Our Human Spirit, by Witness Lee


In Acts 17:16 Paul was provoked when he saw so many idols in the city of Athens. When he saw the idols, he was provoked in his spirit. He served God in his spirit, and he was provoked in his spirit by the evil things that he saw.


In 1 Corinthians 5:4 Paul says that he even gathered with the saints at Corinth with his spirit. While he was absent, he said, “When you and my spirit have been assembled.” He was away from Corinth, but he was attending their meeting. His body was away, but his spirit was attending their meeting. Have you ever attended a church meeting with your spirit while you were away from that church? While Paul was away physically from Corinth, he was still attending their meeting.


Furthermore, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:13 that he could not find his brother Titus, so he had no rest in his spirit. Then in 2 Corinthians 7:13 Paul says that Titus’s spirit was refreshed by the Corinthians. Also, 1 Corinthians 16:18 says that some of the saints have “refreshed my spirit and yours.” The spirit of Paul and the spirits of the saints at Corinth all had been refreshed by some dear brothers.


In Luke 1:46-47 Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord” (present tense), and “my spirit has exulted” (perfect tense) “in God my Savior.” First, Mary’s spirit exulted in God. Second, her soul magnified Him. The spirit comes first, then the soul. The spirit exults in God; then the soul magnifies the Lord. These are two things. To exult in God is to fellowship with God in the spirit. To magnify the Lord is to express the Lord with our soul.

We have to fellowship with the Lord in our spirit, and we have to express the Lord in our soul. First, we fellowship with Him; then we express Him. First, we exult in Him; then we magnify Him. We exult in Him in our spirit, and we magnify Him with our soul. These two organs are for two kinds of uses. If we are going to contact the Lord, we have to use our spirit. If we are going to express the Lord, we have to use our soul. Our spirit exults in God, and our soul magnifies the Lord.


Second Corinthians 7:1 says that we need to cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and of spirit. We have the flesh, and we have the spirit. In these two parts we have to be cleansed from all kinds of defilement. Surely the spirit here is not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not need to be cleansed from any kind of defilement, but our spirit does.


First Thessalonians 5:23 is a verse we have to pay attention to and remember: “The God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Never consider that the spirit is the soul and the soul is the spirit. Some Christian teachers say the spirit and the soul are just synonyms. However, in verse 23 they are not synonyms, because there is the conjunction and—“spirit and soul and body.” Two conjunctions join three things. The soul is different from the body, and the spirit is also different from the soul. God comes into our spirit and spreads from the spirit to the soul and eventually from the soul to the body. Then we will be wholly sanctified—spirit, soul, and body.

If you say that the spirit is the same as the soul, then I would point you to the monkeys, the tigers, all the beasts, and all the cattle. Job 12:10 refers to the soul of every living thing. Every living thing includes the animals. We are a living thing and we also have a soul, but besides the soul we have something super, something higher—the human spirit. We are different from the animals because they have a soul, but they do not have a spirit. We have a spirit. We have something more, something super, something higher, for us to contact God. We were made in the image of God with such a super organ, the human spirit, to contact God.


Hebrews 4:12 says that our soul can be divided from our spirit, as the marrow from the joints. We know the joints are pieces of bones, and within these bones is the marrow. The marrow is contained and hidden in the bones, but is absolutely different from the bones. The bones are like the soul, and the spirit is like the marrow. The spirit is hidden and contained in the soul, and the soul can be divided from the spirit.


Philippians 1:27 says, “Stand firm in one spirit, with one soul striving together along with the faith of the gospel.” To stand firm we need to be in one spirit. To strive together for the preaching of the gospel, for the spreading of the kingdom of God, we need to be with one soul. To stand we need to be in one spirit, but to spread the gospel we need to be of one thought, of one mind, of one opinion, of one concept. This means that we need to be with one soul. So in one spirit is one thing; with one soul is another thing.


Finally, we must see that the Lord Jesus as life comes into us, but into what part of us? Second Timothy 4:22 says, “The Lord be with your spirit.” Nothing could be more clear or more definite. The Lord Jesus today is in our spirit. Hallelujah! Christ today is in our spirit. Never forget that Christ is the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) in our spirit.

First Corinthians 6:17 says, “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” Because Christ today is the life-giving Spirit, and we have an inner part, the human spirit, these two spirits come together and mingle and become one spirit. He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit. Now we have a mingled spirit. It is rather hard to say whether this is the Holy Spirit or the human spirit because the two spirits are mingled as one.

Romans 8:4 tells us to walk according to the spirit. What spirit is this? We should walk not only according to the Holy Spirit and not only according to the human spirit, but according to the mingled spirit. Now the Holy Spirit and the human spirit are mingled as one. Here on this earth, in this universe, there is a spot where Christ as the life-giving Spirit is one with us. Now we just walk according to this wonderful, mingled spirit. Christ is the life-giving Spirit within our spirit.

If we are going to know and experience and enjoy this life-giving Spirit, we have to know our human spirit. This is why our human spirit is so strategic. Our human spirit is the center of our being and the unique organ for us to contact the Lord; in our spirit we can be one with the Lord.

(Our Human Spirit, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)