Stephanie shared about creation yesterday, including how God lovingly created us. When He spoke us into being, He created physical and immaterial parts. In addition to our body, we have a spirit or soul, terms scripture uses interchangeably. While there are slightly different views, we ultimately know our immaterial aspects relate to God. This part of man includes our emotion, intellect, will, and thoughts. Understanding what our non-physical side can be and what it can do helps us grasp the importance of this side of ourselves.
God’s Word uses the words spirit and soul in similar ways. 1 Thess. 5:23 says “.. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” References such as this use both terms for emphasis. Our non-physical man can be:
- made alive in Christ (Rom. 8:10)
- provoked (Acts 17:16)
- downcast (Prov. 17:22)
- troubled (John 13:21)
- hardened (Dan. 5:20)
- haughty (Prov. 16:18)
- ruled (Prov. 16:32)
- lifted up (Psalm 25:1)
- defiled (2 Cor. 7:1)
- cleansed (2 Cor. 7:1)
- destroyed (Matt. 10:28)
- saved (1 Cor. 5:5)
- dead (James 2:26)
Our actions may be taken by our body, but our decisions are made within our spirit. As the place of choice and feeling within us, our spirit determines our actions. In the unseen places of our soul, we act on what we value long before our body’s motion is ever seen. Our sin, our sacrifice, our service … all begin in our spirit. This immaterial side of us is able to:
- perceive (Mark 2:8)
- witness (Rom. 8:16)
- know (1 Cor. 2:11)
- wait (Psalm 62:1)
- praise (Luke 1:46)
- bless (Psalm 146:1)
- pray (1 Sam. 1:15)
- love (Deut. 6:5)
Women from the pages of God’s Word show us what the spirit can be and do. In the Old Testament in 1 Sam. 1:13-16, Hannah was deeply troubled and “praying in her heart” when Eli accused her of drunkenness. She answered that she, “was pouring out my soul to the LORD.” She experienced trouble within her, and it overflowed in prayer to the Lord out of the deep well of her soul.
When Mary spilled out into a song of praise in Luke 1:46-55, she said, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Her sweetest praise was born in the cradle of her spirit and soul, though her body was to bear the Son of God.
Just as Hannah’s physical state was tied to the state of her spirit, so Mary’s condition was bound to her soul. Our Creator has made us physical and immaterial to relate to our world and to Him. When benefits of singleness are explained in 1 Corinthians 7, an unmarried woman is described as uniquely free to serve, since “Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.”
What difference does it make if we are “devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit”? When God breathed life into man, creating us with this amazing blend of body and soul, we emerged as a unified whole. “The body without the spirit is dead,” (James 2:26) and we are urged to “purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Cor. 7:1). He will weigh our inner man. God wants us to grow in all areas of our lives, both the seen and the unseen.
“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits.” (Prov. 16:2)
Our Heavenly Father, master Creator, who watched over His first young garden dwelling child, now watches over us body and soul. Oh that He would weigh our God seeking, repenting, loving, and worshiping spirit and find us pure.
In a world that looks on the outward appearance, it can be easy to ignore our spirit. What helps you give attention to your inner man?