Discerning Between The Soul And Spirit

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  • September 16, 2014

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) We see that it is important to understand the division between the soul and spirit. As worshipers, we need to understand this concept. In John 4:23 it says, “…the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” I believe that worship warriors need to have a clear understanding of the huge difference here and be able to walk in the Spirit and know the difference. Wouldn’t it be sad if we had been worshiping God in the soul realm all of this time without knowing it? This is so strong here in John that verse 24 repeats it yet again, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” It must be very important if Jesus repeated it twice in a row.

What does this all mean? We read in Galatians 5, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” (v. 16-17). So we see that we have a continual conflict here between the soul and the spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal. 5:22-24). I know that we have all read this and heard this preached so many times…don’t tune out yet. I’d like you to take note that there are not a bunch of fruits of the Holy Spirit that can be randomly chosen, but only ONE FRUIT! It is a package deal!

So…we are to worship God in the spirit and because Paul commands us to walk in the spirit, we should be diligent to obey, don’t you think? We are told that God is a Spirit and that we are made up of body, soul and spirit. We all know that we begin to worship God in the flesh and soul realm, but as we proceed deeper into His prescence, we are being pulled into the spirit realm, which is exactly where we are designed to go as born-again believers. This is the place of victory and breakthrough. This is the place of abandonment to self and being dead to the flesh and alive unto Him. This takes some digging and courage to abandon safety and venture into the unknown! What if we have never really entered the spirit realm with God as of yet? What if we think that we have been there, and yet we have not even made one true spiritual step yet? Is it possible?

God is looking for worshipers who will worship Him in this way. That is what it says in John 4:23. Is this a desire of your heart? He will help you to get there! God will always respond to hunger for more of Him! Always! He is no respecter of persons so you are just as special to Him as anyone else. Let’s look in Matthew as they tried to tell Jesus that his mother and brothers were here to see him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.” But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” Matt. 12:47-50 Folks, that is you and I as we are obedient to Him.

I just got a copy of Derek Prince’s book, Rules of Engagement and I would like to quote from page 31:
“In the contemporary Church there is little understanding of the nature of worship, mainly because we do not discern the difference between the spirit and the soul. Worship is not entertainment. This belongs in the theatre, not the church. Nor is worship the same as praise. We praise God with our souls, and it’s right to do so. Through our praise we have access to God’s presence. But once we are in His presence, it is through worship that we enjoy true spiritual union with Him.
To be able to worship God in this way is the goal of salvation—first on earth, and then in heaven. It is the highest and holiest activity of which a human being is capable. It is only possible, however, when the soul and the body come into submission to the spirit and in harmony with it. Such worship is often too profound for words. It becomes an intense and silent union with God. Since this distinction between spirit and soul is vital for effective discipleship, let’s explore more deeply how to discern between the two.”

This book is available on Amazon.ca for about $12.00. It is so worth it!

How do we move from the soul and the spirit and how do we know when we are present in one or the other. If you study Galatians 5, it makes a very clear distinction between the two. We see the “deeds of the flesh” starting at verse 19 and the FRUIT of the spirit is listed in verse 22 and 23. PLEASE READ THIS! Again we see Hebrews 4 in evidence, as the Word of God is helping us to discern when we are in the spirit or in the flesh/soul realm. I think we all know when we are walking in the old ways, but it is much harder to discern when we are actually walking in the spirit, and some may wonder if they have been there at all. These are not light things, but are so important as we mature in our understanding of His ways, not our ways. We know our ways and His ways are radically different!

The first step is to accept that we have not arrived yet! We are on a journey! I believe that accepting our position in worship without digging deeper for more intimacy with Him will be our first mistake! Although there is no formula for how to worship in the Bible, we know, that first of all, God is looking for spirit worshipers and not flesh worshipers or soul worshipers. If we have a hunger for more and we are being broken by God, we are in a good position to humble ourselves and admit that we need help in this area.

There is a enormous plentiful splendorous place in God that He is just waiting for us to enter. His desire is that we would seek His presence in continually deeper capacities and in deeper depths of His glory. God does not put one above the other. Our desire attracts His attention! Are you hungry for more? Have you allowed Him to strip you of all confidence in your abilities? Have you been broken of your pride? GOOD! You are ready for more! Instead of always floating on the top of the water close to the shore, set out into the deep water over your head, where you will be more dependant upon Him to keep you from drowning. It is an awesome journey into supernatural satisfaction and glory! This place with God is where we were designed to go and it is precisely why we were born again. Move into the realms of the Spirit, past your flesh, past the soul realm, into the unknown wonders of God. God is waiting for you right now! Sign up for the ride of your life with God! Get hungry! Get thirsty for more! We hope this wets your appetite today!

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.  (Isaiah 55:8-9)

LASTLY: how about an invitation from God:
“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost. (Isaiah 55:1)

“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15)
This is going to cost us something! Keep this in mind as you
venture out into the wondrous ways of God for your life! Hallelujah! Haul up the Anchor and Set Sail right NOW! There is a great treasure awaiting all of us!
Blessings Rob and Jody

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