Separation of Spirit and Soul
by Mark Heatherly
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Separation of spirit and soul
Separation of the spirit and soul is an absolute must for a walk in the spirit. Because our feet are in contact with the world in walking, it is vital that we walk as a dual person both spirit and soul or else we may walk only as one or the other. Our natural tendency, of course is walking in the soul by which we are fully engaged in the senses of the body in contact with the physical environment and the soul’s engagement with the psychological environment. Without this crucial separation, we may only and simply walk as a mere man as soon as we walk away from prayer, meditation, worship and true fellowship.
In these we may well be in spirit but the instant we stop our spirit becomes encased with our soul. As soon as the soul is put in contact with his natural environment, the spirit is closed and shut up. For most it then becomes an exercise in trying to remember to call on the Lord as often as possible through out the day in the midst of our suffocating circumstances and activities. This is entirely the wrong way for a believer to live upon the earth. The soul, is separated from the life (umbilical chord) of God and as such it is said to be a walk in dead works and full of darkness. Only the spirit is connected to the eternal life of God so that we may walk in newness of life, in the light so as to see not only where we are going but what is around us that could cause one to stumble. We must be those who glory only in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.
It is nearly impossible to define in a clear and precise way how the division of spirit and soul is achieved much less what are the exact mechanisms and synergistic functions thereof. God in His infinite wisdom has determined that we know not of such things in too much detail. It is obvious that He does not wish for such deep truths to be “common knowledge” but rather for them to be shrouded in mystery so that only those who have a strong and intense desire for the way and the truth and the life in Christ Jesus, may seek after it so as to find it.
The truth be told, that even if one were to explain these in much detail, either the god of this world would blind the minds or else one’s own polluted heart would prevent him from coming into the reality thereof for his actual experience. That being said, it is crucial therefore that we set ourselves up for success by purifying our hearts and souls in a “whole hearted” seeking of the truth and the perfect will of God to facilitate the successful transition of our journey from a walk in the flesh (or soul life) to that of the spirit.
Along this course, we must facilitate the operation of the living word into our hearts and souls for it’s complete work. It is a very difficult, comprehensive and time consuming work that would require volumes to detail but basically , it is a work which facilitates this crucial transition by purging, refining, renewing, regulating, subjugating, purifying, and reconstituting our entire being. The willingness of dying to self and subjugating our soul allows for the crucial separation or our spirit from our soul. Without the soul’s complete subjugation, we can never experience this separation, and without this separation we can never walk as a dual person in both spirit and soul. We may experience brief moments of this perhaps in ministering, worship, praying and etc. but they end the moment we move away from these.
Every single day we are provided with numerous opportunities to take up our cross and suffer the loss of the soul life so that the more we obey and facilitate this the sooner this separation will be realized. Unfortunately, modern Christendom teaches us quite the opposite in praying that we may escape these very sufferings through our trials and tribulations and have our ease via the temporal circumstances of the world. We cannot simply pray and/or confess that we are crucified with Christ, we must allow for the working out of that practical and subjective crucifixion via the loss of self in our trying circumstances. These make the objective truth our subjective reality…and thus, the truth shall set you free !
If a person, for example has the world’s goods and sees a brother in need, he may think well of himself by saying “be warmed and be filled and go your way in peace” (or in modern vernacular, “I love you and I’ll pray for you. See ya later”). The word of truth says how can such a one have the love of God in his heart so as to speak the words and yet do nothing to help ? Such a one may be a “well wisher” but certainly not a “do gooder”. The former is dead works expressed via the soulish man of flesh while the later is the precious fruit of righteousness lived, empowered and expressed via the spirit.
In this example, if a man is walking as a dual person, his soul has been crucified, purified and thus properly regulated and calibrated to the good and perfect will of the Father. This one will sincerely love the brother and will rejoice in the blessed opportunity to help a brother in need. Not only this, but he himself will feel the more blessed to be giving than what the other brother experiences in the receiving. Why ? Because in the walk in spirit in the truth, it is more blessed to give than to receive. This, however is not the reality (truth) for the person who walks merely in the selfish soul state of being. Such a one as this considers giving to another to be a painful loss on his part. It is with difficulty that he gives something of himself. Some may do so, however as an act of practicing religion, knowing that it is a thing a person is “supposed” to do, yet they do not experience the true joy of giving, expecting nothing in return because their heart is not right. Because their heart is not right, they remain a single person. Because of this, they walk as a mere man and not a spiritual man emanating the light and life of the living God.
To experience the dual walk of a spiritual man, one must allow the suffering of the loss of self via these types of experiences. These kind of experiences actually effect the transition ! If we have a situation, for example in which someone offends or harms us and yet we turn to the Lord so as to negate our selfish soul’s “right” to be mad or angry, much less to exact some form of vengeance or retribution, we are thus making our objective crucifixion in Christ our subjective reality. We cannot cause or effect this precious work directly for this is in the hands of the Father who alone causes the growth. Our part is only and always a matter of facilitating His precious work in us.
When once we begin to truly walk in spirit we find that in our experience, it is as if our spirit walks side by side with our soul in a sense. It is as if while our soul engages itself in our daily contact with the activities in the world, the spirit is right there and while experiencing the very same environment it is as if it is somewhat detached. While the soul is immersed in and experiencing it’s environment, the spirit is like a by stander as if the circumstances do not touch or effect him at all. The spirit can even be mindful of and “see” things at the same time that the soul simply cannot see or know. This is because the spirit is not alone but abides in the Lord who sees and knows all things (light). Being entirely subjugated and relegated to the spirit, the soul will always be sensitive to the leadings and inclinations of the Lord in their spirit. This is a true walk in the spirit. Only then can one truly be called a spiritual man (or mature, or strong in spirit, or full of the Spirit). This is the very way of Christ and the way in which Paul walked even saying to follow after the pattern which others saw in him.
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