Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Spirit of God in Me

In my personal Bible study I’ve always found 1 Thessalonians 5:23 to be a fascinating verse in the Bible, and I’ve often pondered the meaning of man as a three-part being – spirit, soul and body.

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely;
and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I understand the soul and body parts:
*  Body – My physical aspects, i.e. see, hear, taste, smell, touch.
*  Soul – My mind, will, emotions, conscience, and personality.

The spirit part is the tricky one and my grasp of it increases the more I revisit the topic.

The spirit-part of man is fundamentally the seed of God’s presence within all of us.  We are created with all three parts and this is the part that will live on forever.

The difference is that the spirit-part is lost and dead to God (Ephesians 2:2) until we are sanctified – until we accept God’s free gift of salvation and undergo a new birth (John 3:3).  At that point our body and soul continue to lust after worldly and fleshly things, but our spirit, once sanctified, desires for the things of God.

The problem is that our body and soul are in direct battle with our spirit.  Our physical lusts, thoughts, emotions and desires constantly battle against the spirit (Galatians 5:17).

How do we turn the tide of this internal conflict in favor or our spirit and thereby also changing our body and soul for the better?

1.     Accepting Christ:
When we accept Christ, we are a “new creation”  (2 Corinthians 5:17).   This does not imply an immediate change in the spheres of our body and soul, but an immediate change in SPIRIT.   My physical features, emotions, bad habits or personality did not instantaneously change when I accepted Christ.  What did change is my standing with God.   Where before I was at odds with the Righteous God, the Almighty Creator of the Universe, now I have been made righteous through the blood of Christ (Romans 5:19).   I am now in right standing with God and may enter into His presence with boldness, because He now no longer sees my sin, but He sees my redeemed spirit – washed and cleansed by the blood.

2. Cultivating the spirit-part:
Merely recognizing that I am now in right standing with God will not automatically bring change to my physical circumstances, thought processes, lusts, bad habits, and so forth.   The only way I can effectively cultivate the spirit-part is by delving into the Word of God which IS the Spirit of God (John 6:63; Ephesians 6:17).  The Word of God is “quick and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  (Hebrews 4:12)

If you want to change the condition of your body, you must start by assimilating the Word of God. 
If you want to change an aspect of your soul – such as a bad habit, an addiction, anger, mood swings – you must start by studying and meditating the Word of God.

Just reading a pertinent verse in the Bible and understanding it intellectually is not enough either.  You must meditate on it, sleep on it, think it, LIVE it.  It should take over your thoughts in such a way that it crowds out the bad stuff not only in deed, but also in your mind, which is usually where the bad stuff begins – with a thought.  (Proverbs 23:7)

In today’s society where our lives are overwhelmed by television, media, advertising, busy schedules and rushing around, this is certainly an enormous challenge.   My first thought is:  “Where am I going to find the time?”    But then I ask myself:  “Do I really want to keep going the way I am now?”  There’s a famous quote that reads:  Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.  

I have decided to utilize this process to effect change in my life by starting small.  What do I have to lose?  The proof will be in the results, right?  

I challenge you to join in and also give the Word of God a chance to cultivate God’s spirit in you and see if it will effect change in your life!  

My first goal will be to cultivate peace and patience in my life, what is yours?

Galatians 5:16-23

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh;
and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are:
adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath,
 selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like;
of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past,
 that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.

For a more extensive topical study on Spirit, Soul and Body, you may go here.


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