Spirit Soul Body Integration

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

I was all set for my flight. I was on the plane, seatbelt buckled, scanning the movies to make the time fly by! Suddenly, the pilot made an announcement. We needed to deplane because there was “no gas in the plane.” It was grounded. No fuel, no flight.

We get this concept in the natural realm. No one questioned that the flight couldn't go without gas. It makes perfect sense, (although not great for traveling schedules!) But, have we stopped long enough to consider the same concept in the supernatural realm?

We know our fuel is the empowerment of Holy Spirit. But, is our gas tank hooked up to it? I think that most of us would say, “Of course!” Why then, don’t we live like it? I don’t see much evidence of miracles and breakthroughs taking place like the new Jesus followers experienced after Pentecost. How many of us have spoken to a lame man and told him to “Walk in the name of Jesus Christ,” as we stopped for gas on our way to church? I haven’t, have you?

So, where does the disconnect lay? I have an idea that may help.

We know we have a body and we use our mind and emotions all day, every day. We also exercise our will as we make decisions. Our mind, will and emotions are known as our soul. Body and soul. What’s missing? Our most true and important aspect of our personhood: our spirit.

Wait, is that the Holy Spirit? Yes and no. Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are made in God’s image. God is a spirit so to be made in his image includes a spirit. Each of us was created with a spirit, but the choice is up to us whether we want it to co-mingle with Holy Spirit.

Colossians 1:22 tells us that we stand in God’s presence holy, blameless and without a single fault. This reality happens because our spirit was resurrected at salvation. It will never change. It is our soul and body that take us off track and get us into trouble.

When asked to describe the three aspects of our personhood, 9 out of 10 people will answer, “Body, soul and spirit.” They put our spirit last. Why? This is the part of us that God made in his image.

God has a different priority: he flips it and recognizes spirit, soul and body. In fact, we are first a spirit, who has a soul and operates from a body. Paul reinforces this order in 1st Thessalonians 5:23-24:

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

Spirit, soul, body. We are a spirit, who has a soul and operates from a body.

You may be asking, “Why is this important?” I am glad you asked. Remember the plane without gas?

Most of us live our lives with our soul in charge. We may live with our mind in front. The only challenge with this is that “we can’t think our way into the kingdom.” Some of us let our emotions choose our path; the only issue with this is often our emotions lead us away from God’s purposes. What follows when our soul is in charge, is that our spirit, which is always awake and alive, gets relegated to second position and isn’t able to fully access the “gas” which enables us to live like Jesus.

Some of us live with our body in charge. When our bodily needs and desires lead, we are often led into temptations to satisfy our body that lead us directly opposite from where Jesus is inviting us to go!

We taught this concept at the Reclamation Journey retreat and it has revolutionized our lives. Suddenly, what used to be hard to master becomes simple.

The struggle to eat healthy food with appropriate amounts shifts into a desire for healthy food once we call our spirit to lead. The relational struggle with our spouse, child, (fill in the blank), quickly shifts into harmony and sometimes even, fun. Our ability to focus and be productive dramatically increases. Even our finances respond when we live aligned with God’s order: 1. spirit, 2. soul and 3. body.

Most importantly, when our spirit is given permission to lead, our spiritual tank is filled with the gas of Holy Spirit power. Rather than being choked by our soul (mind, will and emotion), our spirit becomes fully free, fully alive and fully fueled. This is a simple prayer I pray each morning:

Thank you, Holy Spirit, that your spirit and my spirit have become one in Christ. I call my spirit to attention to align to your direction through the supernatural power you release in me. I call my soul and body to submit to your Spirit leadership. I anticipate your presence, blessings and kingdom to come forth all day long, as I walk in the power of your Spirit! Amen.


  • Remember a time when you experienced the “gas” of Holy Spirit power. How did it feel?

  • Consider what aspect of your spirit, soul (mind, will and emotion), leads most often.

Do Something:

  • Make a commitment to switch up your order. Consider a daily practice of praying the suggested prayer, (or your own), for 30 days. Journal as you walk it out!

  • What questions do you have? I’d love to dialogue with you more about what life with our spirit in the lead can be. Comment on Facebook and let’s start talking!

If this subject interests you and you are curious to know more, register for a free advance e-copy of my new book coming out later this fall: Unboxing God: Reclaiming Faith in a Post-Church Culture.

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