Skip navigation

9. A Diagram of Spirit, Soul, and Body

The Bible does not limit Christ to a tiny place in my center. This is the single greatest error perpetrated by most “spirit-soul-body” diagrams. Christ lives in my heart. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I have the mind of Christ, Christ conforms my will to the Father’s, and the Holy Spirit fills me with His emotions.

8. A Diagram of Spirit, Soul, and Body

© Daniel Yordy 2011
 

God wrote the Bible first to a people on the outside looking in. (Paul said he wrote to babes and not to those who were mature.) When that people begin to walk into life, the landscape changes. We become a people on the inside looking out. The word God speaks stays the same, but we do not. Now we see entirely differently, that is, we are looking at everything from a different point of view. All of our conversation must change to reflect reality as it really is, not reality as seen by a people on the outside looking into something they cannot understand.

One thing that must change is our view of our own makeup. Diagrams that once worked for us, leading us forward into God, are no longer useful and can now serve to limit us because of their inaccuracy.

The Bible does not limit Christ to a tiny place in my center. This is the single greatest error perpetrated by most “spirit-soul-body” diagrams. Christ lives in my heart. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I have the mind of Christ, Christ conforms my will to the Father’s, and the Holy Spirit fills me with His emotions.

My spirit is the largest part of my being, literally. My spirit fills and pervades every part of my body and soul and extends beyond both. I, joined to the Lord, am one spirit with Him. His Spirit is my spirit; my spirit is His Spirit. There is no meaningful distinction, nor should I search for any. When you pour a cup of water into a bathtub, you make no attempt to distinguish between that cup of water and the rest of the water in the tub.

I, all that is me, I exist entirely and only inside that circle.

Next, I draw two smaller circles inside the larger circle of my spirit, the next in size being my soul and the smallest being my physical body. My physical body is not my spirit; however, it is infused and energized by my spirit in every way.

You can see immediately that this second diagram gives me an incorrect understanding of myself. My spirit fills and pervades every part of my soul and every part of my body. However, we will keep this diagram knowing that the spirit goes all the way through both the soul and the body.

Now, my heart, which includes the physical organ that pumps blood, contains the central part of my human personality, of my soul. My heart is also the center and anchor of my spirit. Christ lives in my heart. But Christ is the union between God and me. That is, when you combine the Holy Spirit with the human spirit, so that they are one spirit, the result is Christ. Christians, not wanting to presume on God (unlike David, a man after God’s heart), tend to forget that they are born again. God is my Father, which means that I contain inside myself, in my very makeup, the genes of Father God. One might argue correctly that those genes reside in my spirit, but that argument has no meaning, since my spirit fills and pervades my soul and my body.

When the spirit leaves the body, it takes the soul with it. But the body, without the spirit filling it, is dead and soon returns to the earth. That death is not a blessing; it is the original curse. It is the condemnation against sin. The severing of the spirit from the body is not “the death of Christ.” It is the death of condemnation. These are things God says clearly and directly in the New Testament.

Let’s look, then, at the soul. My soul is me. I choose; I think; I feel; therefore I am. I share these soul qualities with God. He also chooses, thinks, and feels. Those qualities are the essence of person.

The entire question is: what spirit pervades my soul? Paul says that those who are disobedient are motivated by (filled with) the spirit of Satan. He also says that if we have received the Spirit of Christ, then we live always in that Sspirit. We must learn to walk in our Sspirit, yes, because we’ve never practiced it before. (I spell it Sspirit, because there is no meaningful distinction between my spirit and the Holy Spirit, they are one Sspirit.)

Because I believe in Christ, Christ lives in my heart. That means that He is the anchor of that largest part of myself, my Sspirit. Thus Christ fills all that is me.

Look back at that middle circle sandwiched between the body (dirt) and the Sspirit (God). Hi, that’s me. Christ lives in ME. I am the union between God and dirt. I am the junction between spirit and flesh. On the side of my spirit is my will. God creates in me the willing and the want to of His will; He calls it faith. That means that my will is His will and His will is my will. We are one, as Paul says. On the side of my body are my emotions. They get all tangled up with the earth and with what I had for dinner last night. They belong to Jesus just as much as any other part of me. He carries all of me inside Himself.

Before we get to my mind, let’s look at two other things. My spirit is born again. That means God created a new spirit in me when I asked Jesus into my heart. God ended the old spirit, called “the old man” by Paul. God did not redeem or restore my old spirit; He brought it to cessation (death) on the cross of Christ. Thus all that once pervaded and empowered my being, giving it “life,” died upon the cross. Now, I have a brand new spirit birthed out of the Word God speaks, out of His genes.

Next, my body is filled with the Holy Spirit. My body is the smallest part of me; it is the means by which I look out at and communicate with the physical side of God’s creation. But my body is still mortal. It has not yet been redeemed. I eagerly wait for the redemption of my body. My body is still subject to death because of sin. But that sin is not separate from Christ, for Christ became that sin upon the cross and carried it into death with Himself.

But God has an order for all things, and I first learn to walk fully in my brand new, God-enthused Sspirit before I see my body transformed into one like His glorious body. I must put on immortality; I must put on incorruptibility.

That leaves me with one more part of myself. The part that, in conjunction with my heart, is the “me” I consider myself to be – my mind. Mind is the union between spirit and brain. Heart is the union between spirit and the physical organ called the heart. Heart and mind walk together as ME. Christ is in ME. He lives in my heart, and I have His mind.

My heart is good. It is washed clean by the blood; it is the dwelling place of Christ; and I enter boldly with my heart filled with courage and assurance, sitting myself down upon the mercy seat, the throne of Almighty God, looking out, now from this largest of perspectives, seeing all things as God sees them.  Except – except for my mind.

My problem is my mind. The whole sanctification process is found in the renewing of my mind. I have the mind of Christ; nowhere does God ever say that I have a carnal mind. But He does say that a believer can be double-minded. But for me to say that I am double-minded is to be double-minded. So I will always say, “I am not double-minded. I have only the mind of Christ.”

Everything is processed by the mind. And the mind doesn’t know what it’s doing. It looks at God and sees something small. It looks at the world and sees something big. Its thinking is all screwed up! My mind is even capable of looking at me and failing to see Christ. That’s how incredibly ignorant my mind can be. Christ – the Holy and exalted One who fills me with His glory – and my mind, at times, imagines He’s not there? You see how ridiculous the mind can get.

My former old man, that old fallen spirit, is dead and buried. It is not an issue in any way whatsoever, except. Except my mind still remembers it and still thinks as if it is real. That’s how messed up my mind is. I live with the memory of the old man and imagine that memory as being something real. I live in a fantasy world of imagination and imagine my imaginative memories are more real than the word God speaks, the Word by which I have been born again!

You see how upside down and backwards and messed up my mind can be. I must never believe my mind when it tells me something different from what God speaks concerning me in the gospel.

It is easy for me to change my mind. All I have to do is speak what God speaks. That is the gospel and it is the one ability God has given to the human me. I am well able to speak what God speaks. Paul says that if I speak with my mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in my heart that He is alive (and in me), then I am saved, that is, conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (which is what salvation is).

So let’s add something else to our diagram. The tongue!

Speak Christ; speak what God speaks.

James says that the tongue is the rudder that steers the whole ship. I go in the direction my tongue takes me. What I speak with my mouth is the direction all the rest of my being will follow. That big arrow, coming out of my heart, that is part of my body, that passes through my emotions, my mind, my will, that actually controls the direction and focus of my spirit. That thing, which is here represented by the arrow, is my tongue.

The tongue determines either life or death.

Christians are so willing to say things God does not say. They will not look at their words and compare them to God’s words in the gospel. Here is one statement I read recently. “We strive to be like Christ, but . . .” Where does God say that? He does say that we “strive to enter His rest.” In other words, the only thing we are to work hard at is to make ourselves stop “trying.” And where do you ever find God adding the word “but” to Christ?

Anytime you hear the words, “Christ, but,” you are hearing the serpent speaking. He also loves to speak Christ, with a few minor words tacked on.

Back to our diagram. A further limitation of past spirit-soul-body diagrams is they give no way out of our present human dilemma, the silly limitations of our minds.

This diagram gives the way out provided by the gospel. Speak Christ.

To speak Christ is to infuse every part of my being with the power and knowledge of my Sspirit, which is Christ filling all of my being. To speak Christ is to sit with God in His throne and to see all things as He sees them. To speak Christ is to move back out, in a river of power – the Sspirit – through that smallest part of myself, my physical body, and out into all the earth, bringing life and healing everywhere I go.

To speak Christ is to change my mind. To speak Christ is to be conformed to the image of God’s dear Son.

But there is something more we must look at to understand ourselves correctly. Let’s add to our diagram.

The outer line is my enemy, the world – the spirit that is in the world. Notice that the cross stands entirely between ME – all that is ME, and the world. “Greater is He that is in ME, then he that is in the world.”

He that is in me is in all of me. That is, He starts at the outer perimeter of my spirit and goes all the way to my toes and the tip of my nose. Christ is everything that exists inside that outer circle of that which is outside of me, the world, including that barrier of protection, the cross. There is NOTHING in that which is ME that is not Christ filling me full, conforming Himself to me and conforming me to Himself.

He that is in the world is outside of ME. The cross stands as an unchanging, impenetrable barrier between all that is opposed to me and me.

That is what God means when He says that I am dead. It is to the world, and to the spirit of the world and to the sin that is in that worldly spirit that I am dead TO.

[Those who try to stick sin and the man of sin and anti-Christ inside the circle of all that is me safely embedded in all the protection of the cross, have forgotten the BLOOD that is always washing over me. It’s not a good idea to forget about the blood.]

Everything that I am inside that outer perimeter that is the furthest reach of my spirit IS ALIVE unto God.

I am alive.

But I am not in this world as a defender of that which is alive. I am in this world as the defeat and the demise of all that is death. See that outer line? That is also the gates of Hades. And those gates cannot sustain my assault. They collapse before me. I enter in bringing the life and healing that IS the salvation of Jesus Christ to all that are “dead.”

I am life and color in this world. I am the source – my Sspirit – of the river of life. I am heaven invading earth. I am the throne of God.