A human being: body, soul and spirit
Each person has a body, a soul and a spirit. That is how God created each one of us:
“And the Lord God made man from the dust of the earth, breathing into him the breath of life: and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7 (BBE). In another Bible translation it is written as “the spirit of life”.
Our body was formed of the dust of the earth, and our body is kept alive by the things that grow up from the earth. With our body we are in contact with all the physical things that have been created.
In the beginning God breathed the spirit of life into man. With our spirit we are in contact with God. Man didn’t become a living person with a soul until God breathed the spirit of life into his body. The soul is our life – the result of the body and spirit that became one. With our soul we are in contact with people.
Separated from God
God wanted to lead us by our spirit; but then the fall came, and we were separated from Him. Man began to live according to the lusts and desires in his body. (Genesis 3:6.) Instead of the body being led by the spirit in the service of God, the body started to lead instead. And the spirit in man became a slave to the sinful lusts and desires in the human nature, which led to separation from God.
The result of the fall is all the corruption and evil we see in the world. The corruption is in the world because of man’s evil desires. (2 Peter 1:4.)
Because the body took over the leadership, we became earthly by nature – and not spiritual. Our soul – which is influenced by our physical senses, by what we see and hear – is mostly interested in the visible things. As a result, our lives become focused on the things that have been created, and we naturally look up to the things that are great in this world.
The truth is that we are restless when it is like this, and we suffer under the emptiness of this world, for our spirit can never be content or satisfied by the things that have been created. We don’t naturally understand this because of the darkness which we are in, and as a result we look for distractions and enjoyment that only make the emptiness greater. One could say that we get a taste of hell in our soul.
But God has not just left us in this state! He has given us a way back to Him. “Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell [live] in us; but He gives even more grace.’” James 4:5 (NIV).
Getting a sense for spiritual things
It is possible, through the light of the gospel, to be converted and turn to God. Instead of loving our lusts and desires, we can take up our cross daily and say no to ourselves, as Jesus says in Luke 9:23. By saying no to the sinful desires in our nature, our spirit is freed from the sin in our human nature, and we get fellowship with God. And then, as we start to feed ourselves with God’s Word and prayer, we receive strength to discipline our body and bring it under control. (1 Corinthians 9:27.)
As a result, we become spiritual and our life – our soul – will be in the heavenly places. We will start to get a sense for the invisible things, which are eternal. We come out of that restless state of emptiness and start to get hold of eternal treasures that give our spirit rest. We get a foretaste of heaven in our soul! The final purpose of our faith is that our soul will be completely free from this horrible emptiness. (1 Peter 1:3-4,9.)
A task to fulfil
Jesus has taught us to pray: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 (GW). Jesus fulfilled this prayer when He was here on earth. He also said when He came into the world, “You prepared a body for me … Look, I've come to do your will, God.” Hebrews 10:5-7 (CEB).
We also have a task to fulfil here on earth. We have also received a body. If our body does not control us (with the result that we live according to our sinful lusts and desires), but is given as a sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1), then we spread God’s kingdom. We receive God’s will through our spirit, and we carry it out with our body. The result of this work that takes place between our spirit and our body is a heavenly life, a soul that has become free from the earthly things.
Death shall have no power
Jesus says: “Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles [the ungodly] seek … But seek first the kingdom of God … and all these things shall be added [given] to you.” Matthew 6:32-33. (Luke 12:27-31.)
Those who are ungodly seek what the body needs. That is the thing they are most worried about. The animals do the same. But we must be different. We must seek what our spirit needs. We must seek God’s kingdom first! If we do this, then God will look after our body and at the same time, we are saved from all the worries that the world suffers under.
Only through this salvation can the God of peace make us completely holy, so that our spirit, soul, and body can be perfectly ready at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23.)