Working among the dying, changes things. Working as a hospice nurse, easing the transition from life to death, I am developing a filter for my own life. What is really important? Will this matter when I am gone? How am I spending my precious hours of life?
As the oldest child of seven, I have always been introspective, even morose at times. Haha! Having six brothers and sisters under me made for some VERY morose (or should I say scary) times! My folks used to escape to my grandmother’s country cabin on weekends sometimes. I was 16 at the time, and was left in charge of all six siblings. If they were late coming home on Sunday afternoon, I remember thinking (with horror) “how will I care for these six kids?”
Fast forward to will-my-life-ever-slow-down adult life, I wonder, what is my soul? Where does my soul end and my spirit begin? I found a thought-provoking article this week that was so well-written, I thought I should share it. I was meditating on:
1 Thessalonians 5:23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Body, that’s easy. Seeing the shell that we know as our “body” after death, I see this very stark picture. Mouth agape, eyes blankly staring, limbs frozen in position, the body is nothing without a soul and spirit. Nothing. As I helped load one of my decedents onto a gurney last week, I was struck with the contrast. Nothing was left, except the housing for my patient’s soul. Her smile, her voice, the light in her eyes all gone. The only thing left was the “box” that had carried them.
“Dividing soul and spirit”, now that’s tougher. Soul is described as our mind, our will, our emotions. It controls where we go, what or who we respond to, and how we respond. I had an idea that our spirit is the part of us that lives eternally. Great, does that include our personalities, our feelings, whether we like cats or dogs? Jesus talked about our spirits…
John 3:5-6 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
John 4:23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.
Jesus is speaking to two different people in these passages. In one, he is chiding one of the leaders in the local synagogue for being a teacher, but not understanding spiritual concepts. In the other, he is gently explaining to the woman at the well, what God is looking for in a relationship with her.
So, this question I have been pondering for years, came up again this week. Wow! God in his Bible, says he will reward those who diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) I guess this was the week I was going to get closer to my answer to an understanding of soul and spirit. I will just quote a little of this article I have shared below. I think it will whet your appetite for more.
If you are soulish, you will preserve that which is earthly, and your honor and your heart will make plans as to what you should do with such a person and you will also seek the opinions of family and friends. Rather let God’s Word in to pierce and divide between what you are absorbing through your senses – especially through your feelings – and the wisdom that is from above, which you absorb through your spirit. Live by faith and not according to your human reasoning; then you will enter into rest.