LOVE - BOTH SOUL AND SPIRIT
We are going to tackle a very delicate subject today but it is one which has brought so many problems into the lives of Christians because there hasn’t been REAL understanding of this subject. But the Lord let me know - deep in my heart - last Tuesday night after our wonderful time together that day - that this is what He wanted me to share with you. So - I started thinking about it - and actually started working on it on Wed.
Well - let’s start with the obvious knowledge - we are 3-part beings - Spirit, Soul, and Body. We sure do know our bodies don’t we!! They scream at us and fail us and frustrate us - ESPECIALLY AS WE GET OLDER! Nobody has to explain them to us.
Now - the Soul is where the mind, will, and the emotions are. The brain, which is in the body, imparts information to the rest of the body, and the soul responds. The mind is where we learn, we store up information, and on and on and on. The emotions respond to everything that we hear, taste, see, feel, and smell, as well as everything that is fed into our mind. The will takes in all the information and says to the mind, “Do this - Do that - Don’t do that - Don’t go there - Don’t talk to him or her - Get acquainted with them - I want this - I want that - I am going here - and on and on and on!
Now the spirit is the part of you which brings life to the soul and body. The spirit was there before you were born again, but it was dead because of Adam & Eve’s sin. You did not have a connection with God and could not perceive spiritual things. BUT - the moment that you received Christ as your Savior - by believing that HE took your sin and its consequences for you - and said it with your mouth - your spirit came alive. At that moment, God placed in your spirit all those wonderful things FROM HIM - LIKE HIM - SO ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS BELIEVE IT AND RECEIVE IT THE WAY YOU GOT SAVED.
So many Christians do not have a clue about the difference between the soul and the spirit.
Now the word LOVE has become a very common word in our language and refers to many types of things - like, “I love chocolate - I love my Momma - I fell in love with my husband or wife - I love my children, etc.” You don’t have to be a Christian to use and feel love for people and things.
Think about all the people you’ve known in your life who were not born again! Did most of them really love their children? Did some of them love their mate? Did most of them really love their parents, their grandparents, their brothers and sisters? Probably the answer is, “Yes!” I have known many people through my lifetime - I’ve lived in Kansas City, Mo.; Three Hills, Alberta, Canada; Denver, Colo.; Black Hawk, Colo.; Indian Hills, Colo.; Kansas City again; then FLORIDA - and I’ve known people in all those locations - some of them really well. Many were saved but there were some that weren’t. I really never met anyone who didn’t love their kids. I have known people who weren’t saved, but they were really in love with their husbands or wives.
My point is that the human ability to love other people doesn’t just flow out of the spirit. People who are not born again have spirits - BUT THEY ARE DEAD SPIRITS.
NOW - when a person is born again, his spirit comes alive - or IS BORN AGAIN. He has all kinds of wonderful things in that new born again spirit - BUT HE MUST ACCESS THEM.
Now - let’s read this verse - Gal. 5:22-23 - “But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, SELF-CONTROL. Against such there is no law.
So-o-o-o-o-o when, you were born again, all those wonderful things were immediately placed by Almighty God into your new alive spirit. But, they just don’t begin to operate automatically. And - it’s so sad that so many Christians don’t know that. God created mankind with a free will and He will not just whoosh down and take over your will and cause you to do the right thing. He gave authority over the earth to mankind. Therefore, we must, from our own free will, access those wonderful things that have been placed in our new spirits. We do that the same way we got saved - we believe and we receive by saying it - as we commune with our Lord and Savior.
Now - this new LOVE that is in our spirit is the GOD-KIND-OF-LOVE, WHICH IS CALLED AGAPE. It is the same kind of love that God loved us with and put all our sin on the SON - Then the SON (the second person of the TRIUNE DEITY) received it into Himself and died in our place. THAT IS AGAPE LOVE AND THAT’S WHAT’S IN OUR NEW SPIRIT.
It’s different than that emotional and mental love in our souls. I’m not saying that the soul love is wrong - God gave it to mankind to enjoy life.
Now - let’s talk about the difference between them. Believe me - I KNOW ABOUT THAT SOUL LOVE! A lot of people just have a hard time believing this but it’s true. I grew up in a house with a mother and father who loved each other dearly. I never heard my mother and father argue with one another. I never saw them get upset with each other. They were both loving all the time with me and my siblings. They were everything that parents should be.
So - this might be hard to believe also - but from the moment that my husband and I met, we knew we wanted to be together for life. We met on a blind date - his sister worked with a man who was married to a woman that I worked with - and, Jerry was in the military and was home on leave - and they talked us both into meeting on a blind date. From the night we met, and sat on the porch swing talking for hours after returning from dinner out - WE KNEW. WE JUST CONNECTED - AND I CAN’T REALLY EXPLAIN IT. After we had talked for hours, he said, “I want to marry you.” And I said, “I want to marry you too, but don’t tell my parents yet - they’ll both have a heart attack!” A couple weeks later, he met with them and asked for their permission to propose to me - they said yes - and he gave me an engagement ring. There was a strong love between us - which is really hard to explain. A couple more weeks and he had to leave for South Korea. He was there 13 months - and I planned a wedding. He got to Kansas City on a Monday and the wedding was planned down to the smallest detail for Friday. For 13 months, we only talked on the phone once or twice. We couldn’t. That was back in 1958 - 59.
In all our married life of 40 years (when he moved to heaven), we didn’t argue or fuss with one another, except for once - I’ll tell about that another time. We did everything together. We had a wonderful marriage. I wanted to share that with you because it really is a picture of that love that comes from the soul.
Now - let’s talk about that AGAPE LOVE that comes from the Spirit. I’m going to read 1 Cor. 13:4-8 - and when it says “LOVE” it means “AGAPE - THE GOD KIND OF LOVE” - “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely; does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
Now I want to read Galatians 5:14 - “For the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” To clarify this, let me say that, when it refers to the ‘law’ here - all the way through the New Testament, it makes it clear that the LAW was given to show mankind that they, in their own strength or power, could never, never, never fulfill the LAW - THEY NEEDED A SAVIOR! Even those wonderful Old Testament believers and followers of God, made all kinds of mistakes and messed up. This verse is saying that the Old Testament believers didn’t have the AGAPE LOVE OF GOD in their spirits - but we do - therefore we can love our neighbor as we do ourselves.
Man oh Man - what a blessing it is to be born again and have the ability placed in our spirits to LOVE LIKE GOD LOVES. OF COURSE, WE HAVE TO ACCESS IT!
Now I want us to think about something for a minute. Think about when Jesus was on that cross - being stabbed, having thorns pushed into his head, having nails pounded into his hands and arms, and his feet and ankles, then being slapped and hit - with blood flowing out of his body in all kinds of places! Think about the AGAPE LOVE OF THE FATHER, HIS FATHER, AS HE KNEW WHAT HIS SON WAS EXPERIENCING - THINK ABOUT HOW MUCH HE LOVED YOU AND ME TO THE POINT THAT HE COULD ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN SO WE COULD BE WITH HIM FOREVER.
NOW - THINK ABOUT HOW MUCH THE SON (JESUS) LOVED HIS FATHER, TO BE SO OBEDIENT TO HIM TO FULFILL HIS WILL - AND HOW MUCH HE ALSO LOVED US TO ENDURE THIS.
AND……….THINK ABOUT THAT LOVE IN THE SON THAT PROMPTED HIM TO SAY, “FATHER FORGIVE THEM - THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING.” You talk about a picture of what Agape Love really is. Now think about this!!!! That same Love has been given to us in our born-again spirits.
Now - listen to this - Luke 6:27-28 - (the words of Jesus) - “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”
Now - here’s verses 29 - 30 - following that - “To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods, do not ask them back.” My - my - my - Brothers and sisters, Jesus was speaking these words and He, himself, knew what was coming - He knew what He was going to face - And He knew that it was only possible through AGAPE - THE GOD-KIND OF LOVE.
That kind of love is not possible for a human being in his soul - it is only possible for a human being who has been BORN AGAIN AND HAS A NEW SPIRIT - AND THAT NEW SPIRIT HAS AGAPE IN IT.
Now - as we sit here in this room today, we know that to LOVE IN THAT AGAPE LOVE, like the Father and the Son love, it is not just the same kind of love that comes from our souls. The love we loved Daddy and Mommy with because they were so good to us and took care of us - the love we loved with when we FELL IN LOVE - the love that we love those children of ours with - as we looked at those precious little newborn babies, and then as they grew - then the grandchildren - those sweet and precious friends of ours - and on and on.
That’s the reason we have to understand that this wonderful LOVE OF GOD - AGAPE - was given to us in our born again spirit. It’s that AGAPE that we can access by faith - by believing it and receiving it into our whole being - in order to LOVE LIKE GOD LOVES - LIKE JESUS SAID TO LOVE - TO LOVE OUR ENEMIES - TO LOVE THOSE WHO HATE US - TO LOVE THOSE WHO HAVE DEEPLY HURT US -
Now - let me give you an example of this. I have a grandson (the son of my son), who is in his 30’s - he was so cute as a little boy - I remember holding his hand as we walked along and us swinging our arms as we walked. I remember sweet little times like that. He grew up going to church. He has rejected everything about God and wants absolutely nothing to do with Him. He has been rude to his mother and father, and very disrespectful. Now - the reason I am telling you about him is to say that I have, with God’s strength and power, been able to LOVE HIM WITH AGAPE LOVE and, as I pray for him, I can honestly say that all the trash that he has said and done just fades away and an overwhelming LOVE FOR HIM JUST ALLOWS ME TO SEE HIM TURNING FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT. See - that’s the way I see God seeing Him - He knows all that he has said and done but His Agape Love just overcomes all the bad, and I believe that, as I pray for him, He uses His power and love to draw him to Himself at every opportunity. In other words, to make this understandable, this grandson, as he has pulled away from most of his relatives, he has been rude to them, but, for some reason, most of the time he has remained respectful to me, except for one time. I don’t try to preach to him, but he knows what I believe. For instance, there have been a few times that I have sent a text to him and I have said something like this: “Hi - just wanted you to know that I was thinking about you and I love you. I hope all is well.” He always responds respectfully. I imagine him thinking, “Yeah, she’s probably praying for me - Oh well, that’s Grandma! I know she loves me.” As I pray in the Spirit for him, I imagine him standing with his arms raised up to the Lord, praising Him.
See, I believe that God has ways of bringing people across his path that will somehow cause something to “open the eyes of his understanding,” as it says in Eph. 1:17-18. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom in the revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the rights of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”
By the way, as a side note - did you notice the phrase that that verse ended with - “what are the rights of the glory of his inheritance in the saints?” We are children AND HEIRS OF GOD - We don’t have to wait ‘til we get to heaven to walk in our inheritance - He’s already placed a lot of it inside our born again spirits! All we have to do is believe it and receive it!!!!
You’ve heard me say this before - but I believe it’s appropriate here - I believe that the LOVE OF GOD IS THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN THE UNIVERSE! GOD’S AGAPE LOVE FOR MANKIND HAS MOTIVATED ALL HE HAS DONE BY SENDING HIS SON TO TAKE ALL OUR BAD AND GIVE US ALL HIS GOOD.
Think of this for a moment!! The Creator of the Universe loves us so much that every single one of us can be in communion with Him all the time for the rest of our time here on this earth, and then be with Him forever. He’s given us His Word, His promises, His Love, His peace, His joy, and on and on……
I feel like we should just thank Him for a moment for all He’s done.
See - I believe that a huge amount of Christians do not really understand that there are two kinds of love - soul love and spirit love. Now there’s nothing wrong with soul love - what we feel for those we’re close to - our families and friends………. but when it comes to loving our neighbors as ourselves, loving our enemies, loving the ones who have hurt us, loving the unlovable, loving the ones who have lied to us, have stolen from us, even loving those who have hurt the ones we love - God’s Agape Love, in our new spirits, is the only way we can. We have to see ourselves as HEIRS OF THE LORD - LOOK AT IT THIS WAY, WHEN JESUS DIED FOR US HERE ON THE EARTH, (AND WE BELIEVED AND RECEIVED HIS GIFT), WE INHERITED IN OUR NEW SPIRITS ALL THOSE WONDERFUL WAYS THAT HE LIVED HERE ON THE EARTH.
I’ve seen so many Christians who are just trying to be loving and kind - out of their soul - their mind, will and emotions - and it isn’t working - and they feel like failures. Lots and lots of older Christians are living that way - but God wants us all to understand and live the lives He paid the price for us to have. We can walk in victory every day for the rest of our time on this earth.
Now - one little thing the Lord wants me to mention here is that so many older Christians just try, by putting a sad look on their face, and sounding sad, to get people in their lives to feel sorry for them because they’re OLD! Look at it this way!!! The older you get, the closer you are to getting to look into the face of this wonderful TRIUNE GOD - FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT.
Jesus was only 33 years old here on this earth, in His physical body, when He took all our BAD. THIS PRECIOUS SON OF GOD - WHO HAD NEVER SINNED - TOOK ON HIMSELF ALL THE PUNISHMENT FOR ALL THE BAD THAT MANKIND IN THIS WORLD HAS DONE - AND SUFFERED MORE THAN WE CAN EVEN IMAGINE! HE DID IT BECAUSE HE LOVED US WITH THE GOD-KIND OF LOVE - AGAPE.
He has placed that same kind of love in our new spirits. Now - I can hear someone saying on the inside - “Yeah - I believe that but I have a hard time getting it out of my spirit into my life on the outside.” WELL - I think all of us have struggled with that in all kinds of ways. There is only one way! It is the same way that you got saved! We had to believe deep on the inside of us that God really did love us and had paid the price for our sin. When we REALLY believed that - we had to say it with our mouths - so our own ears could hear it - AND THEN WE MUST FIX OUR ATTENTION ON THE FACT THAT WE HAVE THE SAME KIND OF LOVE IN US THAT GOD HAS - BECAUSE HE GAVE IT TO US - WE CONVINCE OUR HEARTS THAT GOD GAVE US THAT LOVE AND WE WILL WALK IN IT. WE WILL NOT HATE OUR NEIGHBORS, OUR ENEMIES, THE ONES WHO HAVE HURT US, OR ANYONE ELSE - BECAUSE WE HAVE THE POWER IN US TO LOVE LIKE GOD LOVES.
We must THINK like God thinks - instead of concentrating on the bad stuff. The more we control our thinking, the more we will find ourselves not having to deal with the hurt, the anger, the frustration, etc. that we are use to dealing with.
Now - listen to this verse - Ephesians 3:20 - “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Now - this is very important - this wonderful LOVE - THE GOD KIND OF LOVE - WHICH IS IN OUR SPIRIT - (along with all those other things we read about in that verse in Galatians) is what the POWER is which is what that is referring to. Remember God gave authority to mankind on this earth - therefore, we must CHOOSE - THROUGH OUR OWN HUMAN WILL - to use the authority which God has given us and we, therefore, believe that AGAPE LOVE is in our spirit - and we speak it out of our mouths. In other words, I say something like this, “Father, thank You that You have placed Your kind of love in me - in my spirit - and therefore I choose to love those who are hurting me - just like Jesus did. I release AGAPE out of my spirit - I WILL WALK IN LOVE LIKE YOU DO, LORD!!!!!
Now - I want to close this message today with one more realm of AGAPE LOVE - THE LOVE FOR OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN THE LORD. I’m going to read 1 John 4:7-8 - “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
God wants us to have such wonderful relationships with one another in the Body of Christ and the only way that is possible is through AGAPE LOVE - THE GOD KIND OF LOVE. No one person does everything perfect yet, says everything perfect, handles situations perfect, we all are a work in progress. But God wants us to walk in love with one another NO MATTER WHAT! The only way we can do that is by seeing people the way God sees them and loving them with His Love!
The LOVE in the Body of Christ all over the world is so powerful that - no matter what is different about us - we refuse to let anything keep us from loving one another. We might have differences in the way we see things, scriptures, people, attitudes, words, interpretation of scripture, and on and on - but His Agape - the God Kind of Love can overcome anything. We can forgive and let go of the hurt, the pain, the sadness, etc.
For me, I have learned in my almost 86 years to fix my attention on those words of Jesus, “Father, forgive them - they don’t know what they’re doing.” He spoke those words motivated by THE GOD KIND OF LOVE - AND SO CAN I!!!!!!!!!!! SO CAN YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Scriptures used for this lesson
1 Corinthians 13:4-8