Spirit and Soul – so what’s the big difference?

To most people, there isn’t much of a difference between spirit and soul. Both are inside us and refer to parts of us that other words just don’t reach, the nebulous internal worlds of consciousness and well being inside us. Right?
The Bible separates spirit from soul.
The word of God, dividing spirit from soul…did you ever think that means there is a difference between spirit and soul?
It might take you some time with an online bible search these days, but it’s a difference well worth investigating if you haven’t ever thought about it. The Bible uses the two words in completely different ways. So should you.
Your soul is your mind, your will and your emotions
Put simply, your soul life is what you have in common with the animals. It’s what you use to communicate with your pet dog or a horse in pain. Some of us are better at having a strong will, some of us have strong emotions and some of us have great rational minds which drive our lives. Some of us even have all three areas going for us. We all know strong willed Christians who won’t back down. We know strong minded theologians who are always right. We’ve come across the emotional Christians as well, who run their faith by how they are feeling, both in the ups and the downs.
Do these soul-led Christians have it right?
No. The Bible says that we need to die to self (this is your soul life, dying), to be born again (when you get a new spirit) and we need to live by this spirit. Not by the soul life. Your new spirit is so close to God’s spirit in you that it’s sometimes difficult to tell which one Paul meant in his letters when he talks about the spirit in you. Soul led Christians are ministering in their natural gifts, not by the power of the spirit.
Has God got an answer?
In every area God wants to use you, you have to die. I mean, your own soul life has to die. In place of your will, you surrender and accept His will. You follow Jesus in experience through Gethsemane. In place of your mind and reasoning, you have your mind renewed and washed in His word. We have the mind of Christ, but so few Christians use it to work things out or to see what is going on, because we’re so busy justifying ourselves and too busy to rest at His feet and listen to Him. And His emotions? Well, love, joy, peace spring to mind…but also we share in His sorrows as we see the world from His perspective.
The good news is God has got an answer
I felt like a big mess inside when I became a Christian. One thing that really mattered to me was finding the power to actually live my life differently. God does have the answers and there is real good news for you, if you are controlled by the sinful soul nature, because you can really be set free as you follow Christ and live by His Holy Spirit. Die to your soul in every area and let Him live through you by His Spirit.
Work in Progress
It’s a work in progress for all of us, but I see it as the Holy Spirit deep inside me, united with my spirit and providing for me like a well of water I can draw on in prayer or worship. Then if I lay down my own soul life in a particular area, then that lets the well flow out through my soul in that area and into my body, enabling me to live out the blessing and minister that blessing to others as He leads. The well of John 4 has become the river of John 7, flowing out through my obedience to Him in laying down my life for Him.
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One thought on “Spirit and Soul – so what’s the big difference?

  1. Actually, in the terms you are speaking of, “Spirit and Soul” are not different. We are spiritual beings and our souls are that spiritual being as opposed to our physical body. I think people are getting confused with passages like Hebrews 4:12. There, the Word of God divides “soul and spirit, joints and marrow” is to mean that it has the power to do anything. People are confusing soul and spirit here to refer to the same person when actually it refers to us as beings (soul) and everything else that is spiritual (spirit). When Paul talks about following the wrong things, he speaks of following our sinful nature which is our soul or spiritual self combined with our physical self. Following the Holy Spirit or living by the Spirit is not simply listening to God. It also includes the principles needed to get God’s interpretation of things, like spiritual guidance, so that no errors come through. No one can live by the Spirit simply by interpreting for themselves whatever God may give. You also cannot live by the Spirit without being reborn again with God’s Spirit. That happens when someone confesses their belief in Jesus to another person and gets eternal salvation. This rebirth brings God’s Holy Spirit to indwell with your spirit or soul. This can all be confusing, but I talk a lot about the rebirth and following God’s Spirit in this documentary video. Walking In Righteousness, http://3rdcompass.com/core/network?c=jrnl&obj=5046731480754762728

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