In an article Kenneth Copeland wrote about patience I found this clear, concise teaching about walking in the spirit and letting your spirit control you instead of your soul.
Here’s the part that jumped out at me:
The reason you’ve been seeing so little of those qualities (faith, love, hope, patience, etc.) is that, for the most part, you’ve kept your spirit backstage and let your soul run the show. And though your spirit has been re-created in the image of God, your soul (if you haven’t worked hard to renew it with the word of God) is still just as worldly and stupid as it ever was.
Jesus knew you’d run into that problem. That’s why He said, “In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19).
How do you possess your soul? By making your spirit the boss over your mind, your will and your emotions. By refusing to give in to them when they start whining around and saying things contrary to the Word of God.
When your soul starts to fuss and fume over some situation, you’ve got to say, “Shut up and be still. God is still on the throne. His promises are still good. And you’re going to straighten up and believe them.”
You see, the moment any trying situation arises, your spirit releases the force of patience, or constancy, within you. But in the past, rather than letting it have its perfect work, you’ve usually allowed your mind and emotions to short-circuit the process.
The Lord started teaching me about this through a tape by Guy (can’t remember his last name – he spoke at revival meetings in Florence, KY) I listened to about raising up your spirit and living by your spirit and putting down your soul and not letting it lead you. This was a new concept to me at that time, at least a new understanding of it. I heard that tape back in 1999 or so. I have been learning about it and learning to do it ever since then.
So many of us Christians really don’t understand the difference between the soul and the spirit. We go around living by our souls all the time and wondering why we keep making a mess of things. We have to learn to live all over again. By our spirits, not by our souls.
I didn’t realize that Kenneth Copeland taught this. The article I got the excerpt from is in the Believer’s Voice of Victory Magazine Oct. 2010, but it was written in 1988. It’s on p. 18, called “Patience, think you know what it means? You’d better think again…
Another teacher who does a great job of clarifying the difference between the spirit and the soul is Arthur Burk at Plumbline Ministries.
John Paul Jackson teaches about walking in the spirit, not the soul, too.
I encourage you to pray and ask God to show you how to raise up your spirit and put down your soul each day. And walk in your spirit in communion with the Holy Spirit not in your soul or your flesh. The soul can be trained, but your spirit has to be in control. My family listened to a whole series by Arthur Burk called Developing the Human Spirit. Since going through this and taking notes, sometimes I can actually feel my spirit reacting to things now, and I’m aware that my spirit is hearing from the Holy Spirit. This is an important part of learning to hear from God. He has articles about it here on his website. And the cd set that you can buy is here.
Being raised in a culture with a Greek, western mindset, we have never known anything except living by our souls. The supernatural has been seen as superstition, and we have been taught to perceive everything through our five physical senses instead of through our spiritual senses.
Arthur Burk puts it so well:
“Our souls become highly developed while our spirits remain relegated to passivity and occasional appearances on Sunday morning. Your spirit was made from the beauty of God and longs to reveal His immensity through the treasures He’s placed in you.
Our culture is skilled at training the human soul. We are inept at training the human spirit. Most Christians have a soul the size of a sumo wrestler and a spirit that looks like a stick man. Not an even match by any stretch of the imagination. The face-off leaves most of us frustrated, conflicted, and discouraged. Your spirit is alive, connected to God and desires spiritual excellence. Your soul, however, effortlessly overrides your spirit’s agenda.”
So ask the Lord to reveal to you how to raise up your spirit man each day and put down your soul, and see what a difference this makes in your life.