Five Steps to a Supernatural Life: Live By Your Spirit

Step 2: Live by your spirit instead of by your soul.

There is a difference between your soul and your spirit. You are a spirit. You have a soul. You live in a body. The Bible speaks about dividing between soul and spirit. (Heb. 4:12)

Your soul is the part of you that interacts with this world. Your spirit is the part of you that interacts with God and the spiritual realm. God is a spirit and we are made in His image. And we are told that if we want to worship God, we must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Your spirit can communicate with the Holy Spirit. He speaks to you through your spirit. Your spirit conveys to your soul what the Father is saying to you. That’s how you hear from Him. Your spirit is who you really are. Some people call it your conscience.

Your soul is made up of your mind, will and emotions. They can be controlled by your spirit, or not. If you don’t actively put them in subjection to your spirit, they are likely not being controlled by your spirit. Hence, they are not under the Holy Spirit’s control, either. You have the ability to lift up your spirit above your soul each day. You can choose to live by your soul or your spirit. If you live by your soul, you will make decisions and do things according to your physical senses and what your mind tells you is correct. If you live by your spirit, you will listen to the Holy Spirit and find out His will for each decision and every action. Your soul will do what your spirit says to do if you have put it in subjection to your spirit.

Most of us live by our souls. We were taught to live that way, because our families and churches didn’t know any better. We have lived by our own understanding, our minds and our emotions. When we get saved, our spirit comes awake. And at that point, we can start to live by our spirits. But, unfortunately, few of us are ever taught how to do that. We continue to live by our souls. Our souls are very strong and loud. Our spirits are young and not very strong yet. If we don’t exercise them, they stay that way.

You can exercise your spirit by putting your spirit above your soul each day. You tell the soul to get under the dominion of your spirit. You tune into what God is saying to you through your spirit. It takes getting alone with God and waiting to hear Him speak. (1 Pet. 1:22)

When Paul mentions the fruits of the Spirit, that’s just what they are. If we don’t have a strong connection with the Spirit of God through our spirits, we can’t have the fruits of the Spirit.

Isaiah spoke of the soul and the spirit separately in 26:9 and 57:16, and Job also separated them in Job 7:11.

In 1 Thess. 5:23 Paul gives us the correct order of importance of each part of our being. He says “your whole spirit, soul and body“, in that order. The spirit is to be above the soul and the soul over the body.

The Kingdom of God does not consist of speech, but of power. It is spiritual power – healing, miracles, signs and wonders; touching the glory and the presence of God; and casting out demons. Not just theology, philosophy or words that we speak. It’s the dunamis power of the Holy Spirit that we can tap into with our spirits, not our souls. (1 Cor. 2:4,5) The Kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom. And we live in it by our spirits.

So when we need to know God’s will for our lives about a specific issue, we need to make sure we’re listening to God with our spirits. We need to put our spirit in dominion, so that we know we’re really hearing from the Holy Spirit, not our own mind. We can pray a prayer like this:

“Father, I put my soul and my flesh in submission to my spirit. And I put my spirit in submission to You, Holy Spirit. I bind anything demonic that would keep me from hearing from You, in Jesus’ name. I will only hear the voice of my Good Shepherd. Lord, bypass my soul and speak to my spirit. Speak loud and clear, Holy Spirit.”

And then present your question to the Lord. Ask Him to give you the guidance you need. If you need to know whether you’re supposed to do a certain thing, ask Him if you’re supposed to do it. And then listen to what He says to you. You may have to wait quite a while. If you don’t hear anything, ask a different question. Ask the Lord to guide you through it. He’ll help you to find out the answer He wants you to have. He may speak a scripture reference to you. Look it up and find out what it says and seek Him about how it applies to your situation. If you have put the question in “yes or no” form, you may hear a “yes, yes, yes” or “no, no, no” inside yourself.

God’s purpose for everything is to draw us closer to Himself. The thing that is most important is not really the guidance itself, but the time you spent with the Lord, talking to Him and listening for His voice. Any time you spend concentrated time with Him, He is pleased, and you have drawn closer to Him.

Heb. 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

1 Pet. 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit…

1 Thess. 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body

1 Cor. 2:4,5 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Isa. 26:9 With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early…

Isa. 57:16 For the spirit would fail before Me, And the souls which I have made.

Job 7:11 I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

Natural Narration: Spontaneous Storytelling

I don’t do everything right. There, I admitted it. Ow, that was hard.

I fall short of the ideal in many ways. But I keep goals and ideals in front of me as a target to shoot for.  I mess up every day, but I get up the next day and ask forgiveness and start over again with a clean slate.

I believe that Charlotte Mason’s method is one of the best ways to teach children.  But I don’t follow her methods strictly.  There are other methods that I have developed as the Spirit leads that I believe are more effective with my children.  A lot of it depends on their temperament and personality.


And sometimes I don’t follow her methods because I forget them or don’t really understand them, or I’m not as diligent as I should be.


For the sake of my sanity and the peace of my home, I adapt the methods that I believe in and follow them loosely. If I try to be rigid about anything, the fun and enjoyment just disappears for the kids and for me. I get impatient and demanding.  These are not fruits of the Spirit.

When it comes to using the Charlotte Mason approach, I don’t follow everything she says to do. (There, I admitted that, too. That didn’t hurt quite as much.)

Narration is one of those things.

Charlotte Mason says it should be done a certain way. From the Charlotte Mason Homeschool Series vol. 1 pg 232

“In every case the reading should be consecutive from a well-chosen book. Before the reading for the day begins, the teacher should talk a little (and get the children to talk) about the last lesson, with a few words about what is to be read, in order that the children may be animated by expectation; but she should beware of explanation and, especially, of forestalling the narrative. Then, she may read two or three pages, enough to include an episode; after that, let her call upon the children to narrate,––in turns, if there be several of them. They not only narrate with spirit and accuracy, but succeed in catching the style of their author. It is not wise to tease them with corrections; they may begin with an endless chain of ‘ands,’ but they soon leave this off, and their narrations become good enough in style and composition to be put in a ‘print book’!

I, personally, don’t require narration of every book I read to them or every book or lesson they read themselves. And I don’t do it the way CM prescribes. My method is less structured and more intuitive. Basically, I have them narrate when the Spirit moves me. It would drive my kids crazy if I stopped every two or three pages and made them narrate. It would spoil our enjoyment of the story.

I found this quote interesting:

From CM Homeschool Series vol. 3 pg 181

“The mind can know nothing but what it can produce in the form of an answer to a question put by the mind to itself.”

Even though I don’t follow her exact methods, I believe that my method is enabling my children to ask the questions themselves instead of forcing them to think about what I’m thinking about.

The narration that happens at my house is more spontaneous and flows from a need or desire that one of us has. For example, if one of my children reads something and then comes and tells me about it because they’re excited and want to share the story with me, I count that as narration.

If I have been reading a story aloud (which is always true) and the next day I want to know where I left off or I want them to get back into it and refresh their memory of what had just happened, I ask them to tell me the last thing we read the day before. And the kids can almost always tell me, in detail, what I read last. They usually tell it quickly, so I’ll hurry and start reading again!

At different times, I ask a child to tell me what he knows about a particular person or topic we’ve been studying. When they answer me, I consider that narration, too.

I use it to find out if they’ve been listening or understanding what we’ve been discussing. Things are found out in this way such as places where their understanding is weak or times that they have not really been paying attention.

I may not be following Charlotte Mason’s method perfectly, but I have seen good fruits in the lives of my children. And I think that’s what matters the most. I think it gives my children a chance to dream and see the images in their own imagination without interruption. I want them to be able to do this:


I read this post by Sally Clarkson where she admitted that she’s not perfect and thought that it fit pretty well with my previous confessions. I hope it encourages you as much as it encouraged me.

Perfect! Not a word high on my vocabulary as an expectation of life

Transportation Problem Solved!

No more of this for the Douglas family.

We finally got a van!

Gary will be driving it from South Carolina tomorrow. He and Patrick are coming to visit and leaving us the van. Then we’ll all be able to go visit them whenever we want to!

And we can go wherever else we want to. All together.

Anna’s Debut as a Worship Leader

Last Thursday night was a special night for Anna and for me.

We had just started attending meetings of a special group of people who minister to people on the streets of York. They have meetings for Bible study and worship on Thursdays. The first time we went, God highlighted Anna to the leader of the ministry. He asked her to open the meeting in prayer. I was surprised that he asked and surprised that she did it with such poise and ease. He asked her if she played guitar, and she said she did, and he told her to bring it next time. The next week she couldn’t play guitar because she had sprained her pinkie. The ministry leader, Edgar, asked her to read Psalm 91. This was something else that surprised me, because she hasn’t been very confident in her oral reading at home. But she was very clear and fluent and read it very well. And once again she was anointed and there were some who said they were touched by her reading.

By the third meeting, her pinkie was well, and she took her guitar, ready to do whatever Edgar and God asked her to do. He saw her as soon as we walked in and asked her to lead worship that night.

Now I didn’t know how Anna would handle this, but I had told Edgar that she just plays and sings what the Lord gives her. So I prayed like crazy while she tuned her guitar and started to play. She played a song that a friend taught her, the first real song she ever played on guitar. It went really well. Then she strummed whatever the Holy Spirit led her to strum. The anointing was great. People sat still and listened and worshiped silently. Then one man read a scripture while she strummed, then another prayed. Everyone recognized the sweet presence of the Lord and that there didn’t need to be a song that everyone knew or could sing for worship to be happening.

The Spirit was obviously there and ministered to hearts during the time of worship. Then we heard a message from the Word.

Then Edgar asked Anna to play again. I got nervous because I didn’t think Anna knew any other songs. And she had been having a hard time getting words to sing like she usually does. But God helped her to play some songs that she had just started working on the week before. And she strummed and let the Lord just have His way.

The whole group was so excited about her gift. The teacher had prayed for her after she sang the first time and asked me to come up, too, and he prayed for our whole family and affirmed me as her mother for the work I had done in her life. He didn’t know me at all. He had to ask, “Where are her parents?” before he prayed, because the Lord prompted Him to pray for her parents and family, too. It was like being in the Prophecy Rooms at IHOP again. The Lord gave me a kiss, letting me know that He’s still proud of me, and I’m still doing a good job of raising my children. It was so good for me to hear that. It was like cool water to my spirit.

The outpouring of love and admiration of what God has given her made Anna feel humbled and exhilarated at the same time. The response was almost overwhelming. But she kept it all in perspective. She knows that it’s all from God and that He gets all the praise. That it’s not about her, it’s about glorifying Him.

I was extremely proud of her and thankful for all that God is doing in her and through her.

Here’s a link to a video of her singing.

Anna singing at wHoly Chicken

Pray for Your Husband During the Month of June

Amy Verlennich has challenged all Christian wives to pray for their husbands throughout the month of June. She has done this 3 years in a row now.

She is asking us to get The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian and pray through it a chapter a day, using the chapter topics to help us stay focused on what to pray. We kick off on June 1st and pray through the whole month.

919244: The Power of a Praying Wife The Power of a Praying Wife
By Stormie Omartian / Harvest House Publishers

Bestselling author Stormie Omartian inspires women to develop a deeper relationship with their husbands by praying for them. The Power of a Praying Wife—now with a fresh new cover design— is packed with practical advice on praying for specific areas of a husband’s life including his decision-making, fears, spiritual strength, role as father and leader, and his faith and future. Every woman who desires a closer relationship with her husband will appreciate the life illustrations, select Scripture verses, and the assurances of God’s promises and power for their marriage.

Amy has a special place on her blog called SHMILY Time. You can go there to find out what SHMILY means. It’s very sweet.
And visit the rest of SHMILY Time on her blog for extra encouragement along the way.

She offers encouragement and updates on her blog to help us to keep on praying and believing for good results in our husbands’ lives and in our marriages.

If you’re on Facebook, you can join the group here and keep in touch with others as we pray for our husbands every day in June.!/event.php?eid=188071037909718

I hope you’ll join us, and cover your husband in prayer whether you feel close and loving toward him right now or you feel like hitting him over the head with a frying pan! In either case, prayer is your best response!