Over the course of my journey in Jesus I have had areas of confusion in my understanding and as is the case did not know where the error was in my thinking. My formative years as a Believer were among Pentecostals and one of the catch phrases I picked up in there was that “I am a spirit, I have a soul and I live in a body.” yet recently I heard Daniel Yordy pointing out that that commonly held view is the triumph of Gnosticism over the Gospel.
I once read someone boasting in ignorance. “I am a spirit being trapped temporarily in a physical body, and I have a soul.”This statement comes from the triumph of Gnostic ignorance, the victory of the tree of splitting apart, that is, of death.
God made humans as living souls, existing at the point of juncture between spirit and physic(al). God made each one of us as distinct persons of integrity. Yordy
Since hearing what Daniel wrote I have pondered it some more because it is one of those things that has contributed to my misunderstandings.
You see — I believed and taught that we are spirit’s that live in an earthly body and have a soul. I did not realise that I was leaning this way because of a hatred of how God made me but this is what I have come to see.
For most of my life before Jesus saved me and after I have put myself down and never lived up to my full potential. In fact that statement was regularly on my school reports from frustrated teachers.
‘Dennis has great potential but needs to do this or that …’ I was born without my biological father being part of the scene as his parents were not happy that he had gotten my mum pregnant. In fact they wanted me to be aborted! Apparently my mum was not wealthy or ‘well to do’ enough for their pedigree.
But God made sure I had a stand in dad. He was 20 years older than mum but came into our lives before I was born and married mum when I was 3 months old. So I grew up with his family name – Rhodes. Yet the whole town in which we lived knew that I was really from the Andrews family but they kept it secret from me.
I never really fitted in with any of the kids in my town and was bullied by the older boys and never felt included. I was good at sports and surfing and had mates(friends) among that crowd but within myself I felt alone. Hard to explain.
During my High School years I was surfing and smoking dope a lot. I even grew it! This affected my academic performance of course and I failed my last year of High School so could not go on to College(we call it university).
Instead I travelled to the Western side of Australia and worked on Shrimp boats in Shark Bay. During that time my step dad died from bowel cancer at age 55. I went back to Sorrento Victoria to see him before he died and and afterwards though my mum needed me to stay I went back to the west.
I continued to work on the Trawlers and surf in the off season travelling around Australia and to indonesia. I took a break from the Trawlers and got a job on the Iron Ore railway line replacing the timber sleepers with concrete ones in 1983-1985.
During that time I met a girl in a pub, we slept together and then lived together there in Wickham, WA until she fell pregnant in 1986 when we decided to get married. Even at our wedding in Albany West Australia I was stoned and embarrassed my mother and others present. Our child Jasmine was born in November that year .
I continued working on fishing boats while Margaret taught High School in Carnarvon, WA until I was accepted by the State Fisheries Department as a Fisheries Officer.
Margaret and I moved to live in the city of Perth in 1988 after 12 months as a Fisheries Inspector and with our daughter being nearly 36 months old we separated. I gave my heart to Jesus the night she told me we need to separate….but to no avail. Another man moved in with my wife and daughter within about 3 months and I lived nearby in a rented unit.
The sense of failure and shame was constantly bearing down on me but at the same time Father’s love was holding me up. It seemed to me that I born to fail and wreck every good thing.
So when I started to get into Christian teaching and churches one of the things that I caught was that I have a heart that is deceptive and not to be trusted.
Jer 17: 9 “The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
Since I reasoned that all my life had proven this statement and preachers seemed to always be speaking it in their sermons at other believers in Jesus I owned the lie that I have a wicked heart that cannot be trusted.
I went on into Pentecostal things doing a lot of praying in tongues and fasting, endless worship sessions of singing etc…in AN ATTEMPT TO GROW MY SPIRIT SO I WOULD NOT BE SO SOULISH/CARNAL.
Along the way I was hearing that phrase- “I am a spirit, I have a soul, I live in a body.” All of this was reinforcing the Greek idea that all that is spiritual is good and above…all that is earthly and physical is evil and from below.
Being carnal meant being soulish in the circles I moved in. So there was a striving to appear spiritual–hence more fasting, more worshipping, more tongues etc.
When I failed I would beat up on myself with negative self talk — blaming my soul for all the problems. If only I was more spiritual I told myself…and others around me did the same.
Now seeing that I am actually a living soul sandwiched in between spirit and body I can begin to go easy on myself. Rejection of self was something my “faith” taught me to do –something that Jesus never wanted me to do.
He loves us and does not want us hating our self…seems obvious. What a tangled mess we are! Yet He is able to untangle us and show us the way through.
One of the illustrations Daniel uses is that of the Land–physical land. When you think of the Land you do not think of the air above it or the bedrock beneath it deep down do you? Yet that is all a part of “the Land.”
The Land is what is in between heaven and earth—air above–bedrock beneath. So your soul is between spirit above and body beneath..You are a living soul because spirit/heaven energises you. Without spirit you are dead.
All this keeps saying to me YOU ARE A SOUL.
You are a living soul living in a physical body!
Jesus came to save your soul -YOU!! So why are you so hard on yourself?
It can only be the work of lying spirits and doctrines of demons that one would hate his soul.
And so I have repented and my soul is relieved about that!!
Religious pride is connected to this in a big way–for the idea that you are more spiritual than soulish believers is alluring. This has played out in my walk and in my second marriage to my wonderful wife Carmel.
It has played out with terrible consequences in my parenting of our children who all carry the wounds of being raised by a deluded proud religionist.
It has wounded me and robbed me of friends and fellowship and fruitfulness. It has grieved Father most of all for He loves me so much yet I have hated my soul.
When I became a believer-not long after I threw away all my photo albums which contained my previous life in picture form…I thought that was the spiritual thing to do. I stopped listening to worldly music…stopped surfing…dressed differently–suits and tie…fasted and prayed in tongues and hid from the worldly soulish people. When I did emerge I preached at them that they were sinners in need of Jesus or they would burn forever!
Meanwhile I failed regularly at sin every day…which simply made me hate my wicked heart more and to pray and fast more. I knew nothing of His grace or the true gospel.
So here I was…thinking that the real me is the spirit….but that the soulish me was the enemy along with my body which I must put under and deny.
It is like a farmer trying to plant his seeds in the sky hoping for wheat to grow in the clouds while neglecting the soil on the earth.
God is so loving and patient with me!
Thank God that He made you a living soul with emotions and will and intellect to walk together with your spirit in a body of flesh glorifying Jesus.