For the new year, Andy and I committed to read daily devotions from our iPad’s YouVersion Bible app. After, we cover the chapter associated with that verse and spend a few minutes sharing our thoughts.
The other day’s verse came from Hebrews 4:12 (NLT):
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
Andy asked what stood out to me.
“I’m embarrassed to say this, but the cutting between the soul and spirit—I mean, aren’t the spirit and the soul the same?” I asked.
I needed to know, so I grabbed my Life Application Study Bible, and thumbed to Hebrews 4. In the back of my mind, I wondered how knowing the difference between spirit and soul could make a difference in me.
Our spirit, the core of our being, allows us to connect with God and receive Him. The spirit is our deepest part, where God dwells in us. When we worship, pray and read His Word, our spirit grows as our relationship with God grows.
Our soul is who we are—our emotion, mind and will. It runs our life. If our spirit is well connected to God, it is able to relate with our soul, thereby guiding us with wisdom.
Surrounding the spirit and soul is our body, which allows us to respond to the functions of our spirit and soul while interacting with the physical world.
Learning that one verse opened my eyes and cut between my spirit and soul.
It became clear to me that the spirit is used to communicate with God; the soul enables us to express what we have learned though the interaction; and our body acts out what the spirit and soul know.
Today as I folded bath towels and face cloths, I tried to grasp a personal application of Hebrews 4:12—some moment that would weave this passage into the fabric of my being. I wanted that verse to be personally realized, experienced, and internalized. Nothing came to me at that moment, though I continued thinking about it throughout the day.
In the evening, as Andy and I snacked on nachos hot from the oven, I asked if he recalled a time in his life when he felt a separation of the spirit and soul.
He said he needed more time to think about it. Then he dipped a tortilla in guacamole and said, “Remember the morning when you prayed upstairs?”
We were facing layers of trials. We felt like we couldn’t shed one burden before another covered us: my mom’s cancer, Andy’s newly diagnosed heart condition, the two properties that wouldn’t sell in a stalled housing market, and my reduced work hours. To top it off, it was one of the coldest, iciest winters remembered, and we were heating and plowing three properties. The heft kept us humble as we hung tight to our God. Click To Tweet
Before leaving for work that morning, I felt called to go to our upstairs sitting room to be alone in prayer while Andy shaved in the downstairs master bathroom. I kneeled on the floor, my body curled into the couch.
The exact words I prayed are lost to my memory, but I’ll always remember what happened next. I asked God what I should do.
I pleaded for a sign, any sign.
Then I waited.
My body slackened into the sofa before I straightened up and gazed at the cathedral ceiling. That’s when I felt something cutting—God’s presence pierced through the stillness of that dark winter morning to deliver an unquestionable reassurance.
In that moment, my spirit heard His response: “Keep doing what you’re doing.”
Keep doing what I’m doing?
That’s it? I thought, disappointed. Couldn’t there be something else? Something more?
I knew what this meant. I had been attending church, reading the Bible and was recently baptized. My faith was growing stronger by the day. As God entered my spirit—the deepest part of me—He asked that I hold on.
At that moment, I was sure God was a living God, as Hebrews 4:12 tells us. He speaks yesterday, this morning, and forever.
God’s living voice filled my eyes with tears of hope.
Even though I didn’t receive the exact answer I wanted or expected, the Lord gave me the evidence I needed. Then He encouraged me to stay the course with Him.
I now realize that in the cutting between my soul and spirit, God makes room for a mingling, and fills the space with a wisdom and wholeness.God makes room for a mingling, and fills the space with a wisdom and wholeness. Click To Tweet
Source of spirit, soul, body diagram: holdingtotruth.com