Our Human Spirit-Part 1
|By: Nancy Missler; ©2002|
|What is the human spirit? What role does it play in our communion and communication with God? Nancy Missler explains.|
One of the most important things that the dark night does is highlight the glibness of religion. It shows its hollowness and its emptiness. The dark night is the breakdown of order and of schemes. In the darkness, there are no guidelines and no maps to follow. No religious experience will get us through this time. If we want all of Jesus, we must be prepared to let all of our “religious” thoughts and ideas (traditions) go.
Most religions concentrate on our souls or our outward man. Very few religious systems deal with the inward man or our spirit. Christianity is that exception. Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is within us—in our inward man. Therefore, the further inward we turn towards God in our spirit, not only are we moving towards intimacy with Him, we are also moving away from our outward or soulish man.
Man’s spirit was once “head” over the whole man. But because of Adam’s fall, our soul and spirit became intermingled, with our soul being the dominant force. Thus, when the soul becomes defiled (unholy or unclean) because of our emotional choices, it also defiles our spirit and causes all communication, leading and guiding from the Holy Spirit to be stopped. This is what we mean when we say that the Spirit has become quenched or blocked. It means there is no more communication with God.
All communication with God occurs in our spirit, because this is the place where “He meets with us,” this is the place where He dwells. Thus, when our spirit is cleansed and purified, we will be able to communicate and fellowship directly with Him. But as long as our spirit and our soul are intermingled (and not cleansed), our spirit will be suppressed by our soul’s influence, and our spiritual walk hindered. Therefore, God wants to teach us how to allow our spirit (not our soul) to direct and drive our lives.
God wants us to glorify and reflect Him, not only in our bodies, but also in our spirits. In order for this to occur, however, we must first understand what our spirits are and how God wants to set them free from the influence of our souls. So, before we continue on and explore what the “dark night of the spirit” is, let’s first try to understand what our spirits are, how they can be freed from the domination of our souls and what we can do to help speed up the process.
What Is Our Spirit?
Romans 8:16 tells us very clearly that we do have a human spirit: “The Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” Thus, if we are the “children of God,” then God’s Spirit will always bear witness to us, lead us and guide us through our human spirit.
Our spirit is like the power source, the energy source or the light source of our lives. It’s analogous to a generator or the electric power plant in a huge building. Without its energy and power, nothing in the building will work. There will be no light or life at all! It’s the same with us. Without a spirit, our bodies will have no life. Our spirit is a life-giving power that makes us alive, that quickens and gives us life. It’s removal means death.
Our spirit exists independently in our body. It’s not material; however, it does possess its own spiritual substance. It can be likened to an electric light. As Proverbs 20:27 says, “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.” In order to have light, however, Scripture tells us that our spirit must come in contact with (and be united with) the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is the “Master Transformer; our spirit is simply the transmitter. So, apart from God’s Spirit turning our spirit on, it remains darkened and unlit.
God gave us a body to interact and be conscious of the world and others around us; He gave us a soul that we might be conscious of ourselves, our own thoughts, emotions and desires; and He gave us a spirit so we could communicate and fellowship with God and be conscious of His will. In other words, our spirit is our “link” to God.
What Happened at Creation?
Genesis 2:7 tells us that at creation God breathed the breath of life (the spirit) into man (into his body) and man then became a living soul. In other words, our human spirit came forth from God, but our soul was produced after the spirit entered our body. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7)
Thus, in Adam, his spirit, soul and body were perfectly blended together—his soul being the unifying factor. In other words, his soul was not only in communication with his body, it was also in perfect communication with his spirit.
Even though Adam’s soul was the “meeting point” between his spirit and body, his spirit always remained the ruling power. It controlled his whole body through his soul. God designed it this way. Man’s spirit was to be the master, the head or the dominant force over man’s soul and, thus, his body.
What Happened at the Fall of Man?
However, because God gave man a free will (free choice) of his own, instead of choosing to follow God’s will by not eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam chose to partake of the forbidden fruit. When this occurred, sin entered and Adam lost his original union and fellowship with God. Adam’s soul became inflated and his spirit suppressed. Adam chose independence, rather than dependence upon God, and thus his spirit died, or you might say, lost its sensitivity and communication with God. Adam’s spirit became cut off from its source of power—the Master Transformer (God’s Spirit). Because the transmission of power was cut off, there was no more electricity.
At this point, Adam’s spirit and soul became co-mingled, fused or joined, with his soul becoming the ruling and governing force. As a result, the spirit of man no longer controlled his body. Thus, God could no longer communicate with man or rule him internally, and He had to resort to the laws of nature.
Man’s spirit became simply a resident or a prisoner of his soul. Thus, when we are born into the human race, like Adam, our soul is naturally the dominant force and it controls all that we do.
What Happened at Our New Birth?
When we ask Jesus Christ to come into our lives and become our savior and Lord, however, God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
This is the time when God’s Spirit unites with our human spirit and it becomes alive, quickened and regenerated. The electricity is turned on by the Master Transformer. Listen to Ezekiel 36:26, “I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” This is just saying that when the Holy Spirit infuses our spirit with new Life, our dead spirit becomes alive (i.e., the candle is lit).
The Holy Spirit works with us differently than He did with Adam. When Adam received a spirit, he simply became a “living soul.” This same thing occurs with us when we are born naturally. However, when we are “born again” of the Spirit, unlike Adam, we receive God’s Spirit (the Holy Spirit) into our human spirit, which gives us a brand new spirit. This is what being “born again” really means.
God’s Spirit uses our human spirit like a carrier or a transport to help carry out the process of sanctification and to restore spiritual communication in our lives. The process of sanctification is simply the process of restoring our spirit back to its rightful place, as director of our souls. This is crucially important because, until our soul is completely submitted to our spirit, our communication and our walk with the Lord will be hindered.
God desires to pour His Life through us just like a water pipe that is connected to a fountain. Where there is sin and self-centeredness, that water tube becomes blocked. As a result, it not only prevents God’s Life from freely flowing through us to others, but it also prevents our intimate communication with God.
Our biggest difficulty, then, is that our spirit needs to be untangled from our soul and to break free from its influence and rule. The true spiritual man is one in whom the spirit rules, not the soul. God’s will is that our regenerate spirit becomes stronger and stronger, so that it can work alongside of God’s Spirit to control and govern our soul. Then, the tables will be turned and our spirit can, once again, become the uniting factor between our souls and our bodies. Our spirit will be able to operate outwardly through our soul and communicate with the world, and it will be able to operate inwardly towards God and commune with Him.
The Holy Spirit (through our spirit) wants to permeate our souls with His Life and, thereby, establish “love lines” with others, and communion and intimacy with us. This is the “fulness of Christ” that we have so often referred to. “And to know the Love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19)
Our spirit can only fill us, lead us and guide us, however, when the sensory part of our soul is weakened, crucified and annihilated. In order for this to occur, our soul needs to be brought through the darkness and death of its own ability. Thus, a spiritual Christian is one in whom the Spirit is allowed to lead, guide and direct, whereas, a carnal Christian is one who chooses to follow his own will and desires (his flesh) and, thereby, quenches the Spirit’s leading. A carnal Christian still has God’s Spirit in his heart (united with his human spirit), but it’s blocked from coming forth by sin and self. Thus, in this person the sanctification process is halted and all communication with God is stopped.
So, there will always be a human soul and a human spirit. The question is: which one is in control?