“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT).
In an earlier chapter, I reflected on a season in my early adult life when it felt as though my soul and spirit were literally running on two parallel tracks. As I allowed myself to become painfully honest with myself about myself, both the interdependence yet distinctiveness of these two elements – soul and spirit – became much clearer.
The decades since that time have acquainted me with countless men and women who had lived with very much the same disconnect that I had. They felt certain they had placed their faith in Jesus Christ yet found that the joy, peace, and hope of the Christian life eluded them. They considered themselves to be good Christian people yet could not comprehend why their belief system was insufficient when calamity or tragedy pierced their lives and relationships.
I don’t want that to be the case with us reading this book. My sincere prayer is that all of the combined expertise and wisdom in this book might provide a pathway that will radically transform our lives.
Trust the Journey
Oftentimes books that dig this deeply into our past, our family, and our shortcomings can feel a little scary and maybe even over our heads. I hope that’s not the case here. I’ve attempted to break down every complicated, less-familiar word and subject in ways that make them understandable and applicable for the journey. But it still may seem daunting. I get it.
This chapter is filled with principles, verses, and teachings directly from the Bible. For some who are reading this, that is refreshing. Often, authors who teach soul healing principles offer a Christian approach to overcome the pain of our past yet lack in Bible-based substance. For maybe an even larger group of us, though, the “churchy” words and concepts in this book may cause you to feel less-than-qualified to benefit these teachings, simply because you don’t fully understand and comprehend them all.
Please trust me as I walk alongside you on this journey! I am simply a traveler, just like you. Whether you’ve been able to pick up every detail along the way, or if you feel like you’re just hanging on for dear life, there’s no “wrong” way to pursue our personal journey with Jesus. The only way to “fail” is to quit. And we’re not going to quit! Hang in there with me.
Picture if we were all walking together through the woods. Some of us would notice all the different types of trees. Others would examine what’s on the ground under their feet. Others would focus their senses on the sounds and smells of the woods. Some would repeatedly look behind them to not lose sight of where they came from. Others would analyze the most efficient way to get out of the woods. Regardless, none of us would be doing the journey wrong. We would all be experiencing and enjoying the journey together, while seeing it in exactly the way God wanted us to see it.
We’re told in Romans 3:3, “Some in your life were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful does not mean God will be unfaithful?” God has a plan and a purpose for each of us (see Jeremiah 29:11). A keystone to our experiencing God’s faithfulness is our growing awareness of who He is, who we are, and how He connects the two. In other words, how is learning all of this about God and ourselves going to make the pain and shame within us go away.? This chapter addresses that very question.
So, please don’t miss it. Trust the journey. And more importantly, trust Jesus, our guide and our confidence on the journey.
“Cutting” Between Soul and Spirit
The passage from Hebrews, that I used to open this chapter, alludes to the fact that our soul and spirit are intimately connected, yet also distinctly separate. The Bible makes it clear that the soul and spirit are the primary non-physical aspects of our humanity, while the body is the physical container that holds them while we exist on this earth.
Although I have an earned doctoral degree, I know it best to admit when I’m not an expert on a subject. And this is one of those times. Do I have a thorough, Biblical understanding of the spirit-soul connection? Yes. Am I an expert on this subject? Absolutely not.
I feel certain that a Biblical scholar could write a lengthy, exegetical thesis about the incomprehensible soul-spirit connection. And certainly, there are countless aspects of the Christian life in which that would be beneficial, and even necessary.
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