And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23
I’ll never forget Mr. Cates, my high school biology teacher. He taught about the study of living things. He said every living being belongs to one of two kingdoms: the plant kingdom or the animal kingdom. He emphasized the fact that humans are part of the animal kingdom. In fact, one day he had everyone raise their hand to affirm that they belonged in the animal kingdom. Everyone raised their hand in class, everyone—except me. He looked at me very strongly and questioned me, “Now Mr. Hankins, what are you? You say you’re not a plant or animal? What are you?” To add to his frustration, I answered, “Neither. I’m a spirit being, made in the image of God.” He shot back, “I’m not talking about religion!” I confidently said, “Me, neither!” The discussion was over!
In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Paul gives us the three-part nature of man: he is a spirit, has a soul and lives in a body. This is like a transparency that can be laid over everything Paul teaches. Your spirit, or pneuma, is the REAL YOU! Your soul, or psuche, is your mind, will and emotions and it operates through your brain. Now we all know what the body is. The Greek word for body is soma. It is designed to carry and express your spirit, the real you. The Bible calls it your flesh, which is like a three-year old, wanting what it wants when it wants it. Your body, mind and emotions will gang up on your spirit and bully THE REAL YOU - YOUR SPIRIT.
God strengthens and guides you through your spirit. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” (Romans 8:14). “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding,” (Job 32:8).
How can we access the Holy Spirit and everything in the spirit dimension? Through our spirit. God is called the “Father of spirits,” (Hebrews 12:9). Jesus taught how to worship Him: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth,” (John 4:24). Paul calls the spirit the “inward man.” From Paul’s letters we can learn to walk, worship, pray, rejoice, be strong and as well as see in the spirit. Paul teaches about the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit.
Where is man’s spirit? Proverbs 20:27 gives us the location of the spirit and its activity, “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.” Jesus used the same words in John 7:38, “…out of your belly, or your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”
The clearest picture of the spirit is found in Romans 8 where the word, spirit, or pneuma, is used 21 times. For example, Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Phillip’s translation of Romans 8:2 reveals the lifting power: “For the new spiritual principle of life “in” Christ Jesus lifts me out of the old vicious circle of sin and death.” In other words, THE REAL YOU, your spirit, has been liberated and set free. Now your flesh, your thoughts and emotions, and even the devil can’t dominate or bully you.
The only way a Christian can be defeated is if they are spiritually depleted. This takes place when a believer is controlled by physical impulses or their mind, will and emotions. Some Christians are struggling to act right and talk right, but fail because they’re relying on their own efforts instead of the help of the Holy Spirit. Being controlled by the physical senses keeps a person in the natural realm where the devil can dominate and manipulate them. The devil is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). You don’t have to be evil to be natural and not know God. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Dad Hagin said, “Any person who shuts his spirit away and refuses to develop it will become crippled in life and a victim of scheming people.”
I like how James Stalker explains man’s deepest struggle in the book, The Life of St. Paul:
The nature of man, according to Paul, normally consists of three sections - body, soul, and spirit. (To emphasize proper order, I refer to it as spirit, soul and body.) In his original constitution these occupied definite relations of superiority and subordination to one another, the spirit being supreme, the body least important, and the soul occupying the middle position. But the Fall disarranged this order, and all sin consists in the usurpation by the body or the soul in the place of the spirit. In fallen man these two inferior sections of human nature, which together form what Paul calls the “flesh,” or that side of human nature that looks toward the world and time, have taken possession of the throne and completely rule the life, while the spirit, the side of man that looks toward God and eternity, has been dethroned and reduced to a condition of inefficiency and death. Christ restores the lost pre-dominance of the spirit of man by taking possession of it by His own Spirit. His Spirit dwells in the human spirit, vivifying it and sustaining it in such growing strength that it becomes more and more the sovereign part of man’s constitution. The man ceases to be carnal and becomes spiritual; he is led by the Spirit of God and becomes more and more harmonious with all that is holy and divine. The flesh does not, indeed, easily submit to the loss of supremacy. It clogs and obstructs the spirit and fights to regain position of the throne. Paul has described this struggle in sentences of stark vividness, in which all generations of Christians have recognized the features of their deepest experience.
We are not without help. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered,” (Romans 8:26). The Greek word for helpeth, means “to take hold together with you against” your infirmity.
Rick Renner gives light on the full meaning of the word infirmities in the Greek. He says it describes a crippling disease, a mental oppression, a recurring plague, which is terminal and incurable. The Spirit makes intercession for you with “groanings which cannot be uttered.” The example is when one has fallen into a pit and cannot help himself. This is when the Spirit makes intercession, or gets into the pit with you; He shares your feelings. He helps you pray with intercession beyond your natural language, with inarticulate speech and groanings. This is the same intercession Jesus told Peter He used when praying for him in Luke 22:31-32. Jesus said He was standing against the power of Satan who desired to sift Peter as wheat. Jesus’ prayer was effective, fervent and made much power available.
The Holy Spirit is not afraid of any mess. The same way that a first responder enters a scene where help is immediately needed, the Holy Spirit comes just when you need Him. He gets in the pit with you, in your weakness, sin or struggle, and takes you to victory.
There is a barn on my property and one day a pest control company informed me that I had termites. I told them to exterminate them. I wasn’t falling to pieces about them, because I, personally, did not have termites - my barn did. In the same way, if you are dealing with sin, bad habits, attitudes, or thoughts, YOU don’t have the “termites,” but your house - your body, soul, mind may have them. The good news is you can get rid of them through the power of the Spirit. Paul explains it this way. “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live,” (Romans 8:13). Through the help of the Holy Spirit, God helps to silence every evil voice, depression or struggle you’re dealing with. You can mortify or deaden the evil impulses of the body through the Holy Spirit. You can charge your spirit up by praying in the Spirit (Jude 20). When your spirit is charged up, it keeps your mind and body from dominating you.
The same way you can trust God, you can trust in the Spirit of God who lives in you! “God raised Jesus from the dead, and if God’s Spirit is living in you, he will also give life to your bodies that die. God is the One who raised Christ from the dead, and he will give life through his Spirit that lives in you,” Romans 8:11 (NCV). He will bring to your whole being new strength and vitality.
We are so excited to offer you a brand new 3 CD’s: Spirit, Soul, and Body – Discovering the REAL You! We believe these messages will challenge your faith and cause you to live by your spirit on the inside of you – the REAL YOU! We also want to offer our book, Paul’s System of Truth.
The past few months have been very fruitful months. We have traveled to Mexico, Ukraine and Kenya – training pastors and leaders in meetings in each of these countries. We have also been able to distribute books in all these nations. We were thrilled to have three of our books translated in Russian for the conference in Ukraine. Everyone got copies of these books and the training will continue on through the printed page. We also are in the final stages of getting our first book translated and distributed in Albania.
We are so thankful for your partnership with us in World Missions. Every book that is distributed, every pastor and leader that is ministered to, every church that is strengthened, YOUR PARTNERSHIP IS MAKING THIS POSSIBLE. We may be the ones traveling and ministering in these nations but your prayers and partnership are the fuel behind everything we do and we are so thankful! Not only do we thank you but people all over the world are thanking you for sowing into World Missions. We declare to you our World Misisons Partners: “Our God shall supply all of your need according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus!”
Mark and Trina