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Saturday, December 27, 2014

The spirit of man

The spirit of man - stop for a moment to consider all that is inherent in the spirit of man. Scripture points to man being a tri-part being:  Body, Soul, and Spirit.  Body we understand for it is what we see and feel each and every day.  Soul we get because we can think rational though and learn concepts such as arithmetic or steps in a process - understanding that soul consists of the mind, will and emotions.  Spirit we don't so easily comprehend because it is not as "systematic" as our  minds or as "evident" as bodies.  It is this spirit part of man which allows man to commune with God and experience the things God has in store for us.  It is this spirit which many will say will either make or break a man. It is this spirit part where man differs from animals - for it is the place God's Spirit and a man's spirit become one.  We can trace this three-part make-up of man back to the creation story in Genesis.  I think the most important difference we can make about the spirit which might just help us to understand this part of our tri-part make-up is this being the part of a man which lives on for all of eternity.  Body will perish - getting older by the minute, decreasing in capacity and strength.  Soul will eventually no longer function in the same way as the aging process occurs - clear thought fades, will might remain in tact, but we just don't connect with things with the same emotion we once had.  The only thing which remains "true" throughout the ages is this part of us known as the "spirit" - the connection point where we are brought near to God and he draws near to us throughout all of eternity.

The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain or trouble, but a weak and broken spirit who can raise up or bear? (Proverbs 18:14 AMP)

Spirit and soul are pretty closely connected - so this is probably why we have so much trouble separating the two.  It is the spirit which animates us, but it is the soul which helps us to take in, experience fully, and emotionally connect with what it is our spirit encounters. Maybe this is why scripture gives us this warning about the difference between a strong spirit and a weak or broken one.  The "strength" of our spirit is directly connected to how well we will emotionally "maintain" and "process" as we go through difficult stuff.  It is the spirit of man which animates us.  The spirit actually drives our emotions.  When things are as they should be within our spirit, with a solid connection to our heavenly Father, we find our "emotional balance" is much better than when we have stepped away from this deep, intimate connection with him.  Emotions get a little harried when we allow our spirit to "disconnect" for a while from the closeness we might once have maintained with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Since soul and spirit are so closely connected and can kind of get us jumbled up at times, we will do well to understand their relationship they form as we live out our lives.  Spirit drives emotions - emotions don't drive the spirit.  This might just seem a little counter-intuitive, but hear me out.  Spirit rightly connected to Christ brings about an emotional stability, allowing for rational choice, wisdom displayed in right actions, and balanced reactions to what life brings our way.  Spirit disconnected (even temporarily through neglect or just plain laziness) brings about an array of emotional instability affording us plenty of irrational choices, wrong thought patterns manifest in really negative actions, and a pretty "reactionary" response to life's hurdles.

The "health" of our spirit is important if we are to have good "balance" in our lives.  We need to maintain strong connection with the Spirit of God if we are to have a solid handle on our soul life.  The spirit of man is what some might refer to as a man's "personality" or "temperament", but really it is the sum total of what we realize as the driving force for all we do and say.  When our spirit is rightly connected with God's, we find our "doing" and "saying" a lot more rational, right on, and less volatile.  When our spirit is independent of God's Spirit, we find ourselves reacting to life in some often irrational and frequently changing ways.  Our responses become "situational" - based on the circumstances, we respond one way this time, another the next - because there is no anchor or balance.

Anchor is created in the spirit of man - through connection with God's Spirit.  I often speak about the significance of connection, but let me leave you with this one illustration to ponder today.  A boat is made up of raw materials such as wood and pitch.  There has been a "crafter" of the boat - one who has fashioned it and given it form.  The boat serves a purpose, floating atop the water and allowing object to be placed within it's frame, securely out of reach of the waters around it.  The boat is actually adrift on the water, subject to the currents and winds unless there is someone controlling the direction it takes.  There are two things any good boat needs - a rudder and an anchor.  The rudder helps to give the boat direction - the anchor helps to keep the boat "moored" in place where it will always be available for the use of the one who created it.  We are each "boats" of sorts - created by the hand of God.  We were each fashioned for a purpose - we each need both a rudder and an anchor.  The Spirit of God connects with the spirit of man to be both our "rudder" and our "anchor".  Without this connection, we are adrift in a sea of emotional "current" and "wind".  We will drift aimlessly, getting from shore to shore, but without any real purpose.  Just sayin!