Every animal God made (humans included) has a visible aspect, a body and an invisible aspect, a mind. To human beings alone among all God’s physical creatures He gave a second invisible aspect, a spirit. That spirit allows Humans to communicate with God. Together the mind and spirit comprise the soul. It is through the spirit that the human soul can be saved. And that spirit must be in control for salvation to occur. All other creatures have only minds so their souls are made up of just animal minds with no ability to communicate with God. While there may be some sort of eternal life for those creatures, it is unclear what that is or how it works. Perhaps it is salvation by innocence?
The human mind (just like any other animal) controls its associated body, but the human spirit (alert and in communication with the Holy Spirit) controls the associated human mind. At least that is the intention, but suppose any of those three aspects (body, mind or spirit) never gets developed. What happens? Atrophy – a weakening or degeneration of that aspect.
Unfortunately that is the condition of the human being who has never or barely exercised his or her spirit. Under those conditions the spirit wastes away and loses strength and is unable to control its associated animal-like mind. At that point, such a human is only under the control of its mind and consequently behaves like an animal. In all likelihood, that person is okay with that condition and would find it difficult to change. We can see the effects of that all around us – humans acting like animals with little or no desire to change (see Romans 8:5).
Proverbs 22:6 tells us “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” That proverb recognizes the high level of inertia in the mind. A child growing up with a strong governing spirit will more easily fulfill God’s intention than an older newly reborn individual. Why is that? Because a newly strengthened spirit must also act as an animal trainer.
A lion tamer uses a whip and a chair to train his animals. Whips and chairs would be of little use in the domain of the spirit, so how does one train the inner animal mind? The most common devices used are God’s Word and prayer. There are other things that can facilitate training such as crises. But crises are not so common and are often dramatic and painful but nevertheless very effective in bringing the inner animal under control.
No matter how or to what degree a human spirit has gained control over its associated mind, that mind must still exist and function. It is necessary to control all the functions of the body. The mind manages such things as eating, breathing, running, sleeping etc. So in a human being there is a constant struggle – a tension between mind and spirit. Sometimes the mind wins the struggle – sometimes it doesn’t (see Romans 7:15). The stronger the spirit, the more frequently it wins. Sin can be the result when the mind is in control and directly disobeys the spirit. Sin doesn’t always happen at that point, but that’s the time when it can happen. (see Romans 8:8) However, when the mind is in obedience to the spirit and when that spirit is in communion with the Holy Spirit, sin is not possible.
So, how’s your inner animal? It’s too much to control by yourself. You need help. You need the Holy Spirit. That’s why Jesus made a helper to be available to you. (see John 14:16-17,26, 15:26,16:7-15).
I trust you’ve made the proper connections so the Helper can get to you.
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