Understanding Soul and Spirit – Major Key
Part One: A Concise Summary
By Fred Pruitt
(Understanding this issue is a major key in knowing “how” we work, and “why” we experience the ups and downs of life in the “soul.” It is the key to understanding intercession as well as our consciousness of walking in the Spirit. This is a short summary of the subject, followed in the next article with a more detailed look at these things.)
Taken from a letter to a friend:
Yes, we do “discern” soul and body from spirit. It struck me in considering what you said, how the Bible in a sense gives us the “parts,” and then it’s up to the Spirit in us to make it a “whole.” When we first were taught soul/spirit discernment, it was as we were in shop class learning how the parts of an automobile go together, what does what, and how. But like an automobile doesn’t run on pistons alone, or with just a carburetor or a transmission, but all the whole machine working together as one whole with each part doing its bit, in the same way our human selves operate. The “soul” doesn’t go off and do one thing, the body another and the spirit something else.
We are one human person, in this life a makeup of spirit, soul and body, each doing its part as one whole. For educational purposes we dissect the “parts” — i.e. the soul is the seat of the emotions, feelings, intellect, the human psychological makeup; the “spirit” the most inner part, the place of God in us, where we are will, inner knowing, and inner desire or love.
Those are the “parts” which, working together, are the whole working. We do spend time studying the “parts.” There is a learning time and we have to practice a bit with it – “Oh yeah, this is just soul, oh, yes, this is spirit.” Of course that’s a right process. But there comes a day when we don’t think about that anymore. We just are. We just “BE”!
But the point to remember is that my soul is no “better” than it was before, though for some that is not an acceptable answer. They think the soul is some wild untamed animal that is left somehow outside of God and must be tamed and reigned in. So perhaps we can accept oneness in the spirit in some sort of nebulous “over yonder” kind of way, but with our human psychical makeup still being this wild separate beast that is capable of running amuck any moment we let our guard down. And thus having only a “definition” of soul and spirit in their separate “workings” without knowing, as you said in your question, that they are “one” in the I AM, leaves us still separated beings, with one part opposing the other, in our consciousness, which is madness – insanity!
Any “teaching” therefore that wants to make our spirits perfect, but with much “work” left to be done in the soul realm is just more denial of God and His totality and is really pride of self cloaked as humility. To be “humble” before God is to accept His completeness, His totality, in the midst of our human weakness and condition, just as we are, today, right now. To look for “improvement” or “becoming more spiritual” one day (or any other like phrase or meaning) is simply to deny the Living God in the now, who is NOW whole and complete in us. Certainly God winks at that ignorance in us, and therefore He sees no sin in us, and as HE wills He reveals more of the total to us. But He would have us “come up higher.”
He makes us WHOLE — new creations! In the new creation the “soul and body” are just as much “living and moving and having their being in God” as all the rest of the universe, and just as much serve Him in newness and resurrection as we do in Spirit. As it says in Romans 6, our human selves are now “instruments” of righteousness — in other words, “tools” to use for the Spirit’s purposes.
They are twofold — our window on the world which goes both ways. Soul and body are where we are touched with the infirmities, tensions and weakness of this world, as well as portals of its pleasures and joys. And they are also the expression of the Spirit TO the world. In other words, soul and body are the world coming TO us, to get our attention, to get us into inner faith, and then also soul and body are US going OUT to the world. In each case they are the servants of the Spirit of who I AM. I speak of them as if they are separate “parts” of me, but they are really just “me.” I AM my soul and body as much as I AM my spirit. This is where the Spirit makes the parts into a whole for us.