"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thought and intentions of the heart" Hebrews 4:12 New Testament
It is valuable to learn the difference between the soul and spirit in order to understand ourselves as a whole person. The spirit and soul function differently, and their distinction lies in the religious and spiritual context. As human beings, we rely too much on the physical part that we fail to see our spiritual part.
We need to learn the non-physical part of ourselves to keep in touch with the spiritual realm. By doing this, we keep allowing ourselves to maintain an intimate relationship with God or a higher entity.
The Word Soul
"But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul" Heb 10:39 New Testament
The word soul means the immaterial part that is regarded as immortal. It is the spiritual or immaterial part of the physical body and encompasses emotional experiences, the mind, and will. The living soul magnifies and represents who we are in life and is the spiritual part of ourselves that God created to express Him.
Our soul can be self-centered as it is a part of the non-physical body that is integrally connected to the human being. It gives human beings a certain identity and focuses more on individuality regarding the inner man.
The Soul in Us
The soul is ours, but the spirit belongs to God. We live a life led by the soul as God created it for us to enjoy and experience legitimate pleasure to the soul such as a beautiful sunset, romantic relationships, or attending a music concert.
The great mistake is to forget God's word and to live a life based on just the soul, disregarding the holy spirit. It is to pretend that a life based on the soul of humanity's eagerness is a life based on the spirit as well.
The difficulty lies in the difference between soul and the spirit which shows why the word of God is powerful and precise to the point that it can pierce even and show us the precise differences between the soul and spirit, which is not easy to do.
The Word Spirit
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness" John 4:24 New Testament
The word spirit refers to the ability to have an intimate relationship with God and is the deepest part of our being as it is related to the spiritual realm. Living a spiritual life means that we are able to contact and receive God Himself.
The main difference between our soul and the spirit is that our spirit is always pointed towards God and exists exclusively for Him. The whole spirit rejoices through the joy, comfort, and peace of God's spirit and presence.
The Spirit in Us
According to John 4:24 "God is spirit", meaning His substance is spirit. Our human spirit is the part of our being that seek God and corresponds to Him. It has the ability to contact God, fellowship with, and worship Him.
In Paul's writing, the spirit is pivotal to the life of the believer. Many Christians believe when we are born again, we are born of the spirit in our human spirit, not in the life essence of our soul. We receive the Lord, and He came to live in our human spirit.
Why is it Important to Understand the Spirit from the Soul?
The Main Difference: The Functions
"At one time you were separated from God. But now Christ has made you God's friends again...by his death..." Colossians 1:21-22 New Testament
One of the reasons why it is important to understand the difference between the spirit and soul is to understand they have different functions. There are a few places where the spirit, soul, and body are mentioned indicating three different entities.
The spirit is present to contact God and receive Him, while the soul is present to express God. Everyone's soul may be fully active, however, not everyone's spirit is.
The soul, as the life essence of the body, is removed during the time of physical death. While spirits are spiritually alive only to the believers, and spiritually dead to the unbelievers.
The bible speaks of when Adam fell and the whole spirit died to be separated from God. Unlike human beings, it is only in Christ, the only begotten son, that the spirit can be reconnected and reconciled.
Becoming Spiritually Alive in Our Soul and Spirit
"And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has exulted in God my Savior" Luke 1:46-47 New Testament
Another reason is to understand how the spirit returns. In the physical world, we were born through the physical body and lived by our soul. We experience a wide range of emotions and respond to situations based on how we feel.
It is human nature for us to live according to what we think and feel, and we make our decisions with our will. It becomes the most basic sense to us to live by our soul.
When we were saved, Jesus Christ came to live in our spirit. He came to live in us through our human spirit so that He would be our life and we would live by Him. But living this Christian life, a life where the spirit and life of Jesus Christ is in our spirit, is not something we are used to.
So, it is only through our five senses and whole spirit wherein throughout our day, we have to realize we can either live according to our natural life as human beings in our soul or by the life of Lord Jesus Christ in our spirit.
When we live life by the divine life in our holy spirit, Lord Jesus Christ becomes the source of our living. Instead of expressing ourselves through our own thoughts and feelings, we express ourselves through thoughts, feelings, and intentions of the soul directed by the spirit.
Only believers in their words, actions, and living express God. It becomes the essential meaning to life as we dispel the sinful nature of the human being.
Are We Living by Our Soul or Spirit?
The Word of God
For everyone in the whole world, it is hard to tell whether we live and do things in our soul or in our spirit, the same way it is difficult to differentiate between the soul and spirit. The two entities can only be separated by the two-edged sword of God's word.
The Christian life encourages us to spend time with the Lord Jesus Christ in His word to help us discern where we are in between the two primary immaterial parts of our life. When we exercise the human spirit and soul by praying with the word of God, the word enters our own thoughts and becomes living to us.
The living word of God helps divide our soul from the spirit and ascertains all our own thoughts and intentions of our hearts. The spiritual part of ourselves is enlightened to accept the holy spirit as the scripture ascribes.
When we discover we are living in and by our soul, we simply refrain from immaterial facet or material aspects and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in our spirit again. We can pray to the Lord for our soul and spirit, to help us turn away from living in our soul and body, and to turn to Him in spirit.
The Christian life allows us to contact the Lord as the more we are in contact with him, the more we are filled by Him, and the more He will become the source of our thoughts, feelings, and intentions.
Only then we can genuinely express God to others and show how God blesses us through His ways.
Learn More About the Soul and Spirit
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