I’ve only heard this spoken of in “charismatic” wings of the Body, but it is an extremely valuable gem, with very practical implications. Outside the charismatics, the only writer I’ve read who really breaks it down is Watchman Nee in his, “Spiritual Man”.
Here is this diamond seed ( i join Paul in mixing my metaphores–but perhaps unlike paul, i do so intentionally or at least with self awareness!) I found about five years ago…
We are tripartide, made up of three parts–spirit, soul and body. Each goes through a maturation process. The spirit is the highest, and is to be in charge of the others. This is God’s order. When we are born “again” our spirit is a baby, and not big or mature enough to be in charge of the rest of us–so often we need those with larger more mature spirits around us constantly, so that our soul doesn’t take the throne. But we are to be growing our spirits, until they are mature enough to govern ourselves internally. David says to his soul—be still, your not in charge.
Now we know that the soul is not bad in itself as the gnostics taught that all matter was evil; but the soul is also not the leader, but the spirit or inner man is. The inner man is what God’s Spirit communicates and communes with, and is like sort of the inner priest of highest authority within us.
The spirit matures, and needs nourishment–here you have the things of the spirit needing to be ingested in active form! Things are activated by The Holy Spirit. It needs to be real “spiritual” food, not just the religious form of food. It is not enough to just see people who believe in Jesus, we must actually commune, and actually fellowship–this is from spirit to spirit and is only possible through Christ. Lots of people think they can get their spirit fed just by going to the building or seeing enough people who call themselves Christians–that won’t do; you need to actually touch Christ in the people He has given you–it has to get spirit to spirit in order to provide food. The blood needs to flow from the different parts of the Body into and out from you, in order to be growing. We must get hidden in the Body–that is true fellowship, and is at least one aspect of growing or maturing our spirit.
“The might of our spirit, derives from the power of God’s Spirit…and our spirit needs to be trained.” Trained to discern soul from spirit. Man’s thoughts, from God’s. Spiritual realms from other realms etc. We are to be growing, ourselves able to, with His Word, divide spirit and soul! Hebrew 4:12 (remembering that 4×3 is twelve–ie completion). In order to divide what is spiritual from what is created from the soul realm, we must begin to discern this within ourselves–what part of this is my own thoughts from my soul; and what is from above coming into my spirit or my inner man. We need to know this, so that we can use the Word like a sword in ourselves!
This way of seeing ourselves, has practical implications. Watchman Nee writes the most clearly on this subject in his book “The Spiritual Man”–which is really a “chicken soup for the end times soul” book! This book is put out by Christian Fellowship publishers and so far is the most extended meditation on this teaching of the division of spirit, soul and body that I have yet come across. Very few believers I know, really experientially can discern between what is soulical and what is spiritual. This teaching hasn’t gone into the soil of the Body deep enough yet–but really must if we are overcome the level of darkness being released on the earth in our day.
My second cousin is perhaps Johnny Appleseed. He liked carrying seeds–not always understanding everything about them, but knowing they were extremely valuable, and also knowing exactly where they were to be planted. He left literally thousands of scattered groves all over the north american continent. I think that seeds are often more important than the fruit. In that the seed produces the fruit, and it requires more faith, and faith pleases God! Anyways, I’m still collectin em!