The Spirit of Man

Ed Tharp
November 16, 2003

Proverbs 20:27 "The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of his heart."

The number one way God leads us is by the inward witness. There are times that God will do something in a spectacular way, especially if there is great difficulty ahead. There may be times he will speak in an audible voice, or have an angel appear to us, or any number of spectacular things. But His number one way to lead us is by the inward witness.

Our carnal mind will want to have something more spectacular to grab hold of. This is why we have to renew our minds with the word of God. We have to learn to trust that simple inward voice, and not demand something spectacular from God before we move. A good example of this is found in Acts 15.

Acts 15:28 "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things"

This passage from Acts tells us about a major decision by the Apostles at Jerusalem concerning circumcision and the keeping of the law by those who had accepted Christ. This was a major decision that would have impact on the body of Christ throughout the Church Age, yet God didn’t write it in the sky, He didn’t send an angel to appear to them. He didn’t use any particularly spectacular ‘sign’ to speak to them. They simply went by their inward witness. The Holy Spirit communicated to them through their born-again human spirit, what He wanted them to do in this situation. You see, when we got born-again, our spirit was re-created in the perfect likeness of God. The sin nature was removed from our inner man, and the Holy Spirit came to indwell us. The Holy Spirit lives in us, communicating through our human spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 "…and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of the soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

What I want us to see here is that there is a difference between the spirit of man, and the soul of man. The spirit of man is the part of us that is born-again. It is the part of us that contacts God. John 4:24 tells us that "God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth." It’s why God made us like Himself, so we could communicate with Him on His level. The soul of man, on the other hand, is man’s mental faculties; the mind, the emotions, and the will. Some people are guided by their minds. They are constantly reasoning their way through life. If it doesn’t make sense to them mentally, they want nothing to do with it. Other people are lead by their emotions. Everything they do is regulated by their emotions. They will give to a cause because someone showed them a picture that touched their heart in some way. Many organizations appeal to people’s emotions in order to get them to give financially. These people seldom stop to think of the long-term consequences because they are ruled by their emotions. The will, is the decision center. It’s where decisions are made whether to follow the spirit or the soul. Will I take time to hear from God in this matter, or will I simply do what my emotions or my reasonings tell me?
Many have used the terms spirit and soul interchangeably, as if they were the same. But we can see from scripture that they are not. And when we are born again and the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, God then has a ‘clear channel’ through which to communicate with us.
I know that when my wife and I were trying to make a decision about whether or not to move to Oklahoma to attend Rhema, I really had a difficult time making up my mind. I didn’t know then as much as I know now, and at that time it was really confusing to me. I’m a pretty analytical person, and I kept getting mixed up between my spirit and my reasonings. My spirit was telling me to come, but mentally or logically it didn’t make sense. There were other things that were involved, but basically it was a spirit/reasonings issue. Finally I had to go with what I believed was in my heart, and I have never been sorry.

Colossians 3:15 "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body…"

Philippians 4:7 "…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

One minister said, "Follow after peace." This is good advice. Anytime you have a decision that takes you away from peace, at the very least spend some extra time praying about it. As I mentioned before, the first time or two you do something, you may be a little uncomfortable with it. This is part of learning to trust your ‘inward witness’, and it can make you a little anxious. But we should still be able to find peace. Until we learn to follow our inward witness, we will never tap into the unlimited potential that God has placed within each one of us.