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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Divided we fall, united we stand strong

The word of God, you see, is alive and moving; sharper than a double-edged sword; piercing the divide between soul and spirit, joints and marrow; able to judge the thoughts and will of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 VOICE)
Some might say the human spirit is kind of "intangible" - because they really cannot hold it in their hands or see it as plainly as they see a box of saltines on the shelf. I daresay we have "seen" and "held" it more than we might have imagined - in the tiny hand of a newborn reaching out for hold in a strange new world; in the tortured agony of having to go another 15-steps to the finish line; or in the excited gleam in the eye of the one who has just heard those tender words "I love you" uttered with profound adoration. The human spirit is perhaps not "tangible" in the same sense as the box of crackers - but it is evident in all of life. Without it, we are definitely "lifeless" and "unmoved". The human spirit is what gives us animation and helps us to "motor on" when all else seems to be discouraging us from going any further. It is also the human spirit that yearns for relationship with the Eternal One - because it is there where he was designed to dwell and without him there, the human spirit is devoid of something it desperately needs in order to be complete.
We probably understand the soul a little better than the human spirit because we can see a whole lot of the things a man does or says as emanating from soulish desire and passion. For example, when a child wants spaghetti for supper and a parent offers peas, corn, and ham instead, the child might be observed throwing what we have termed a "temper tantrum". There is this outward refusal to eat what is perfectly good which is right in front of them because the child is determined to have spaghetti instead. There is willful rebellion exhibited in the "refusal to eat". The head shaking, pushing away of the undesirable meal, and even the tears shed in mocked agony over not having one's own way is quite evident to the parent. In short order, the parent's soulish side may exhibit such behavior as the all too familiar "eat it or go to bed hungry" speech backed by the parent ignoring all the pleas of the temperamental child. Behavior can be hard to distinguish as that which manifests from the spirit and that which is more "soulish" in nature, though. I believe this is why God gives us a standard by which we can divide soul from spirit - see where the two collide in "perfect cohesiveness" and where they might just stand in determined opposition to each other.
The Word of God is used as the instrument by which we can begin to separate the willful and defiant, determined and destructive, or selfish and self-controlling from that which more closely resembles the Spirit of God within us. Yes, we have human spirit - but when that human spirit becomes ignited by God's Spirit within us, there is a purposefulness to our passion which aligns with his plan for our lives. The passion was there all the time - maybe just a little confused about how it was to be put to use, or what purpose it serves in motivating us into certain action in our lives. God's Spirit is able to show us where motivation has gone a bit off-course, but is also there to guide us into movement which is going to benefit even those around us. All that innervates a man's movement and action affects those around him. There is no escaping that one person's actions affect more than himself - it is like the subtle fall of a domino in a row of other dominoes. One topples and those around it are at least "shaken" by the fall, if not toppled themselves.
We may not see the difference between soul and spirit because they are so tightly interwoven within us, but God is able to divide right from wrong, good from bad, selfish from loving, begrudging from sacrificial, etc. His Word is only one instrument he uses to divide one from the other, exposing what needs to be more cohesive within us and removing that which affects that cohesive bond between his Spirit in us and our spirit/soul binding solidly to him. Just sayin!