Rev Dr Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Toowoomba Church; Message: John 7:37-39; Date: 10 February 2013

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Rivers from the Belly

 

John 7:37-39: On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

 

At a public gathering – on the most important day – Jesus raised his voice to declare something which was of the utmost importance. He said: “Believe in me and out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water which is the Holy Spirit.” What was Jesus saying and what was he promising about the belly? We are not always fond of our belly – with age, this part of the body seems to be growing more than we want – young people dream about “six-packs” – but – for all of our attention on this part of the body – have you ever experienced therivers of living waterthat are meant to be flowing from there? This morning – I will teach on how this works – letting the Spirit of God (like rivers of living water) flow from your belly.

People – God’s creations – are made up of three parts: our spirit, the soul and the body.[1]

 

1 Thessalonians 5:23: May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

[Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.]

 

[Show diagram (power point slide).] Precise definitions are difficult but we can understand the body, soul and spirit in the following way:

 

Body (http://www.faithandhealthconnection.org/the_connection/spirit-soul-and-body/): It is by our body that we function. It’s comprised of organs and cells which consist of protein carbohydrates and fats. Our body contains our nervous system with nerves and the brain. It’s through our bodies that we connect to the physical world with our five senses.

 

Soul (http://www.faithandhealthconnection.org/the_connection/spirit-soul-and-body/): I believe that our soul is what gives us our personality and it’s through our soul that we live out our relationship with God, with other people and with our self. Our soul likely has three major components — our mind, will and emotions. Our mind has a conscious part and a subconscious part. The conscious mind is where we do our thinking and reasoning. The sub-conscious mind is where we hold our deep beliefs and our attitudes. It’s also where we have our feeling, our emotions and retain our memories. Our will is what gives us the ability to make choices. Through a very complex way, our mind, our will and our emotions are connected to the body through our endocrine, nervous and immune systems.

 

Spirit: The spirit is the faculty that enables people to communicate with God. With his human spirit, a person can worship God and serve God, and know God intuitively. We are not conscious of the spirit but experience the workings of the spirit in our soul and body.

 

Any person has a body, soul and spirit but there is a decisive difference between unbelievers and Christians. Before a person comes to Jesus and puts his faith in him, the spirit of such a person is dead – meaning: his spirit is incapable of relating to God.

 

Ephesians 2:1: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.

 

Only at the point of believing Jesus, do we receive a new spirit from him.

 

John 3:5-8: no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born again [original: of water and the Spirit]. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit ...

 

2 Corinthians 5:17: If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

 

Ezekiel 36:26-27: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

 

1 Peter 3:3-4: Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

 

Cf. Galatians 6:15.

 

The new spirit in us is precisely the location where we find God’s Spirit.

 

1 Corinthians 6:17-19: But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit ... Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? [As the temple of God is made up of three parts (outer court, Holy Place, Holy of Holies), the body/temple of a human being is made up of three parts (body, soul, spirit) and God’s Spirit dwells in the Holy of Holies/spirit of a person.]

 

Romans 8:16:  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

 

1 Corinthians 2:14-15: But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things ...

 

Here I come back to our first Bible reading and Jesus’ words about what comes out of our belly:

 

John 7:37-39: On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

 

I add a parallel Scripture – John 4:13-24: Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life ... the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

 

[Show diagram (power point slide).] In the Bible – the belly [mixed meanings for bowls and kidneys (Psalm 16:7)] can describe the spirit of a person while the heart points to the soul. [Again, the distinctions are not always precise.] Therefore, it is from our spirit that the Holy Spirit flows – it is from our spirit that the life of God flows – and from there it reaches our soul and body.

 

[Watchman Nee: Of these three elements the spirit is the noblest for it joins with God. The body is the lowest for it contacts with matter. The soul lying between them joins the two together and also takes their character to be its own.

The soul makes it possible for the spirit and the body to communicate and to cooperate. The work of the soul is to keep these two in their proper order so that they may not lose their right relationship – namely, that the lowest, the body, may be subjected to the spirit, and that the highest, the spirit, may govern the body through the soul. Man's prime factor is definitely the soul. It looks to the spirit to give what the latter has received from the Holy Spirit in order that the soul, after it has been perfected, may transmit what it has obtained to the body; then the body too may share in the perfection of the Holy Spirit and so become a spiritual body.

The spirit is the noblest part of man and occupies the innermost area of his being. The body is the lowest and takes the outermost place. Between these two dwells the soul, serving as their medium. The body is the outer shelter of the soul, while the soul is the outer sheath of the spirit. The spirit transmits its thought to the soul and the soul exercises the body to obey the spirit’s order. This is the meaning of the soul as the medium. Before the fall of man the spirit controlled the whole being through the soul.]

 

[Show first diagram again (power point slide).] When we understand the basic construction of a person and how spirit, soul and body interact with each other, then we begin to make sense of an apparent contradiction. For instance, take the reading of Ephesians 1:18-20:

 

Ephesians 1:18-20: I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.

 

On the one hand, we have incomparably great power by faith in Jesus through the Holy Spirit but, on the other hand, we do not experience this power because the eyes of our heart (the imagination) are not enlightened. How is this possible? Answer: We have everything in the spirit as our spirit communes with the Holy Spirit – all of God is available to us in our spirit – but we need to let these riches flow into our soul so that we experience them and live them out. We need to learn and live from the spirit/Spirit. [This contradiction also explains why some people pray for more of God while other insist on thanking him for everything irrespective of their experience. We have the Holy Spirit already but still ask to be filled with him.]

 

[What promises in God’s kingdom are meant to be ours already? See Ephesians 1:3: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” There is peace, joy, love, provisions, power, bearing fruit, healing, deliverance from demons, victory over sin and temptations, etc. We have what is promised in our spirit but do not yet experience them in our souls and body.

 

Andrew Wommack: Spirit, Soul & Body, Tulsa: Harrison House 2010, p13: You could actually die with all of the power that raised Jesus from the dead sitting untapped within you. It would be like dying of thirst while leaning against a well full of life-giving water. If you’re dominated by what you feel, your soul is agreeing with the natural realm. “I feel sick and my body hurts. The doctor said I’m dying. Here’s my medical record to prove it.” Even though you have the resurrection life of God in your spirit, your soul can keep it shut off so that not one drop of life-giving power ever touches your physical body.

You can experience depression, anger, and bitterness all the while possessing God’s love, joy, and peace in your spirit (Galatians 5:22). Since this applies to every area of your life, can you see how pivotal your soul is?]

 

 

We look at another Bible passage to understand what must happen in us to experience more of God:

 

Ephesians 3:16-19: I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

 

As the Holy Spirit exerts power on our inner being – this includes our spirit – there is a flow from our spirit to the soul – faith rises in our hearts and the life of Christ begins to manifest in us (giving and receiving from him in a relationship of love) – and this flow increases until the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge is experienced in the soul to the measure of all the fullness of God. Somehow we must activate our inner being – our spirit who is in communion with the Holy Spirit – and then learn to recognize and experience in the soul (in our mind, emotions and will) therivers of living waterthat flow from our bellies.

 

[The Christians had Christ through the Holy Spirit dwell in their spirits but not their souls – Galatians 4:19: My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.]

 

Please, look again at the diagram. Where, do you think, will we have problems? If we are to live from the spirit/Spirit, what could spoil God’s design?

1) Our soul – the immature soul with selfish emotions, selfish mind and will – and the lust of the body do not want to submit to God. There is tension within us and active resistance to block the flow of the spirit/Spirit.

 

Matthew 26:41: ... The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. [Flesh is people and world in the powers of darkness.]

 

Galatians 5:16-25: So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

 

Romans 12:2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (cf. Ephesians 4:20-24).

 

2) We are aware of the soul but not of our spirit. Our emotions, mind and will demand so much of our attention that we struggle to dial down these distractions and focus on the spirit.

 God – the Holy Spirit – lives in my spirit but I am only aware and conscious of God in my soul. How then can I connect with my spirit? How can I be sensitive and compliant with the movements of my spirit that is in communion with the Holy Spirit?

We may pay attention to the following (according to Mike Bickle): 1) Spontaneous (continuous) flow of wisdom; 2) godly desires (holiness, compassion for lost people, zeal for God’s glory); 3) power (Ephesians 1:19; 3:21; Romans 6:4; Colossians 1:29).

 

Isaiah 11:2: The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord.


Another Christian teacher (Watchman Nee) writes:

 

According to the teaching of the Bible and the experience of believers, the human spirit can be said to comprise three parts; or, to put it another way, one can say it has three main functions. These are conscience, intuition and communion.

The conscience is the discerning organ which distinguishes right and wrong; not, however, through the influence of knowledge stored in the mind but rather by a spontaneous judgement ...

Intuition is the sensing organ of the human spirit. It is so diametrically different from physical sense and soulical sense that it is called intuition. Intuition involves a direct sensing independent of any outside influence ...

Communion is worshipping God. God is not apprehended by our thoughts, feelings or intentions, for he can only be known directly in our spirits. Our worship of God and God’s communications with us are directly in the spirit ...

We can conclude that these three elements of conscience, intuition and communion are deeply interrelated and function co-ordinately. The relationship between conscience and intuition is that conscience judges according to intuition; it condemns all conduct which does not follow the directions given by intuition. Intuition is related to communion or worship in that God is known by man intuitively and reveals his will to man in the intuition. No measure of expectation or deduction gives us the knowledge of God ...

 

A) The Function of Conscience in Man’s Spirit

 

“The Lord your God hardened his spirit” Deut. 2.30

“Saves the crushed in spirit” Ps. 34.18

“Put a new and right spirit within me” Ps. 51.10

“When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit” John 13.21

“His spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols” Acts 17.16

“It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” Rom. 8.16

“I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment” 1 Cor. 5.3

“I had no rest in my spirit” 2 Cor. 2.13 AV

“For God did not give us the spirit of timidity” 2 Tim. 1.7

 

B) The Function of Intuition in Man’s Spirit

 

“The spirit indeed is willing” Matt. 26.41

“Jesus perceiving in his spirit” Mark 2.8

“He sighed deeply in his spirit” Mark 8.12

“He was deeply moved in spirit” John 11.33

“Paul was pressed in the spirit” Acts 18.5 AV

“Being fervent in spirit” Acts 18.25

“I am going to Jerusalem, bound in the spirit” Acts 20.22

“What person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him” 1 Cor. 2.11

“They refreshed my spirit as well as yours” 1 Cor. 16.18

“His spirit was refreshed by you all” 2 Cor. 7.13 AV

 

C) The Function o f Communion in Man’s Spirit

 

“My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” Luke 1.47

“The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” John 4.23

“Whom I serve with my spirit” Rom. 1.9

“We serve . . . in the new life of the spirit” Rom. 7.6

“You have received the spirit of sonship when we cry Abba Father” Rom. 8.15

“The Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit” Rom. 8.16

“He who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him” 1 Cor. 6.17

“I will sing with the spirit” 1 Cor. 14.15

“If you bless with the spirit” 1 Cor. 14.16

“In the spirit he carried me away” Rev 21.10 37

 

A spontaneous flow of thoughts, spontaneous intuition, promptings which are not pre-meditated, a sensing in one’s belly, a gut-feeling from nowhere – these are expressions which point to the function of the spirit/Spirit (the new spirit of humans that is indwelled by the Holy Spirit) in us.

At this point, I want to make a few practical observations:

 

How easy is it to get the guidance and promptings of the Holy Spirit wrong? A spontaneous flow of thoughts and intuition are subtle – the still small voice of God – which means that the “noise” of our soul and body can distort the guidance that we are receiving. Therefore, it is good advice to consult with trusted brothers and sisters in Christ. In the case of bigger life decisions, take your time and pray with others – 1 Corinthians 14:29: “Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21: “Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good.” [If you think that it is wise to be discerning with preaching of your pastor, please apply the same caution to yourself.]

 

How do you activate the flow of the Spirit into your soul? Without Jesus and his Holy Spirit, we cannot do anything (John 15) but how can we receive from the unconscious part of ourselves – our spirit? There is good counsel in Romans 8:5-6: “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Set your minds not on the flesh but the Spirit and what the Spirit desires. This means: align your soul – your emotions, mind and will – to the Spirit of God – [the best way of doing this is in praising God or praying in tongues] and this will allow your spirit to release a gentle flow of spontaneous thoughts, intuition and power. An unaligned soul can oppress the spirit through anger, unforgiveness, grief, sorrow, greed, etc. Praising God is the best activity for soul alignment but otherwise the key terms to remember are “obedience” and “faith”.

 

When you pray for someone else (or for your own needs), how do you do it? How do we pray according to the flow of the Spirit from our spirit? You do not pray with your mind as the most active part of your body. You do not scrounge up your face and work up the sincerity level of your voice. You dial down and drop in your spirit. From there, you release the flow of God.

I am careful about praying too many words because they can distract me. Simple expressions like “more (Jesus)” or “fill” are sufficient and allow me to set my mind on what the Spirit/spirit is doing. I also like to pray in tongues because this frees up my mind completely from focusing on the words and I know that I am praying according to the Spirit.

While other pastors counsel to keep your eyes open, when you pray for others (so that you can pick up on what God is doing), I have mine closed most of the time because I am having my senses locked on the Spirit/spirit.

I pray as long as I feel that there is a flow. There is no need to fall down, when I am praying for you. I am confident in the Spirit’s presence and need no outward confirmation. I encourage you to be relaxed also.

 

Since you are ministering from the Spirit/spirit, you do not always wait until you feel “right” about praying for others. The Holy Spirit is always in you which means that you can always – by faith – by setting your mind on the Spirit – release the flow of the Holy Spirit through your spirit into another person.

 

What do you do, when you want to receive prayer? You need to receive the Spirit in your spirit because this is where the Holy Spirit wants to dwell. This means that you need to still your soul – quieten your emotions, mind and will – which is difficult sometimes because you may be self-conscious in the prayer line. You may worry about falling down or not falling down.

[There are those that “overthink” the experience and I know pastors that minister to them by distracting them. For instance, when people want to receive the gift of tongues, Suzette Hattingh makes them repeat her own prayer language and – as they concentrate on forming the words – she speeds up her prayer so that they struggle with repeating the words precisely. This is often the time when their own gift of tongues is released. They focus on someone else – their minds have a job to do – they are already speaking and then slip into receiving themselves.

Another pastor greets people in the prayer line and – while engaging them in small talk – at the right time – simply releases the Spirit into them. He does not even wait for a formal prayer setup.]

Sometimes I pray for people and they themselves are also praying (in English or tongues). Usually, this does not work because – as they are active in their soul with their own prayers – they are not in a receiving mode. I encourage them to become still and just concentrate on receiving.

Some people like me to lay hands on them as long as possible. When they sense that they are about to fall down under the power of the Spirit, they fight the sensation, take control and remain standing before me. This also does not work because the work of human control cuts off the gentle flow of the Spirit. Fall when the Holy Spirit makes you fall. I myself fall quickly and I find that the Holy Spirit keeps ministering to me on the floor with no one touching me. God is not bound to a certain time period of laying on of hands.

 

I also encourage you to take your time on the floor to allow the Spirit to minister to your spirit. You may not feel anything much but your spirit is receiving from God. [It can be the same in prayer meetings. You are not feeling ecstatic but your spirit is built up which then communicates life to your soul.]

 

We can also drop in the spirit and pray from the “belly” at home in our own private prayer times. Instead of letting the mind dictate prayer lists to us or following certain formulas, we can fellowship with the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2:2: “... if any fellowship of the Spirit ...”; 2 Corinthians 13:14: “...the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all ...”) and let him lead us to where he wants to go. Then – as we see the prayer concerns with the eyes of our heart – we can pray from the “belly” and release the Spirit’s life into the situation. Instead of just praying petitions, we can “build in the Spirit” and declare the Spirit’s intentions with authority (binding and loosing according to Matthew 16:19; 18:18).

 

We have come to the end of today’s teaching and I hope that it has not been too confusing but practical. In closing, do you think that it is easy or hard to live according to the flow of the Spirit from our spirit into the soul? It is easy. The soul and body may resist submission but living according to the Spirit is easy because we do so by the power of God and not our own:

 

Matthew 11:30: ... My yoke is easy and my burden is light.

 

John 15:5: I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing.

 

2 Corinthians 3:17: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

 

You cannot live the Christian life by your own power. This would set you up for failure. Wisdom, excitement in prayer, power for healing and salvation, bearing fruit, prospering, a life of joy and love – these blessings cannot be worked by ourselves. They are gifts from God – released through the Holy Spirit in our spirit and experienced in the soul and body. God is so good. The flow of the Spirit/spirit may be gentle and require intuition but there is an abundance of God’s presence, glory and power. Jesus said: “Believe in me and out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water which is the Holy Spirit.” This morning – believe him. Amen.

 

 

Additional Resources:

 

Andrew Wommack: For example, you already have inside of you the same power that raised Christ from the dead, regardless of your experience. It’s in your spirit. You also have love, joy, and peace in your born-again spirit, although you may be suffering depression, anger, and bitterness.

If you don’t understand what happened in your spirit, though, you will miss these blessings. The Bible says that every born-again believer has undergone a complete inner transformation.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17-18).

It doesn’t say that all things are becoming new or have the potential of becoming new; they are new, the moment you are born again. But, in order for that to make sense, you must first understand how God created you.

God’s Word clearly teaches that we are three-part beings, but very few Christians have a functional understanding of spirit, soul, and body in their daily lives. Intellectually, most Christians believe they are three-part beings, but functionally, they are ignorant of their spiritual identity. They’ve confused the operation of the soul and spirit, seeing them basically as one.

Even Strong’s Concordance fails to distinguish all three! It defines “spirit” (pneuma in the Greek) as “the rational soul.” However, in my study of God’s Word, I have found a very distinct difference between spirit and soul. Your spirit is your innermost part, not your “rational soul.”

First Thessalonians 5:23 makes it very clear that we are three-part beings: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (underlines mine).

If you were talking to me face to face, you’d be seeing my body but speaking to my soul. The word soul is defined by some as the mind, will, and emotions, and while that’s certainly true, it’s incomplete. The “conscience” should also be included in that definition, as well as the “imagination.” The soul is really what most call the “personality.”

You can feel both your body and your soul, and you are receiving information from them all the time. For example, if I asked you if you were hot or cold, you wouldn’t have to pray about it and get back to me. You instantly know that. Likewise, if I asked how you felt emotionally, you don’t have to study on it and tell me tomorrow. You know if you are sad or glad at any moment.

It’s easy to know how your body feels, what’s going on in your mind, and what emotions you are experiencing. However, your spirit is much different; it cannot be accessed through your five senses.

John 3:6 says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

Jesus meant that there’s no direct connection between the two. Spirit is spirit and flesh is flesh. You simply cannot contact your spirit through your five senses or through your mind, will, or emotions. This is the key that unlocked my brain.

If you don’t understand that spiritual reality can’t be felt, then you’ll be confused when God’s Word declares that you have, living in you, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead (Eph. 1:18-20). If you think truth can be discerned through your natural senses, then you’ll be baffled when the Bible says you’re a brand-new creature who can do the same miraculous works that Jesus did (2 Cor. 5:17 and John 14:12).

The apparent disparity between your natural experiences and God’s Word will cause you to throw up your hands in frustration and conclude that it must not be true. It’s the understanding of spirit, soul, and body that unlocks who you are and what you have in Christ.

In the natural, the spirit realm can’t be seen or felt. The only way to accurately perceive spiritual truth is through the Bible. Simply believe God’s Word!

Jesus said in John 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

God’s World reveals spiritual reality. If you want to know what your spirit is like, you must find out from the Word, not by relying on emotions or other perceptions. God’s Word is spirit and life! When you look at your face in a mirror, you trust what you see. God’s Word is just like that mirror; it reflects perfectly who you are in your spirit.

“For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therin, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:23-25).

You must look into God’s mirror and trust the spiritual reality you see! It reflects your new, born-again spirit, your innermost part.

Although full payment has been made for your glorified body through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, you still have a corrupted body. One day it will be redeemed and changed into an incorruptible one, but for now, you still have the same body.

Your soul wasn’t saved either, so you may have the same thoughts and emotions you had before you were saved. Because of that, some of you seriously doubt whether or not you were saved. You don’t understand that the change took place in your spirit. Typically, your body and soul are both impacted by what happens at salvation, but it’s not instant or complete.

The good news is, you can change your soul as you change your mind. In fact, you are commanded to do so.

Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Your soul will be transformed to the degree you renew your mind, change your attitudes, and conform to the Word of God. This doesn’t happen automatically when you are saved.

In your soul, old things did not pass away, and all things haven’t yet become new. For that reason, you could actually die from sickness or disease even though all of the power that raised Jesus from the dead is residing untapped within your spirit. It’s like dying of thirst while leaning against a well full of life-giving water.

Think of your soul like the valve on a faucet: It controls the rate and volume of the flow of the spirit into your body. If your mind is renewed and in agreement with the Word, the valve is wide open. But if it is in agreement with what your body is feeling or what your emotions are experiencing, then the valve is closed to God’s life in your spirit.

Your soul has the power to keep every drop of life-giving power from ever reaching your physical body, or it can flood your body with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. If the valve is open, you’ll experience healing, deliverance, anointing, victory, power, joy, prosperity, and more. So, keep it open.

This revelation of the relationship of the spirit, soul, and body has transformed my life. When I realized that God had already given me everything I needed and it’s all contained in my spirit, it set me free. All I needed to do was release it. That simple understanding changes everything. It’s infinitely easier to release something you already have than it is to get something you don’t have.

The Christian life isn’t a process of “getting from God”; it’s a process of renewing your mind and learning to release what you’ve already received.

If you don’t understand that you have already received all that you will ever need at salvation (in your spirit), there will always be an element of doubt. You may know it’s possible or even promised in the Word, but you’ll be trying to perceive it in the mental, emotional, or physical realm, and that’s a formula for failure.

That erroneous concept can also result in a performance-based relationship with God; i.e., if you’re good enough, if you read the Bible enough, if you pay your tithe, and on and on it goes, in an attempt to motivate God to give you what you need. It’s the misconception that God hasn’t already given you everything, and somehow you have to make yourself worthy enough to get it.

You’re already worthy because of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. He paid the price for everything you will ever need. In fact, you’ve already got it. It’s just a matter of understanding the relationship of the spirit to the soul and body.

Understanding spirit, soul, and body is critically important to every believer. It’s like the key that opens the treasure chest of God’s grace. It could be a matter of life and death, and it’s the foundation to understanding the rest of Scripture.

See Andrew Wommack: Spirit, Soul & Body, Tulsa: Harrison House 2010.

 

Robert Winer summarizing Watchman Nee (www.winerfoundation.org): Confronting Your Current Spiritual State

 

I’ve found that there are many reasons why people don't have their souls cracked open to release their spirits. I've thought of a few categories that might fit you. If you believe there are more, feel free to use your own schema:

 

1.       Those who didn't know that their outward man was not allowing their spirit to break through. These are primed to experience a working of the Ruach. The study supplies them with a knowledge that the Ruach can use to open their spiritual eyes.

2.       Those who knew that something was blocking their spiritual life, but found themselves unable to get victory. These may gain victory through the principles taught in the study along with the ministry of the Ruach. They may also need a knowledge of the spiritual warfare involved and/or deliverance.

3.       Those who are overcome by their emotions and cannot seem to get victory.

4.       Those who have sin blocking their relationship with God. These need to repent and accept the atoning work of Messiah. After that’s done, the door is open for a further work of the Spirit.

 

All four groups need to be led into a prayer of consecration and repentance because these open the door for the Ruach to work in their lives. This is a voluntary submission of their will to God’s authority. It is crucial that this take place. Consider doing it right now. If you’re not now prepared to do this, would you consider it later? Here’s a prayer type for you to model:

“Dear Lord: I consecrate myself to You. This means that I offer myself to You right now. And I do this without making any conditions and without any reservations. I trust You for my life, my future, for everything. I place myself in Your hands. Have Your way with me. In Yeshua’s name. Amen.”

 

Why Haven’t I Done This Before?

 

“Why is it that after many years of dealing some remain the same? Some individuals have a forceful will; some have strong emotions; and others have a strong mind. Since the Lord is able to break these, why is it that after many years some are still unchanged?”

Nee sees two main reasons that some people don’t respond to the discipline of the Ruach and thus don’t allow their souls to be broken:

 

1.       Many don’t see the hand of God at work in their circumstances. They think that it is just people opposing them or that the conditions are too harsh. Perhaps they are pessimists.

2.       Self-love: These may see the hand of God in their situations but fail to grasp the lessons the Lord wants to teach them because they take matters into their own hand. The heart of self-love wants to end anxiety, pain, or discomfort as soon as possible and thus seeks to plan a way to fix things. This comes from the soul as it is always trying to control its own destiny rather than come under the headship of God.

 

Which group might you fit into? I’m asking you to disclose what’s in your heart. I know that some of you are naturally reluctant to do this, yet this is necessary. Honestly consider your current spiritual state.

 

Points and Questions to Dig Deeper

 

“He who can work for God is the one whose inward man can be released. The basic difficulty of a servant of God lies in the failure of the inward man to break through the outward man.”

 

“Our spirit seems to be wrapped in a covering so that it cannot easily break forth. If we have never learned how to release our inward man by breaking through the outward man, we are not able to serve in fullness.”

 

 

 

Body: The whole person with a focus on the physical.

Soul: The whole person with a focus on its humanity.

Spirit: The whole person with a focus on the spiritual.

 



[1] Neil Anderson: Victory Over the Darkness, Ventura: Regal Books 1990, p22-23: For years theologians have debated whether the individual members of Adam’s race are made up of two or three parts. The three-parters say that we are comprised of a body, soul (containing mind, emotions and will) and spirit. The two-parters believe that man is simply material and immaterial, possessing a body and a soul/spirit.

I really don’t think it’s all that important whether you believe in two parts or three. Suffice it to say that we have an outer self, a physical body which relates to this world through five senses, and an inner self which is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Somewhere in the inner self we find our mind – allowing us to think, our emotions – allowing us to feel, and our will – allowing us to choose. Some refer to this three-level section as the soul. Either superimposed over the soul in the inner self (as the two-parters suggest) or separate from it (as the three-parters contend) is the spirit.