God wants us to be healed in the areas of our souls and bodies, as well as to be new creatures in the spirit. He wants us whole – spirit, soul and body. To receive healing of the soul, however, we must understand the soul and why it needs to be healed, restored, and renewed once we become “born again.” The Greek word psuche (pronounced “sue-kay”) is the word Bible writers used when talking about things of the outer man, which in English is called “the soul.” In the soul of man are the mind, the will, and the emotions. Our emotional patterns tend to formulate our personalities. For example,we can become angry, unforgiving, bitter, jealous, fearful, rejected, offended, etc. if we yield to our flesh. The soul, or personality, is formed through a person’s reactions to the information the mind takes in. The way each person chooses to react to the things he hears, the things that happen to him, and the things he chooses to receive as truth, causes each soul to become what he, or she, is. However, when a person is “born again,” he becomes a new creature, and the soul then must be renewed, or the person struggles by trying to communicate with and live in the world through an old-nature soul. We have to learn to resist the things of the flesh like anger, fear, jealousy, bitterness and allow the Holy Spirit empower us to walk in love, forgiveness, kindness, mercy, love faith, hope, and the fruit of the Spirit.
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor circumcision, but a new creature” (Galatians 6:15).
Healing of the Soul
As Christians we are to develop the attributes of Christ, and we are to crucify the old man of sin and his deeds. That is why the Apostle Paul wrote about “putting off the old man” and “putting on the new” (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:9-10). Because our souls are formed through our choices, we have to make new choices to let go of the old nature and receive the new. Our new natures are formed by the truths from the Word of God. The two-edged sword of the Word will divide what is true, in our spirits, from the soulish things of our personalities. However, that dividing cannot happen if we do not find out what the Word says. The healing of the soul, which is a cleansing process, takes place as we learn to study the Word and develop a close fellowship with the Godhead through prayer. That is why it is so important to study the Bible to find out how we are to walk in the Spirit and live in the Spirit.
The “Born Again” Experience
Our relationship with the Father is established when we become “born again.” We are adopted into His family (Romans 8:15) when we accept Christ as our Savior and repent of our sins and submit to the will of God. But the fellowship comes only as we get to know the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are babies when we are spiritually “born again,” and if we stay babies, we will become carnal Christians (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). Babies can have no real fellowship with their fathers. Only as they begin to grow and mature is there the possibility of real communication and knowledge of one’s parents as people. The same thing is true of God. Only as a Christian matures can he truly begin to know the Father and have real fellowship with Him. Close fellowship with God depends not only on knowing Him, but on doing His will. Any rebellion or self-will in the soul makes barriers between a Christian and His Father, even as it does in the natural. But until the soul is renewed by God’s Word, he resists God’s will. The purpose of getting the soul renewed is so that the whole person will be in harmony with God. Until then, the natural (carnal) soul automatically resists God’s will, because it is based in self-will. Separating the soul, we can see how the will, the mind, and the emotions function.
The Will of Man
By our will is how we exercise our freedom of choices. God gave man freedom when He created Adam. God will not violate our free wills and make us do the right thing, nor will He make choices for us. We can choose His way, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ” (Romans 8:2), or we can choose the way of self — which really is the devil’s way. There are only two ways: God’s and the devil’s. What man thinks is his own way is really Satan’s way when it is opposed to God and it puts him under the authority of the enemy. If someone is not for God, he automatically is against Him (Matthew 12:30). There is no possible way man can just do his own thing and think he is not making a choice. That choice is choosing Satan’s way. Even “no choice” on man’s part is a choice, because when we refuse to choose, others will make our choices for us. Satan causes men to follow him by encouraging apathy, laziness, or lack of responsibility.
The Mind of Man
The mind is the intellect, with reasoning being the “voice” of the mind. If the mind remains unrenewed, not “healed,” it will continue to think carnal thoughts, believe false information, and result in fleshly speaking and living. We must renew the mind by exposing it to the Word of God, and then we can think proper thoughts (Romans 12:2).
The Emotions of Man
The emotions were designed by God to express His characteristics, which are placed in our spirits when we become born again. Those are the “fruits” written about in Galatians 5:22, 23, and other places. If we do not yield to the renewal process, we continue to act like our “old father,” the devil. Sanctification, or healing of the soul, is the will of God for us. Many Christians do not move into the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2) and the “weaning” of the emotions (Psalm 131:2), because they have not learned to submit their wills to that of the Lord. Jesus always obeyed and did the will of the Father (John 5:30). One big reason for Christians’ failures is a lack of knowledge, which leads to destruction (Hosea 4:6). They do not know how to put on the nature of Jesus.
Sanctification of Man
Much of the Church considers sanctification or “conforming to the image of Jesus” (Romans 8:29) to be optional. It is not taught or preached as much as in former generations. Many Christians born since World War II are as much a part of the “Me Generation” as the world. Self-will and rebellion are more a part of society today than at any time previously in the history of the United States. It is no surprise that much of today’s American Church operates in carnality with an entitlement mentality, and it should be no surprise to us that God has finally set out to expose this evil and clean up His Church. When Paul wrote to the Ephesians about “crucifying” the old man, this is exactly what he meant (Ephesians 4:18-24). When something is crucified, it is put to death. Every Christian needs the things of his old nature, which are part of his soul, put to death in order for the life of God to permeate the whole person (Romans 6:12). Instead, many Christians have just allowed Christ to dwell in their spirits, but have not allowed Him to renew their souls and heal their bodies. As soon as a person is born again, he should begin to make the choices that will put to death his old ways of thinking, talking, and acting, and allow the Holy Spirit to replace them with God’s ways.
Renewing of the Spirit
As we continue in our relationship with God, the inward man (man’s spirit) is renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16), but our outward man is to be crucified and allowed to perish as we choose God’s will instead of our own. The outward man is not the body, but the soul. The body is the physical man, which should be controlled by the outward man under the authority of the inward man. Renewing the soul will cause negative habits and emotions to change. The key to that change is faith. Our wills do the choosing, but we cannot do the changing in ourselves, by ourselves. We choose to let go of the negative and that allows the Holy Spirit to do the changing. But doubt and unbelief can keep a person from receiving this kind of healing as much as it does healing of the body. A Christian must make the choices for God’s way and against his own way in absolute faith that the Holy Spirit will do His part and make the needed changes in us. The trichotomy of man being comprised of spirit, soul, and body always functions as a whole, but breaking it down, we can see the operation of each part. The body of man, or his physical being, is what the Bible calls the temple of the Holy Ghost. A temple is a house or building; therefore, man’s body is the house or container for his spirit and soul. The body is either Satan’s temple, or dwelling place, or God’s habitation. It has no power of its own to decide what to do; it simply obeys the commands of the spirit and soul. It only follows, or “tags along,” with the inner man (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). If we allow our bodies to be lazy and undisciplined, they will suffer the consequences. Bad physical habits can hinder God’s work in us. The Holy Spirit wants to help us overcome these ungodly ways by trusting and having faith in Him to change us so we can become overcomers in Him.
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What the Bible Says about Free Will and Choices
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