This is part 3 in a series looking into the question of whether or not our soul and spirit are two distinct and separate “components” of our lives. The next verse I looked at was this one:
1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. 13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
These verses mention the word “spiritual” so many times that it is easy to conclude that the important component of our lives is the spiritual side. While I certainly agree that we are spiritual beings, I’m not so sure we understand these verses very well.
First, the phrase, “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” might be better translated, “fitting jointly together that which comes from the Spirit with that which comes from the Spirit”. In other words, the Holy Spirit helps us to build up our understanding of God and His nature, one aspect at a time.
The word for “natural” man (see definition here) means one who is governed by his “sensuous nature”, a nature that is subject to worldly appetites and passions.
The phrase “spiritually discerned” means “to examine or securitize by the aid of the Holy Spirit”.
The phrase “he who is spiritual judges” means “he who is filled and governed by the Holy Spirit examines or scrutinizes”.
The phrase “mind of Christ” means we understand things as Christ understands things.
But notice that the “natural” man has the “spirit” of this world. That “spirit” is sensuous and carnal. We are meant to have the “mind” of Christ. That is, we are meant to receive things from the Holy Spirit. We are meant to be “spiritual” in the sense that all our understanding comes from the Spirit of God.
The spirit of the world drives men to focus on their sensuous appetites. But the Christian receives one “spiritual” understanding after another, given to us by the Spirit of God who helps us make sense of what He shows us.
We are all spiritual beings living in a physical and spiritual world, but the natural man is fooled into thinking only his sensuous appetites matter, while we — because of the Holy Spirit — get to perceive and understand the things of God that transcend this physical world.
What I am trying to say is that our emotions may get worn out at times, but it isn’t because our souls have been in charge of our lives. It’s because our souls have been fooled to not receive of the Holy Spirit. We have been receiving the “spirit of the world” instead. Conversely, we — spirit, soul and body — need to receive from the Holy Spirit, not just because we recognize we have a “spirit” but because He is the source of life and understanding for our entire being.
The distinction here is on what spirit we are receiving from, as opposed to where we receive it into us (soul or spirit).
Think of it this way. I am saying that we can receive of the Spirit of God directly into the intellect of our minds, directly into the emotions of our hearts, directly into the desires of our soul, and directly into the knowing of our spirits. I think that’s pretty cool.
What this comes down to and why I felt this was important to write on is that I don’t feel right in talking about our souls as if they are so distinct from our spirits. Our soul is us. Our heart is us. Our mind is us. We simply need to be still and hear from the Spirit of God. Every part of us. We have to chose to trust Him and settle our emotions down and hear His still small voice.
The more our soul lives in the Earthly realm, the more it will function on a carnal level. The more our soul lives in the heavenly realm, the more it will function on a spiritual level.
This is important to me because I want every part of me to be in sync with Him. I want my mind to hear His thoughts. I want my heart to feel His heart. I want my emotions tied to His. I want my intellect sharpened by His. I want every part of me to be able to live and focus on Him — in the spirit.
I can’t help but see that the spirit isn’t a “part” of us. It’s how every part of us should live.
If this makes sense to you, I would love to hear. God bless!