May 22, 2001
One positive thing about Alberta winters is that extreme cold weather kills the bugs, at least most of them. We lived in California three times and have memories of turning on a light in the middle of the night and seeing critters dashing for the cracks. Yuck.
Cockroaches are probably my least favorite insect, even worse than mosquitoes. Did you know that they can live nine days without their heads before they starve to death? I don’t know if they jump around like chickens without their heads, but it wouldn’t surprise me. They are tenacious critters and have persisted on this planet longer than almost all other life forms.
Humans can survive a bit longer without food than cockroaches, up to about forty days, but we can’t do it without our heads. Our survival depends on having major body parts intact with all systems working.
Of course we need food to live. God even tells us to pray for “our daily bread” — but Jesus pointed out that we are spiritual creatures. We need more than food. He said, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
If our spirit needs proper food, just as our body does, what is our spirit? And how does the Word of God feed it? Obviously it is invisible — not like hands and feet — and seems more connected to our personality, even our emotions and intelligence. But it goes deeper than those.
Some say the human spirit is our conscience and intuition. It is the part of us that instinctively knows right from wrong and has the capacity for faith and worship. In Scripture, the term ‘spirit’ is sometimes used interchangeably with ‘soul’ yet they are not exactly the same: “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Also, Hebrews 4 says the Word of God divides soul and spirit.
The difference seems to be in function. Our soul is where we make decisions, think and feel emotions. These abilities can enhance or interfere with the work of our spirit. For instance, we are able to worship God in our spirit but our soul may not ‘feel’ like it or ‘decide’ not to. Our spirit may want to trust God but our intellectual ability argues with it.
Soul and spirit both find expression in the visible part of us, our bodies. Our worship may be an internal matter yet it becomes visible in the way we live, at least if the spirit is at work. However, the soul is generally active all the time (thinking, feeling, making decisions) but the Word of God says some people have a ‘dead spirit.’ That is, they are not physically dead but they have turned away from any interest in God or being godly. They do not have any sense of ‘knowing’ truth about God (faith) and are said to be “dead in their sins.”
Unlike a physically dead person, a spiritually dead person can be brought to life. God’s Holy Spirit is able to regenerate them through Christ. The life of Jesus starts new life in them, an ‘aliveness’ that begins in the spirit and then permeates their soul. The way they think and feel about God and spiritual matters is changed.
Those changes impact the whole person. Because they have faith in God and are worshiping Him, they begin thinking in new ways, feeling new emotions, and making decisions that please God. All this leads to new behavior, a changed lifestyle.
No wonder the Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ.”
A cockroach may be able to live nine days without its head and may be the longest living bug species but we can have something completely beyond its expectations. Because of Jesus Christ, we can live forever. We start by feeding our spirits on His Word, sharpening our conscience and giving ourselves Someone to trust and worship. As we do, new life begins. . . and it extends from the point of faith right on into eternity!