We are triune beings. We have a body, possess a soul and are a spirit. It’s important that we’re clear on the differences between these three distinct parts that make up a person. A lack of understanding of these differences can cause us to approach the battles in our everyday lives from the wrong perspective.
The Bible is very clear that there's a distinction between your spirit and your soul. And many Christians confuse the two and see them as a single unit. We see the reason they get mixed together in the book of Hebrews when the author writes, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 ESV).
First, we have a spirit. The Bible describes our spirit as dead before we invite Jesus into our lives. But our spirit is activated when Jesus saves us. Our spirit gives us God-awareness; it gives us the ability to be in tune with him and his will.
We also have a physical body; this is our flesh. Our bodies give us world-awareness. Our bodies are not immediately made sinless when we accept Jesus, but we will one day receive a new glorified body.
Then we have our souls. The soul consists of our mind, will and emotions. In other words, my soul influences the way I think, the way I feel and the way I make choices. When we come to Christ, our souls begin the process of being sanctified. Our souls give us self-awareness.
Just like how our joints and marrow in our physical bodies work together, our soul and spirit work in tandem. But we can’t really be who God wants us to be if we are only focusing on our spirits and neglecting our souls. Our spirits are saved in an instant, but our souls need work.
It’s the state of our souls that impact our everyday lives. In other words, the way we think, the way we feel and the choices we make are determining factors in whether we win or lose in our everyday battles.
The Bible shows us how we can start working on our soul in the book of Romans: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:2). Apostle Paul tells us not to simply be informed, but transformed. This word comes from the same Greek word that gives us the term “metamorphosis.”
Scripture is telling us that when we get saved, we begin a process of transformation into something new. We leave our old nature behind, but the process of leaving is a journey our soul takes. It takes place as we continually renew our minds in the Word of God.
My thoughts, feelings and choices have not arrived, but they are on their way. When we are aware of this soul transformation, we can be intentional about moving forward in the process by renewing our minds. And as we renew our minds, we are “able to test and approve what God’s will—his good, pleasing and perfect will” —is for our lives (Romans 12:2).
Church culture today does a great job of promoting God-awareness. They love him and desire to serve him. But they haven’t let God guide their souls. Many of us don’t have a spirit problem, we have a soul problem. Receiving prayer will not heal your soul.
I want to challenge you—don’t waste your life underestimating your soul. It’s about maturing and becoming a responsible man or woman of God. Despite the battles we face, our everyday lives can be full of love, joy, peace and freedom. But we must allow God to work on the metamorphosis of our souls in order to receive those holy gifts.
We can start by asking ourselves, “Am I loving God with all of my heart, mind and strength? Am I fully surrendered to him?” It’s through true surrender that God can begin to transform our souls and equip us to win the everyday battles in our lives.
Marcus Mecum is founder and senior pastor of 7 Hills Church. He has led 7 Hills in following Christ and loving their community for over 15 years. Pastor Marcus’ prayer is to see the body of Christ truly living out its call to be the hands and feet of Jesus to one another and the world around them. Hear from Pastor Marcus every day in your inbox with Daily Bread with PM, a short devotional with resources to help you grow in your faith.