II. THE SOUL NEEDING TO BE BROKEN
THAT THE SPIRIT MAY BE DIVIDED FROM IT
AS THE JOINTS NEED TO BE BROKEN
THAT THE MARROW MAY BE DIVIDED FROM THEM
If the joints are not broken but are whole, the marrow can never be divided from the joints. In order to divide the marrow from the joints, we have to break the joints. This shows that without our soul being broken, our spirit can never be separated from our soul. In order for the contents to be divided from its cover, its wrapping, the cover must be broken. This is basic. Our soul must be broken. If we let our soul remain whole, there is no possibility for our spirit to be divided from it. To discern the spirit means not only to realize the difference between the spirit and the soul but also to divide the spirit from the soul. Thus, there is the need of the breaking of the soul.
III. THE COMPOSITION OF THE SOUL—THE MIND, EMOTION, AND WILL—NEEDING TO BE DENIED
The soul is composed of the mind, emotion, and will. All these components of the soul need to be denied. We should not give any ground to our mind, our emotion, or our will. They all have to be denied in our spiritual life.
IV. THE DENIAL OF THE MIND, EMOTION, AND WILL
BEING THE DENIAL OF THE SELF
To deny our mind, emotion, and will is to deny ourselves. In Matthew 16:24 the Lord Jesus told us that to follow Him we need to deny ourselves. Matthew 16:26 compared with Luke 9:25 shows that our soul, our soulish life, is our self. The soul is the self. Thus, to deny the contents of the soul—the mind, emotion, and will—is to deny the self. Here we have to see that the denial is the breaking. To deny the mind, emotion, and will of our soul is to let the soul be broken. The real breaking of the soul is the denial of the self.
V. THE LIVING AND OPERATIVE WORD OF GOD EXPOSING AND DISCERNING THE THOUGHTS
OF THE MIND, THE INTENTS OF THE WILL,
AND THE DESIRES OF THE EMOTION
By the context of Hebrews 4:12, we can see that the living and operative word of God exposes and discerns the thoughts of our mind, the intents of our will, and the desires of our emotion. Because the word of God exposes our inner situation, it discerns our entire inner situation. This is because the word of God is living and operative. To be living refers to the nature of God’s word, and to be operative refers to the function of the word. The word itself is living, and it operates, functions.
All the saints, including the older ones, need to understand why Paul mentioned the word of God for the dividing of our spirit from our soul. This is because every time God speaks to us, His word always exposes and discerns our inner situation. Hebrews 4:12 is mentioned based upon the fact that God spoke to the children of Israel, charging them to go on directly into the good land. What God spoke to them exposed their inner situation and made their inner situation clear to them.
The children of Israel were absolutely in their soul. They were considering how tall and strong the Canaanites were and how weak they were. The Canaanites were giants and big in number, and the children of Israel were small in number. They were considering all these things and were afraid of the Canaanites. This consideration, this thinking, was in their soul. Then the word of God exposed and discerned this to show them that they were in their soul. They did not exercise their spirit like Joshua and Caleb did. Joshua and Caleb did not remain in their soul. The Bible says that they had a different spirit (Num. 14:24, 30). They were exercising their spirit, so they had the faith.
Paul compared the staggering Hebrew believers to the children of Israel in ancient times. To Paul’s registration the Hebrew believers were staggering. They were not clear what to do, whether to remain in Judaism or to go on. They were in their soul not in their spirit. So Paul spoke the word of God to them to expose their inner situation and to help them to discern that they were in the soul not in the spirit.
By this we can see that every time we read the word in the Bible in a living way, the word always either requires or demands something of us. This demanding word, or requiring word, always exposes and discerns our inner situation so that we know whether we are in the soul or in the spirit. To discern our spirit, we need to receive the living word. The more we pray-read the Word, the more it becomes living to us. This living word shows us where we are, in the spirit or in the soul. It is by this that our soul is exposed and our spirit is discerned from our soul. The word of God always shows us our inner position and inner situation. If we are to discern the spirit from the soul, we cannot stay away from the living and operative word of God.
(Basic Lessons on Life, Chapter 20, by Witness Lee)