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Yesterday in the late evening after a phone call I suddenly felt or somehow “heard” inside me the title I chose above, “Discerning Spirit and Soul”. Immediately I wanted to start writing a blog article but it was late, almost midnight. Yet I could not get rid of this title inside my mind! It was as if it was strongly imprinted in my heart, too. As I felt no inclination to start writing so late and I had no idea what to write about this issue, either, I started a search on Google on this topic, adding T. A. Sparks. What I found there spoke to me, indeed. Although I have not read the whole article, I tried to keep it as short as possible and pasted what you can read further below.

Did you know that a soulical person can confess Jesus, work for God, but has NOT been born again from above? 🤔 Such a person only works on their soul level and thinks if they want something strongly, it must be God’s will. If they are emotionally drawn/attracted to a person, a project or a ministry, they are tempted to think that their feelings came directly from God. And if something speaks to their mind and reasoning, they say, “This is logical and wise”. They are convinced it is God’s wisdom they share in such a case. This is a big deception, dear brothers and sisters!! Although I believe that everyone who seeks God and the truth will find Him in the end, danger arises when people have stopped questioning themselves as they think they got it all figured out.

From what I have seen, watched and read, I am afraid that at least 90%, if not 95% or more, of the people who are Christians do not know that they do not know the real God yet. 😔 From hence, in order to deepen our understanding and discernment, I want to offer you this excerpt from one of TAS’ articles. Sparks also describes how a false (crossless) conversion takes place, which is very often the case, I presume. On the other hand, someone can truly be born anew and get sidetracked by focusing primarily on these new experiences of the soul. This is another danger TAS explains.

“Or read what Jude says about this natural man, verse 19: “These are they who make separations, sensual (soulical), having not the Spirit.” Those two things are set over against one another, having the Spirit and being soulical. What does ‘having the Spirit’ mean?

Well, it means that the human spirit has been raised from its place of dormancy, renewed, born again, and become the vessel of the Holy Spirit. Any such one is expected, therefore, to be pre-eminently spiritual on that double ground that their spirit has been born anew and the Holy Spirit is resident within, and therefore, they are not soulical pre-eminently, and these things will not be, or should not be, “who make separations” because they are soulical: “not having the Spirit”. This clause says that the soulical man who is pre-eminently soulical, has not the Spirit. It says, to make that more emphatic, that the child of God is altogether, or should be altogether, above the mere works of his or her soul. Is it not true that Satan’s successes come through the soulical nature always? “These are they who make separations…”. What is it that makes separations of this kind? Jude is not talking about those separations which are legitimate, that we are to separate ourselves from everyone who walks disorderly, but these kinds which are of the Corinthian character: “I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ” because of the natural element triumphing. Well, the cause of these things is just the soul life, either in its reasonings, or desirings, or in its willings. The remedy for these things is, as Paul points out to the Corinthians, that that natural man should recognise Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and that the Spirit should be pre-­eminent in the believer. […]

I ask you: how many, comparatively, of the Lord’s people and the Lord’s servants today, have a clear perception of the difference between soul and spirit, and have a working apprehension of it so that in their ministry they are able to recognise and discern that difference and work accordingly? Comparatively very few. So that our evangelical work is carried on on the basis of a psychology which is not scriptural, and the soulish nature of man is the ground of both. Man in nature is appealed to; if only his reason can be persuaded and his emotions moved and his will influenced to act on certain presented propositions – and you have got a conversion! Nothing of the kind. Conversions do not take place on that level. That which is born again, born anew is not the soulical man, it is the spiritual man. The soul can no more be born anew than the body. It is the spirit that is born anew. The soul derives the benefit, but do not confuse effects with causes. 

A truly born anew one, whose spirit has been renewed by the Holy Spirit, will have a change in the soul life, but the changes in the soul life will be the effects and not the cause. The danger is to go off on your effects and make them everything. Your new feelings, your new way of thinking, your new sense of purpose, new desire, volition, choice; they are the fruits not the cause, but people take up the effects and begin to make the effects everything and circle around an experience. And that is the danger of everything; that they have got back on to another level. It is important to recognise that. You get a young convert, truly born again and he begins to move out on the effects of the new birth, the new feelings, that which comes through to the soul as the good of the birth of the spirit, they move oulout on that and if you have had much experience you feel you want to give them a little caution. But it is not always wise to sit on their new enthusiasms; they will not understand, or begin to restrain.

But you know the danger, and if you are wise as a watcher of their souls, you will wisely, gently, carefully, without chilling, dampening, you will seek to keep the fundamental things in view because you know that in a month or so they will come up against something when these outer things will not be what they were, and when the blossom begins to fall and the winds blow, they will begin to question whether, after all, it was but an emotion, or whether it was real. And you know the danger of that hour. You want to understand, and be able as a wise nurse of souls to point out… yes, do not confuse the effects with the cause; you were born deeper than that and you have to learn to stand on your spiritual feet without a sensation; in the long run you have to learn to stand with the Lord where you have not a feeling of any kind. The soul cannot be born again any more than the body just now. It is important to know that and to recognise it.” (Emphasis added)


All images © Susanne Schuberth 2020