You are a spiritual being who has a soul, and you live in a body. God interacts with the spirit of a man, not through his physical senses. It is the spiritual part of you that experiences fellowship with God. The only way you can find true peace, love, and joy is through the rebirth of the human spirit by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Just as a person cannot develop naturally without food and exercise, neither can a person develop spiritually without spiritual growth. Remember Jesus’ reply to Nicodemus when he asked how a man can be born a second time and Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can produce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to our spiritual life.” [John 3:5-6] In order for the soul (mind, will, and emotions) to grow, it must have spiritual food which is the Word of God or knowledge; wisdom which is respect for the Word; and understanding which is to apply God’s Word to everyday life situations. If a man does not eat and feed his body, he will starve to death; likewise, man cannot grow or develop in his soul if he is deprived of revelation from the Holy Spirit. There must be a balance in the inner man or the Christian cannot grow. Your life will not prosper until your soul prospers. “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health just as your soul prospers.” [3 John 1:2]
The key to John’s prayer is that your soul has to prosper before you can be whole. In order for your marriage to prosper, your mind has to be renewed to understand a covenant relationship with your spouse. In order for your finances to prosper, your mind has to be transformed to understand Kingdom economics. In other words, you will prosper in direct proportion to your ability to be taught by the Spirit and the Word.
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” [II Corinthians 5:17] The Bible also says, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceed out of the mouth of God.”[Matthew 4:4]
Balance between mind, spirit, and body brings equilibrium and harmony to your life which gives you compassion for those around you. Your mind has to be renewed from day to day in order to be able to receive and act upon the plan of God for your life. Your soul or mind is a work in progress. Your conversion experience gave you the power to overcome carnal, lustful, selfish desires of the flesh. The question is will you listen to the old man, or will you readjust your thinking to live according to the principles and promises of God by exemplifying the life of Christ? The Gospel is not served buffet style where you can pick and choose only what you want on a given day. The Gospel is the “Good News” of God that will never change or lose its power.
Again, your soul is not the same as your spirit. If you can understand the difference between your soul and spirit, you would see why it is possible to be a born again Christian with a “new spirit,” yet struggle with making the right choices due to an unrenewed, or unchanged soul. For example, Mr. Christian says he is converted, but he verbally and or physically abuses his wife or child behind closed doors. Mrs. Christian says she is saved, but she is intimately involved with someone other than her husband. Miss or Ms. Christian goes to church every Sunday and to Bible study on Wednesday night, but she allows her boyfriend to “sleepover” now and then. These behaviors are unacceptable as Christians. Until the mind is renewed to make people think about their actions and to change with the help of the Holy Spirit, they may live to be sixty or seventy years old without living in God’s good, acceptable or perfect plan even though they claim to have been born again with His spiritual DNA.
“Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” [II Corinthians 4:16] In other words, the soul and spirit are renewed as we walk with the Lord, although the physical body is dying daily.
Part of Christian growth is getting to a place where we can follow our “born again spirit” instead of our flesh. When your spirit reminds you to pray before going to work, but your flesh tells you to sleep a while longer and pray later, your soul is the controller. I am reminded of a time when I personally faced this dilemma. I had to drive almost an hour to arrive at my school by seven a.m. My alarm rang at five a.m. so I had a good excuse to pray later, but the Holy Spirit told me to wake up and pray at four a.m. Reluctantly, I obeyed. To my amazement every morning there was a traumatic event at that school. One morning as I entered the parking lot, a teacher with diabetes fainted, and I was able to pray with her until she regained consciousness and transported to the hospital.
Another incident involved a student who lost consciousness in his classroom. The school secretary made an all points call asking me to assist him until the ambulance arrived. I found him prostrate on the floor, gasping for breath. I remember praying for him until help arrived. The ambulance driver asked me to continue praying in the ambulance until they connected him to life support equipment. About six weeks later, he returned to school, and I can’t express the joy I felt as we hugged each other in the hallway that day. His teacher said he was doing fine. I remember consoling several co-workers who lost loved-ones unexpectedly. I was frequently asked to pray for individuals and their family members.
I began to see why I needed to pray each morning in order to have spiritual guidance and strength available to assist others in a time of need. By energizing my spirit each morning and submitting to God’s plan, I was allowing my spirit to be the controller instead of my flesh. I’m sure you have also allowed your spirit man to overtake your murmuring and complaining flesh multiple times as well.
The flesh constantly desires worldly, carnal, negative things. The reason God is concerned with purifying and renewing your soul is to help you make better choices that are controlled by your spirit instead of your carnal mind. Undisciplined thoughts can greatly influence your feeling and emotions which can cause you to make impulsive or unwise decisions. A renewed or disciplined soul is one that hears and chooses to follow the Holy Spirit. When your spirit man is the controller, your soul will be prosperous. Below are eight ways the soul can be renewed and made prosperous through the Word of God and a sincere desire to change.
Written By: Bell
Dr. Susanna Bell is a former secondary school educator and counselor, a licensed pastoral counselor, an ordained minister of the Gospel, a state licensed professional counselor in mental and behavioral health, and a national board-certified psychotherapist. Dr. Bell is committed to strengthening individuals and families from a holistic premise that seeks to restore balance both mentally, and spiritually. Find more info on the web at http://restcounselingministries.vpweb.com