Our Human Spirit-Part 3
|By: Nancy Missler; ©2002|
|Are we really willing to be sanctified body, soul and spirit? Are we prepared for what that really means? Nancy Missler explains what is involved.|
The Big Question
Are we really willing to be sanctified body, soul and spirit? Are we prepared for what that really means?
A dear friend of mine, a missionary in New Zealand, wrote me a very provocative letter that I would like to share with you. It’s about this very subject:
I read 1 Thessalonians 5:23 in my daily devotions this morning and it really spoke to my heart. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God you whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
When we pray to be sanctified, are we really prepared to face the standard of these verses? All of us take the term “sanctification” much too lightly. Are we really prepared for what sanctification will cost us? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God. Sanctification means an intense concentration on God’s point of view. It means every power of our body, soul, and spirit must be chained and kept for God’s purposes only. Are we prepared for God to do that in each of our lives? Are we prepared to separate ourselves to God, even as Jesus did?
Sanctification means “being made one” with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him (God’s Spirit), can also rule and reign in us. Are we prepared for what that will cost us? It will cost us everything that is not of God!
Dividing our Soul From Our Spirit
In order for our spirit to be sanctified, so that our soulish ways are no longer entangled in our inward spiritual activities, it must be set apart, made holy and separated from our soul. In other words, there can be no mingling of our soul and spirit. Our greatest problem is impurity. We have become a “dual” man. Our outward man (our soul) continually affects our inward man (our spirit) and this cannot be. Our inward man needs to be released in order to direct our outward man. In other words, our spirit needs to be set free. The only way this is possible is to divide and separate the two.
In order for this division and this separation to come about, we must be able to “see” what God sees in us. Seeing is the first step towards dealing. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that only the Word of God can give us the revelation we need to see what God sees. Thus, the method God uses to sanctify our spirits is by the revelation of His Word, with the Holy Spirit as His agent. “…all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13)
In other words, to the degree that we allow God’s Word and His Spirit to show us our “selves” is the degree to which our spirit can be purified.
Only God’s Word can enable us to see what is of the spirit and what is of the soul, what is carnal and what is spiritual, what is natural and what is of God. Only God, through His Word, can reveal the motives of our heart and enable us to see ourselves as we truly are. Only He can expose, cut away and cleanse that which is soulish from that which is spiritual. We are unable to do this for ourselves. Thus, deliverance comes only when the light of God’s Word helps us to see as God sees. And, the more of our soul we allow to be stripped away from our spirit, the clearer we will be able to see.
Just Like Separating Joints and Marrow
Again Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
What this Scripture is saying is that our soul and spirit together are analogous to our “bones,” which consist of joints and marrow. In order to divide our bones, they must be broken, dis-united or separated. God’s Word is like His sword and He uses the power of His sword to cut, pierce and divide our soul and spirit, just like you would divide the joints and marrow of our bones.
Our soul can be considered analogous to our joints; whereas, our spirit might be analogous to the marrow of our bones. A joint is a place between two parts, just like our soul is the place between our body and our spirit. A joint is where the separation takes place; just as our soul is the place where the separation of our spirit takes place. Marrow means the best part, the innermost part or the essential part from which all of our strength, vitality and life is derived. It’s the richest portion of our bones. And it’s the same with our spirit. Our spirit is the best part, the richest, the most supreme part of our makeup, because it’s where God dwells. Only as our spirit (the marrow) is separated away from our soul (the joint) can it be sanctified, strengthened and the Life of God truly come forth.
To separate the joints means to “cut across the bones.” To divide the marrow from the joint means to “crack the bones” or to “break the bones.” There are only two things harder to divide than the joints and marrow, and that’s our soul and spirit.
Remember, the priests of Solomon’s Temple and how they cut, divided and separated the parts of the sacrifice upon the wood. The knives of the priests penetrated to the innermost parts of the sacrifice, by dividing the parts, as closely united as the joints and the marrow. And, this is exactly what God must do with us. God’s Word must divide the closely joined parts of our immaterial being (our soul) and penetrate even to the innermost parts of our spirit. Only the Word of God can do this. Only God’s Word can separate the self-centered things in our lives that are not even perceptible to our own senses. Only the Word can lay our soul open and bare before God.
The deeper God is allowed to go with His sword, the deeper the cross can do its work. He must be allowed to expose even our most private and secret thoughts and intentions. Again, our basic problem is impurity. God wants us to have a pure spirit, with no mingling of our soulish ways.
Once this occurs, our spirit will be free to direct our soul and it will no longer act independently of our spirit’s leading. Every thought, emotion and desire will be governed by the spirit’s control. At that point, God’s Spirit will be free to communicate directly with our spirit, show us His will and to lead us into intimacy. “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness….” (Psalm 63:5)
This cutting, cracking and breaking of our soul, however, requires our own willingness. We must come to the altar and we must present our bodies as a living sacrifice. He then does the cutting, the separating and the dividing. The deeper we allow the light of His Word—His Sword—to go, the more thoughts and intents of our heart will be exposed and the quicker our spirit can be sanctified.
The Word of God will reveal even our hidden purposes and motives. God wants our will to be His will; our thoughts and motives, His thoughts and motives; and our love, His Love. God’s Word will even penetrate to the atoms, if need be, in order to accomplish this.
God’s whole purpose is to refine us so that our spirit will not be influenced and affected by anything in our outward man or in our circumstances. He doesn’t want anything to be able to “move us” from the peace and joy of His presence—from oneness of spirit. He sanctifies our spirit and soul so that He might reproduce Himself in us and we might begin to experience His presence and His fulness, no matter where we are and no matter what is going on in our lives.
Thus, the dark night of the spirit is a time where God sets us apart (in His loving arms) to make us purified, holy and consecrated. This night of faith darkens us on the soulish level, but it sheds light to our spirit on another level. This night season becomes our own Calvary. Something we must always keep in mind, however, is that after Calvary there was the Resurrection!