i would grab your Bible and follow along for this. it’s good for us to see things with our own eyes, and it’s never a bad thing to be in the Word. Since you’re most likely on a computer reading this, you could just open up Bible Gateway in a new tab/window too. i might go back and forth between King James Version and New International Version, and Bible Gateway lets you go between the two on the fly. now hear me out.
have you ever asked God for anything? have you ever been disappointed when what you asked for never came about, even if it was completely unselfish and was without a doubt a good thing? Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-11
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks , the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asked for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
so it’s pretty plain to see that Jesus has said that God will give good gifts to those who ask Him. it’s safe to say then that it’s God’s will to give good gifts, as he is our Father, who happens to be in heaven. so why do we pray and not receive the gifts? i don’t think the problem has to do with God, so it must be us. to learn more about what we might be doing wrong, we’ll need to learn a bit about ourselves.
i’m assuming that you are familiar with the Trinity, God in three persons. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. well, I present to you now something you may have never heard of before, and for remembrance’s sake I’m going to call it “Man in three Persons.” Let’s go to the beginning.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…’”
us being created in God’s image means more than we just look kinda like He does. i think that just as God is one being, manifested in three persons, we are also one being with three parts to us.
Part 1: Flesh. this is our body. the physical aspects of us. it’s the easiest to see, to judge, to hurt, to die, to understand. we all know we have a body.
Part 2: Soul. our soul is like our consciousness. it consists of our thoughts and emotions, our mind and memories. it’s our reasoning and our intellect.
nothing really groundbreaking there, but the third part is what is normally bundled in with the second.
Part 3: Spirit. just like God is a Spiritual being, we have a spirit in us. our spirit is the part of us (along with the soul) that goes on after our flesh passes away, they are our eternal aspects. Jesus actually talked about this in a story that is different from other parables.
Luke 16:19-31 : the story of the rich man and Lazarus.
I won’t write the whole thing out, just what i need to illustrate my points, but you should read it all for yourself, it’s not long. I’ll provide commentary through it, distinguished by non-italics. The significance of this story is that Jesus uses an actual name; Lazarus. In all the other parables, he uses just a type of person, somebody with a role. This is not just a parable, it’s about an actual person. Jesus is describing an event that took place.
22”The time came when the beggar[Lazarus] died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. [so the flesh is gone in both of these men, it’s out of the picture]In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up[the KJV says “he lift up his eyes.” if the soul is only your consciousness/mind/emotions, then it must be the spirit part of you that has eyes. your spirit has eyes!] and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger [your spirit has tips of fingers!] in water and cool my tongue [and a tongue too!], because i am in agony in this fire.’”
it goes on to say that the rich man asked Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers who were still alive, which shows that the rich man had his memories with him still as well. so if our spirit has eyes, and tips of fingers, and a tongue, i think we can conclude that it also has whole fingers with hands and arms and teeth and a head and all the rest of the things our flesh also has (with some possible exceptions seeing as in Christ there is neither male nor female).
pretty intense stuff. still not convinced our spirit is separate from our mind/soul?
Paul writes about this too. 2 Corinthians 5:17:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
once we are saved, we are a new creation. born again. but what part of every Christian who believes and repents is made new? it’s not our body, which should be obvious. we don’t suddenly grow taller or lose weight or things like that. it can’t be our soul, because we don’t suddenly stop lusting or getting angry or jealous. it’s still our old mind and emotions. it must be our Spirit, our very nature that is born again and made new. let me explain a bit.
i think you’re going to like this. i did when i learned it.
i forgot to mention that part of our spirit is our conscience. we are all born of the flesh, and born with a death nature in us. we are all born selfish. in the history of man, i don’t think any parent ever had to teach their child how to lie. the kids started on their own. nobody had to teach a child how to steal, how to take things they wanted even if it didn’t belong to them. this is our nature, our corrupt conscience.
when we get born again, our nature is changed to one that is heavenly. our spirit is born from above, from God. that’s when he becomes our real Father in Heaven. if we follow our reborn spirit we will live the way God wants us to and come into the Fruits of the Spirit. but you’re probably wondering why it’s not that simple to do. here’s why.
if you had good parents, you were trained for years not to operate by your spirit, your corrupt conscience. if you lied, you were punished. if you stole, you were punished. you began to live by your mind and emotions (soul). you learn that “if i steal that other kid’s toy, i’m going to get spanked. getting spanked hurts more than the fun i get from that other kid’s toy, so i guess i shall not steal.“ (you may have just realized that this sort of guidance by rules(10 commandments) and punishment was how God had to deal with Israel, because with their death nature in them, there was no other way.)
all the laws in society are to protect man from man. if we let our death natures run rampant without consequences, we’d end up with more hitlers.
so we’ve been conditioned to ignore our spirit in favor of our soul. to pursue pleasure and avoid pain(if you hadn’t thought of it yet, this shows that animals can have souls too, but they don’t have an eternal spirit to house their soul in after their flesh dies) but now once our spirit is good and pure, we don’t know how to listen to it anymore because we’ve kept it locked up for so long. our corrupt spirit has been leaking into our soul for so long, that our mind still acts with the selfishness of our old nature. this is why Paul talks about the renewing of your mind in Romans 12:2
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
it’s not our spirit that needs to be renewed, it’s our soul. once we can get our consciousness, our thoughts, and our emotions into the purity of our new spirit, then comes the last part of that verse
12:2 cont.”Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
we need to be taught by our new conscience and spirit how to live the way God wants us to. so if we can fully renew our mind, we can know God’s will. isn’t that exciting!?
i have more to teach on how to help your spirit affect your soul, but i’m not ready to tell it yet. partly because it’s not quite on the topic of Praying and Receiving, and mostly because i feel like it’s too hard for people to accept at first. i want you to see that all the other things i’m saying is true and lines up with God’s Word before i show you about some other things. it can be hard to throw out things we’ve been taught our whole life, even if they are wrong.
more to come in a later installment. i’m sure this was a long enough read for now.
if you liked this, if it rang true, or if it blessed you, please like and reblog so more people can learn from this.