Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
Last week, we were able, by God's grace, to study the relationship and difference between the spirit and the soul. We also considered the importance of the need to know the difference between our spirit and our soul. It's interesting to know that when God made man, He made him a" living soul", i.e. the ability to take decisions and make choices was given to man right from creation. We learnt that the soul, which is the seat of our mind, will and emotions is where these decisions and choices are taken. This week, we shall be continuing in the study of the soul and our body.
1. The Saving of the Soul
"So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls." [James 1:21 AMP]
• We have been able to establish, in the past teachings, that at the new birth experience, it is the spirit of man that is born again. This is the part of man that receives eternal life, which is the nature of God.
• It is the spirit of man (not the soul) that becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus.
• The soul is not the innermost being at all. The saving of the soul is a process. Yes, it is a PROCESS.
• The Epistle of James was not written to sinners. James wrote this letter to the Church. Many verses in this book of James attest to this. Take James 5:14 for example;
"Is anyone among you sick? He should call in the church elders (the spiritual guides). And they should pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Lord’s name."
This is talking about anyone sick among the Church calling on the Church Elders.
• In our text today (James 1:18-21), James started by attesting to the truth that we have been begotten or born again by the word of truth and yet encourages us (Spirit-filled people) to receive the engrafted Word, "....which is able to save your souls."
• Though the innermost man (the real man - the spirit) receives eternal life, his intellect and emotions - which is seated in the soul- still needs to be renewed by the Word.
"Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]."
He restores my soul; [Psalm 23:3a]
Both Hebrew word translated restore in the old testament, and the Greek word translated renew in the New testament mean the same thing. To dictionary definition of the word Renew means to restore to a former state; make new or as if new again.
There is no place in the bible where it was mentioned that God restores our spirit. Our spirits become brand-new creatures in Christ Jesus. Our souls however, must be renewed or restored.
• James 1:21; Romans 12:2 tells us how to restore Man's soul - through the Word of God. It is the word of God that saves our soul, that renews our minds and restores our souls.
• Renewing our minds with the Word of God makes us think in line with what God's word says. We are able to prove and ascertain the permissive and the perfect will of God - because His Word is His Will.
• Certified Doctors, Engineers, Architects, Accountants e.t.c. are just normal people who have gone through the process of mind renewal in their respective fields through consitent and diligent routine of immersing themselves in their books for years. It is a PROCESS.
2. Presenting the Body
"I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship". [Romans 12:1 AMP]
• At the new birth, Just like the soul, we still have the same body we had before we became a new creature. We must learn (as part of the process) to let the new man (on the inside) dominate. By doing this, we are able to control the flesh and do something with our bodies.
• We must learn to Crucify (subdue as in passion, sin; to put to death by nailing) the flesh. God does not do this for us, it is what we have to learn to do ourselves.
Paul said (Romans 12:1) ......" I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice,"
Who presents the Body? You. Who is you? The man on the inside who is born again and has become a new creature!
Paul is not just a leader, he is a leader by example. We see how he subdued his body in 1 Corinthians 9:27;
"But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospeland things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]."
What did Paul bring his body subject to? To the inward man! Instead of letting the body dominate the inward man, Paul saw to it that the inward man dominated the outward man.
As anointed as Paul was, a spiritual giant who wrote half the new testament, yet his body wanted to do things that were wrong, otherwise, why would he have had to bring it under?
• Lesson for us here is that just because our body wants to do wrong does not negate the truth that we are saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. But we will have to contend with the body, the flesh (mindset), as long as we are in the world.
• God has however, given us the means, the ability, and the authority through the Word of God to deal with the devil and the flesh. If Paul, the apostle of faith can do it, we can even do much more by the Spirit of the living God.
• You (and I) are the one who must do it! Paul never said God would do it for you. He said, "You be not conformed"....."You be transformed by renewing your mind."..."You present your body". You get your mind renewed with the Word of God. You, You, You and You!!!!
The life and nature of God is inside your spirit. Let that man on the inside be the dominant one. Listen to him (the spirit). It is the spirit of man that is the candle of the Lord and it is through your spirit that God will guide you. He will, if YOU let Him.
*Teaching is culled from "How You Can Be Led By The Spirit of God" by Kenneth E Hagin.