Section 3: Humanity
Week 2: God Created Us Body and Soul
Day 1: God Gave You a Body and a Soul
Do you have a soul? Materialism says, “No. Matter is all there is.” We like to think of ourselves as something more, but in reality, we are merely a composite of our material parts. The Bible takes a very different view. It frequently refers to an immaterial part of us.
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:27:28).
My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior (Luke 1:46).
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit (1 Cor. 7:1).
That means from a biblical perspective, the whole of who we are as human beings is more than the sum of our material parts. Without denying our material existence, the Bible insists God created us with an immaterial/spiritual side as well. As a result, we exist as body and soul.
An interesting concept, but does it make any practical difference for us? It does—or at least it should—because we tend to focus too much on the material part of ourselves. Think about your prayer life, for example. There’s a good chance it sounds a lot like this:
“Lord, please heal Marge’s gout. Help Tom find a job. Julie needs a new car. My shoulder has been acting up a lot lately. Could you do something about that? Oh, and could you make sure our missionary gets enough money to build that new school?”
That’s a request for a lot of material things—good things, but material things nonetheless. We pray like this, in large part, because we see our problems as material problems and the solutions as material solutions. However, many of our problems are spiritual. That’s important to remember because God is at least as interested in solving our spiritual problems as our material ones.
Some of us, for example, are unhappy, and we attribute that unhappiness to various financial difficulties. We think, “If I just made a little more money, then I wouldn’t have to worry.” Maybe that’s true. And if God were only concerned about your material side, he’d probably give you a new job or let you win the lottery.
For many of us, though, the source of our unhappiness isn’t a lack of money (or any other material thing). Our unhappiness stems from a problem deeper within our souls. When you get right down to it, we are all selfish—insatiably so. That means we’re not going to be happier just because we have more of something. Once we have it, we’re just going to want something else. If we’re honest, being satisfied with what we have is extremely difficult for us.
That’s a spiritual problem, not a material one. And God may lead you into situations that are designed to address that spiritual problem. He may, for example, choose to deprive you of some of the material comforts you’ve come to depend on in order to help you see you don’t need them as much as you think you do. He may, of course, take some other approach depending on what would work best in our specific circumstances. But if you’re a believer, the one thing he’s not going to do is ignore the problem.
Make a list of the difficult circumstances God has led you into over the last few months.
Do you think any of those difficulties were designed by God to help you grow spiritually? How did they do that?