Body, soul, and spirit; or is it spirit, soul and body? Does it make a difference?
Whenever in conversation and the subject comes up I have always heard these three grouped together as body, soul and spirit.
The human race is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27; 9:6) and having a body, soul and spirit is precisely what that means. Because that is how the being of God is made up – God the Father is the soul, God the Son is the body, and the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of God.
From our perspective, it is body, soul, and spirit because we do just about everything with the body. All the information we process, in or out, goes through our five senses – our body. We perceive the universe around us by way of our body. That is why we will name our body first when listing our three parts, body, soul, and spirit.
What are these three parts? What are their rolls in the grand make up of things?
The body is simply that, it is our flesh and bones. It contains the five senses, sight, hearing, feeling (touch), smell, and taste. We learn about and grow in the world around us through our body.
Our soul is our personality. What we like, what we don’t like, whether or not we have a quick temper or have a calm demeanor; selfish or benevolent; a person that always sees the light at the end of the tunnel or an individual who knows the tunnel will collapse on them. These examples and a thousand others are examples of your soul. A person’s soul makes up who they are.
Our spirit is the part of us that deals with God and spiritual things. Our spirit is what is asking those difficult questions. Is there a God? Why am I here? Is this just it, or do I go someplace after I die? Is there any meaning to life?
These are all questions that come from a person’s spirit. God will deal directly with a person’s spirit.
As I mentioned, we refer to the parts of man as body, soul, and spirit, but the Bible only lists them as spirit, soul, and body. 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We say, “body, soul, and spirit.” God says, “spirit, soul, and body.” It might seem like a little thing, but I think the reason God places the order in the opposite order than we do is that we think in the opposite way than what God thinks.
Upon salvation, God sends the Holy Spirit to dwell inside of us (Romans 8:9). Since God deals with our spirit, that is where the Holy Spirit lives. The Holy Spirit brings with Him, His fruit – love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
The Holy Spirit is the seed, our spirit is the soil, and the fruit is intended to grow.
As the love (the first fruit on the list) grows from our spirit, we will see changes in our soul. We will notice the love God has for us and the love we have for others. Our love for our spouse, our children, other members of the family, those at work, and strangers begins to grow. Because of the Holy Spirit in our soul, the fruit of the Spirit will grow from our spirit into our soul. We become more loving in our spirit and from there love should be flowing (John 7:37-39) from our bodies. The fruit of love will manifest itself in works of love.
Joy will grow the same way, as will all the fruits of the Spirit.
Just as there are outside influences, (weather, types of fertilizer and so on) that will affect the result of a harvest, there are forces that will determine the quality of the spiritual fruit that will flow from you.
Individual actions can grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30-32) and not doing certain things can quench the work of the Holy Ghost (1 Thessalonians 5:14-23).
As a Christian how well is the fruit growing from your spirit to your soul to your body and outward to others?