I remember as a fairly young believer wanting to do some writing on Walking in the Spirit. I quickly realized two things. One, I didn’t really have much to offer as I would be speaking from theory rather than experience. Two, even though I did not articulate it this way at the time, I realized that it was a twofold process involving engagement with the Holy Spirit and the engagement of our spirit. Over the years I think I have learned a few things and will share them here.
The New Testament presents us as spirit, soul and body (1 Thess. 5:23, Heb. 4:12). The idea of man as a duality comes from Greek philosophy, primarily Plato. A study of church history establishes that, which is not my focus at this point. I want to focus on what we see in scripture regarding our spirit as Christians. First, we have a comment made by James referring to all people in all times and places.
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:26 (NKJV)
This may seem like a passing comment but Jesus reinforced it.
63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63 (NKJV)
We then have Paul describing what happened at our conversion as us becoming a new creation.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
Our spirit is reborn at conversion and we receive Jesus nature in our spirit.
22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 1 Peter 1:22–23 (NKJV)
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. John 3:5 (NKJV)
9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. 1 John 3:9 (NKJV)
The scriptures place significance on what took place at conversion. We don’t receive a spirit, because as James noted, we already had one and we can see in scripture the importance of our spirit. In scripture we see this even in people who were not born again but were committed to the Lord, Isaiah and Mary being great examples.
9 With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Isaiah 26:9 (NKJV)
46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Luke 1:46–47 (NKJV)
Isaiah and Mary both differentiated experiencing something in their spirit and soul. Isiah desired the Lord so sought Him with his spirit. Mary experienced something in her spirit and expressed it with her soul.
In future posts I will deal further with how we practically walk in the Spirit engaging our spirit.