Where Is Your Spirit? Loving God With Your Soul
What is Spirit?
In college, I served 4 years as a band managers. Our basic job was to handle all the behind the scenes stuff for the marching band during practices and before and after football game shows. This meant everything from carrying equipment, setting up equipment, getting water bottles, and cleaning the football stands. I was also a huge football fan (even if my team was mediocre) and I enthusiastically cheered from my convenient front row seats at games. At our senior year homecoming game, I decided to show my team spirit by wearing a gold sash across my uniform and gold garland wrapped in my hair (since our colors were black & gold). Above is one of my favorite photos of all time taken with one of my closest friends. I was proud to show my spirit!
What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘spirit?’ When I Googled images of spirit, I wasn’t surprised that pictures of ghosts and ghastly looking people popped up, with Halloween coming up at the end of the month. Maybe that’s what you think of when you hear the word ‘spirit.’ Maybe you’re like me and the first thing you think of is ‘school,’ ‘campus,’ or ‘team‘ spirit. Perhaps you’re thinking of something that exists even into the afterlife. I also found pictures of doves during my Google search since the dove is typically associated with the Holy Spirit.
These are all forms of spirit, but the Bible has a very different, more beautiful, and more detailed description of the kind of spirit I’m going to talk about today.
How do you love God with all your soul? Let’s define soul. HELPS Word Studies defines soul from the word psyche (psychology) “to breathe or to blow” – breath of life – “a person’s unique identity (unique personhood): The soul is the direct aftermath of God breathing (blowing) His gift of life into a person, making them an ensouled being.” Strong’s Concordance explains “the soul as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death…” and defines spirit as “the vital principle by which the body is animated… the spirit imparts life to it [the body] not the body in turn to the spirit… a simple essence… possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting.”
What does the spirit do?
The spirit gives life to the body.
- Genesis 2:7 ” then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”
- James 2:26 says that the body without the spirit is dead.
- Job 33:4 “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
When God created Adam, the first man, He gave Adam a part of Himself. He gave Adam a spirit.
The spirit enables the body to act.
- The Psalmist asks in Psalm 143:10, “Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”
- 1 John 3:18 says, “Let us not love in word or talk but in spirit and in truth.”
- 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “The Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, and love, and self-discipline.”
- 1 Corinthians 14:15 “I will pray with my spirit… I will sing with my spirit...”
The spirit is intimately connected to emotions.
- Psalm 16:9 “…my soul is full of joy!“
- Psalm 73:21-22 “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant...”
- Psalm 142:3 “When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who watch over my way.”
- Proverbs 15:4 “…a harsh tongue crushes the spirit.”
- Isaiah 26:9 “My soul yearns for You in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for You.”
- Lamentations 1:20 “My spirit is very troubled.”
How would I make my spouse an idol with my spirit?
Here are some ways you might love your spouse with your spirit more than you love God:
- spending all your time or the majority of your time with your spouse & rarely or never spending time with God
- investing financially in your marriage & your bills without giving a percentage to God (tithing)
- reading or watching media material that influences your marital decisions or sexual experiences that doesn’t honor God
- always turning to your spouse and expecting him/her to always deliver when you’re bored, and when you need comfort, wisdom, strength, love, care, etc without first turning to God or without ever turning to God
- placing a higher emphasis on sexual intimacy with your spouse than on your intimacy with God
- listening to your spouse without weighing his/her words against the measure of Scripture
- living your life like your spouse is the center of it and you’d fall all apart (or lose the will to live) if you lost your spouse
To live your life for your spouse (and not for God) and make all your decisions based upon your spouse & the desires of your flesh is idolatry.
- Romans 8:5-6 “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.“
- Romans 8:13 “if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body,you will live.”
- Galatians 5:17 “the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
- Galatians 6:8 “Whoever sows to please their flesh,from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”
James 4:4-6 has strong words about this, calling idolatry the same thing as adultery:
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that He jealously longs for the spirit He has caused to dwell in us?
Choosing to be a friend to the world means choosing the ways of the un-redeemed flesh. When you choose worldly, fleshly ways , you are against God. God jealously longs for you as a lover would for his bride. He longs to be in intimate relationship with you. He wants all of your spirit.
How do I love God with all my spirit?
To love God with all your spirit means to love Him by living according to His Word and His Spirit, by making godly choices, and choosing a God-honoring lifestyle.
- Love God by putting to death the things of the flesh. Colossians 3:5,8 “Put to death, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed,which is idolatry… you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander,and filthy language from your lips.” and Galatians 5:24 “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh, with its passions and desires.”
- Love God by imitating the love of Christ. Ephesians 5:1-2 “…be imitators of God, as beloved children. Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.”
- Love God by exhibiting the fruits of His Spirit. Galatians 5:22 “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.“
- Love God by seeking His wisdom. James 3:17 “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” and James 5:1 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
- Love God by obeying His Word. John 14:5 “If you love Me, keep my commands.”
- Love God by worshiping Him. John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Ask yourself these questions to give yourself a good idea of what or who influences/controls your decisions:
- What do I do with my time?
- Who do I spend my time with?
- How do I use my money (spending, giving, saving)?
- What kinds of media (TV, movies, books, magazines, newspapers, Internet) do I take in?
- Where do I go for down-time and relaxation?
- What things gives me comfort when I’m upset?
- What things give me pleasure?
- Who do I listen to?
*See other posts in this series: 6 Ways to Guard Against Making Your Spouse An Idol and Where is Your Heart: Loving God with all Your Heart. This series is in response to a question asked of me on my guest post at Pearl’s OysterBed. Come back next week for a post on loving God with all your mind.
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you…”
“There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8:1-2 (NLT)
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
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Have you ever given thought to what loving God with your soul really means? What about the concept of loving God with your spirit/soul is still confusing?