November 26, 2023 | Duane Roberts
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“May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”—1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NIV)
As we continue to build on the idea of finding freedom from the Tree of Life, we need to understand two key truths from the Word of God about ourselves. The first truth is seen in the proceeding passage in Paul’s first letter to the Church of Thessalonica. In conclusion, he prays their whole “spirit, soul and body” would be kept blameless until Christ comes.
Notice what Paul tells us here: We have three separate and distinct components to our being—a spirit, a soul, and a body. The “true you” has all three of these, and each one serves a different role in God’s purpose for our lives.
Our body is the earthly vessel God gives us to exists in and relate to the material world we’ve been born into (Genesis 2:7). Because our body is the most visible of the three parts of our being, we can tend to think we are what our bodies are. However, our soul is much more defining of who we truly are. Though invisible, our soul is where our mind, will, and emotions reside. It’s also the source of our personality, which makes us unique and distinct from anyone else. And our spirit is also a part of us that can’t be physically seen, but it’s undeniably real and important as the part of us that’s connected to and interacts with God (1 Corinthians 2:14).
The second truth is this: There’s a divinely determined order for us to live by. God doesn’t tell us to just juggle these three balls and hope for the best. Rather, He’s very clear that our lives must be led by our spirit. The part of us that’s connected to Him must be the engine that drives the rest of us (1 Corinthians 6:19).
For example, our soul is where we formulate our decisions. We all know what a bad decision is and how it can do a lot of damage to our lives. But what happens if our choices are being directed and influenced by God as we cultivate our connection with Him spiritually? Our decisions are better and our whole lives, including our bodies, will be better off (Galatians 5:16).
When we live in this order, with the spirit leading the soul and the soul leading the body, we align with God’s will for our lives. But if we reverse this order, if we’re led by our bodily desires and appetites, our soul and spirit will inevitably suffer (Galatians 5:19–21). Our lives will eventually crumble and fall apart because we’re basing them on a faulty foundation.
Those who sense a need for spiritual freedom have simply strayed from the spiritual order that God has prescribed for them. They feel trapped in a life that’s not who they truly are or who they want to be. The “true you” can only be discovered when our spirit leads the way for our soul and body. Let’s follow that order!
Pause: What are the two important truths we need to know about ourselves in order to know spiritual freedom?
Practice: Reflect on how God’s spiritual order compares to the way you’re living your life. How and why should it change?
Pray: Lord, I thank You for giving me guidance on how to live my life. It’s second nature for me to live out of alignment with Your order and I need Your Spirit’s help to change this. Direct me so I can walk in the way You have plotted out for my life. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.