As far back as you can go in the Scriptures their is confusion and debate over the ideas of body, soul and Spirit. I am not, in any way, a scholar to the extremity of being able to lay out every jot and tittle of Greek ideas, Hebrew ideas, and what those words actually mean. I am however, someone who has struggled with seemingly non spiritual brain imbalances. I take medication. I am a follower of Christ. I am charismatic in the most basic of forms. I believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit(as in the three big ones..repentance, of fire, and into Christ). I pursue love and Jesus in everything I do. All that comes from this blog to making my bed all flow from a heart that wants to be ‘fully pleasing to Him.’
I am saying all of this for you to get to know me a little bit better(for all the new followers, thank you!) and also to start a discussion on something that has been in the back of my mind the past few months, and now more so in the front of my mind. The challenge that we have, as Christians, is to discern rightly, and test all things(I John 4:1) that pertain to ‘life and godliness.’ It can be very easy for us to only think in terms of spirituality, or supernatural. We can easily fall into the trap of the early gnosticism that was so prevalent in the times of the apostles. We can discount what happens in our bodies as more evil than what is accomplished in the ‘spiritual realm.’
It begs the question, when people say, we are just spiritual beings covered in flesh. I love jamming out to Jon Foreman singing, ‘This skin and bones is a rental and no one makes it out alive!’ I get the poetic implications: life is temporary, our home is heaven. Paul longed to ‘be present with the Lord’ and he did call the body a tent. Isaiah 40 tells us that ‘all flesh is grass, fading away.’ Man is but..and you get the picture. What I present to you is that we are not just spiritual beings covered in flesh. I believe that to be an inaccurate way to describe how the human frame works. This is to be the first post on this topic, and next week(I don’t make promises to much on this blog) I would like to go into more detail.
Consider the idea that God, in His infinite wisdom, has made us more complex then we would think. The way the brain functions in tandem to the body, or at times as its own organ doing what the brain does best. Or the fact that the survival instinct kicks in along with adrenaline. Consider the fact that sex, in its beauty, is pleasure for all five senses. It is not just your body that feels, but the mind that experiences pleasure too. Consider that the unseen realm will never fully be understood. It would put us in unbelief if we saw and knew the invisible forces at work. I believe people can put the ring on(like Frodo) and see the forces at work. I believe in demons, angels, heaven, hell and all that goes on in between all three heavens. I believe Paul’s caution is to not talk of these things in a detailed way, as it would put us in unbelief(2 Cor.12). It should be our aim to understand both unseen and what would be deemed as science. Science is not bad. Science does not equal secularism, humanism, or even atheism. That only comes from confining science to not having any room for faith, or basing it on empirical data, that would not include any one person’s faith experience. More to come on Body, Soul, Spirit and Body..
Consider the heart..
The heart is, well, a lot of things in scripture. It is both a cesspool of darkness(Math.12) and it is also the place where God seeks His fullness in us(Math.22:37-39) In the time of the Law and Moses, God commanded Israel: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength!”
Genesis 2:7 was the beginning of man becoming a complex being..
“And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (ASV)
We know that since Adam and Eve sinned the heart has become the place of much darkness. Consider:(taken from carm.org/man):
• Our hearts are deceitful and desperately sick (Jer. 17:9).
• We are full of evil (Mark 7:21-23).
• We love darkness rather than light (John 3:19).
• We are unrighteous, do not understand, do not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12).
• We are helpless and ungodly (Rom. 5:6).
• We are dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1).
• We are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3).
• We cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14).
Jesus has come to set right the war we have with Him. In us remains much temptation(James 4) and another assumption would be to assume that the devil is the number one enemy. From these verses, let us consider, we can be our biggest enemy. The war is within us. When we see Psalm 37..’delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart,’ then we must take note that only in Christ can we have transformed and Holy desires. We should not follow our hearts apart from the Holy Spirit. As the Mumford and Sons song goes, ‘do not let my fickle flesh go to waste!’ This flesh is weak, is the war inside, is raging daily but we must see the light and experience the delivering power of the Holy Spirit. ‘The soul that sins shall die!'(Ezek.18:20)
In conclusion, the heart is just one aspect of the three-fold body, soul(heart would be part of the soul) and Spirit. 1 Thes. 5:23 is the thrice fold defense but I seek to rather break down how these three parts work with, and/or against each other. Let us rejoice with David that we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made!’ If God does not transform our hearts, then our hearts will lead us down the wrong path.