guard your mind from perversion and self glorification, and use your spirit to worship God and let Gods Spirit it completely to form you into Christ’s likeness
1 Thessalonians 5:23 and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord
Hebrews 4:12 sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit
Genesis 2:7 God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being
Ephesians 3:16 to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man
Luke 1:46 Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord”
So why the heck does all of this stuff matter? How is it applicable?
I call it, “rightly dividing your self”. When one realizes the divisions of their being and what God intended for each piece we can work in harmony with ourselves and thus with God not be counterproductive as we live our our faith.
For example: if we think we hear from God and want to know if it was Him we can think like this: It either came from my spirit and it’s from God, from my soul and it’s just me, or from Satan trying to throw me off. Now of course when you hear from the Lord it must line up with scripture. You can also ask yourself: “Was I walking in the flesh or the spirit?”. Basically – we do not want to be what is called a “soulish” Christian, or walking according to ones own reasoning, emotions, or will. Now I don’t mean we should be zombie Christians but we lean on God through trust, we walk by faith, and the Holy Spirit is our guide not our own minds.
Concerning the spirit if you have ever been involved to any degree in anything of the occult – Tarot cards, Ouji board, seances etc. you need to first repent of those sins because they are indeed sins, they are practices that are against God’s will and dangerous to Christians. I believe that when you take part in these practices you give demons access to your spirit and soul to some degree and you can obtain demonic attachments that can become generational curses. This is not demonic possession but a spiritual bond made between you and a demon that will effect your life until you rebuke it fully in Jesus’ name, repent, and walk in victory over the enemy.
Deu 18:10 – There shall not be found among you [anyone] who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, [or one] who practices witchcraft, [or] a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,
1Cr 10:21 – You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.
Mat 28:18 – And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
The spiritual world primarily effects your spirit so any connections made with the enemy have to be dealt as such, a spiritual attack or attachment. However, a believer has access to power of God over the enemy and the blood of Christ will always defeat any demonic presence or power.
2Cr 10:3 – For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
2Cr 10:4 – For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
In order to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh (Galatians 3) we must read the Word as our bread of life that keeps us alive. We must constantly keep our thoughts and actions based around Christ and God’s kingdom. Feeding your carnal soul will only strengthen it and thus pose a threat to your spirit man being your prominent feature. You can only obey one at a time (Luke 16:13).
Rom 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Gal 5:16 – I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Another revelation that comes from “rightly dividing yourself” is that your flesh is only a temporary tool and it is not your eternal identity. Therefore death really is not that big of a loss at all, instead it’s a gain for the believer for they will then enter in to eternal life and their true home.
Mat 10:28 – And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.