The Spirit of the Lord revealed something to me once last summer that I have found very interesting, and that has helped me a great deal in growing in Him. Many people will find this crazy – but I don’t care. While driving home from running a few errands, I was meditating on how God creates a new spirit in a man or woman when they are born again. I was thinking of how my spirit is made new, yet my flesh is in constant rebellion against this new spirit. It is strange how part of us is made new, and yet other parts need to be brought in line with this new spirit. The spirit is made new, yet the soul and flesh need to be brought into submission to this new spirit, creating a new person – body, soul and spirit (see Galatians 5). I was thinking out loud, “It’s kind of like we are three pronged beings.” And the Lord immediately spoke, “Just like Me.”
Suddenly my eyes and heart were open to something I had never seen or thought of before. We are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) – Who is often referred to as the holy Trinity. Just as God is “three-pronged,” for lack of a better term, we also are made up of three components. We are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body. Our spirit’s are made new at the moment of conversion; when we give our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, we are immediately given a new spirit – the Holy Spirit of God. Yet, our soul (our mind, will and emotions), and our flesh are not spontaneously made new. In some cases, the Lord chooses to overwhelm the new believer so much with His Holy Spirit that the cravings and desires of their old nature are overrun and destroyed. However, more often than not, it is up to the new believer to train their soul and body to come in line with their new, born-again, spirit (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23). Your spirit is who you are. Your soul and body are going to be at constant war with this new spirit to cause you to go against what God has called and created you to be Galatians 5:17).
As believers, we cannot be moved by what we think or feel in our souls, for those are deceitful until brought into full submission to the Spirit of God. Once our thinking is changed fully to the mind of Christ through daily renewal of our minds in God’s Word, then we have a two-against-one advantage against the flesh, and its worldly desires. The battle at conversion becomes a battle for our souls, which is why we hear so often in church that there is a “war for the souls of men.” The devil’s strategy is to claim lordship over our flesh, for he is a flesh devil. The Lord seeks to change our spirits. Our flesh and spirit are at war with each other, because whoever prevails will win the soul, which will determine the destiny of the person. The flesh and soul will conquer the spirit, or the spirit will change the soul and then conquer the flesh.
The Lord revealed to me that this is the battle we fight against as Christians. When we begin to walk in the Spirit, the flesh will only fight the harder, because the devil sees his advantage decreasing. He knows that once the believer, through the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit, brings his soul (his mind, will and emotions) under control, then the flesh will no longer have any power over the man or woman of God. Once the Spirit has been made new, and the soul has been brought under control, it is simply a matter of time before the flesh will no longer have any desire for the things of this world. Whenever you feel like you have fallen, get back up. The fight is on. The devil sees his advantage slipping, and will do whatever it takes to bring your soul (your mind) under his dominion. But we are made in the image of God. Our spirit is now His Spirit. And He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1John 4:4).