Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV
If Watchman Nee* is right, and 1 Thessalonians 5:23 is a key version that reveals the nature of man as a three part being; spirit, soul, and body, and if his book, The Spiritual Man, correctly scans the use of the words spirit and soul throughout the Bible, then our soul is our mind, our will, and our emotions and the functions for our spirit are conscience, intuition and communion with God.
Nee points out that we were created to draw truth and life from God through our spirit, to have our soul and body led, nurtured, and directed by that life. Sadly at the fall, that life source was abandoned, we instead chose to draw on our “soulish” life source; to grow, develop, and live out of our souls. Is it no wonder that, even once we found our spirits regenerated at salvation by union with the Holy Spirit, we still too often followed the old patterns found in our souls? Far too often our untamed, selfish, and deceptive souls, quenched our spirit’s rightful function of sourcing the very life of God to us.
And we find ourselves leading from the flesh rather than the spirit.
As I have experienced and pondered this dilemma over the years, I have appreciated more the wisdom found in Hebrews 4:12 and was led to write my prayer in the following poem…
*Watchman Nee was one of the most influential Chinese Christian Leaders in the twentieth century. Preacher, teacher, author, and founder of the indigenous local church movement in China, he was so influential that he spent the last twenty years of his life in a communist prison camp, which eventually expanded his impact. Over fifty Christian books are attributed to him.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit….
(Hebrews 4:12 NKJV)
Sever swift, oh sword of God.
Render true this binding blend,
break my murky, mixing sod,
tyranny of soul to end.
Woken, stillborn-slumber done.
Quickened, inner coma flown.
Finished, ancient battle won.
Spirit, please, now, take the throne.
Every day I’ll give the lead,
Spirit, then my soul is free,
takes his place like mighty steed,
servant to the rider be.
Sear me sure with light and voice,
open me to make the choice.
Divide, is the one of the poems in Kirk Manton’s first book, The Grace of Rain.