The Difference Between Your Soul and Spirit

Several people expressed that this post previously titled, “The Vision of the Stained-Glass Lamp”, was misleading or not informative enough as pertaining to the title!  These same people expressed just how edifying the post was and intimated that all Christians should read this article.  So…in the interest of sharing this valuable information, I have decided to re-post it with a “new and improved title”…


I had this vision not too long ago and decided that it might be a good idea to share this with whoever could appreciate it.  Some truths are best left for personal edification, or in other words, some things are not meant to share with others until God has spoken His grace and wisdom into the revealed knowledge.  There are times when I know for sure that a vision or revelation is meant to be kept private, sometimes it becomes apparent that time and process must be the prerequisite before sharing, and sometimes Holy Spirit gives the “green light” because the word is needed immediately.  The vision I am about to share is one of a dual nature in that I know without a doubt that some will receive it and be edified and some may simply be confused by it. I say this because I know it was foreign to me at first as well.  But when I awoke this morning, I was compelled to finally write it down and offer it up to whom it might help.

Another note before I move forward:  sometimes you can have a vision or a divinely inspired dream and really have NO clue as to what it means, and other times the vision is abundantly clear.  There have been times when I had a vision and was completely clueless as to its meaning and it can take days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years to fully comprehend the meaning thereof.  Of course there are situations where the Spirit speaks the meaning at the same time as the revelation.  If you are a person that has visions or dreams and know (or suspect) that they are divine, you need to learn an important fact concerning these things:  It can be detrimental to “spout it out” immediately!  I have learned this lesson the hard way.  In our enthusiasm (especially if one is new to life in the Spirit), we want to immediately share…this is sometimes not the best approach.  God, in His mercy and grace, will forgive us for our carelessness, but we must also mature and try our best not to make the same mistakes repeatedly.  The vision I will share now will be followed by the interpretation so there is no confusion…enjoy.

The Vision

There is a lamp sitting on a simple wooden table.  The light is on, but it is obscured.  There is light pushing through the top where the lampshade is open, and there is light pushing through the bottom of the lampshade as well.  But no light is coming through the lampshade for it is black.  I reach out to the lamp and feel the lampshade.  It is covered in a wax-like substance.  I also feel that there is much texture to the lampshade:  I feel lines and ripples and some smooth spots as well.

The light coming from the top and bottom is one of a yellowish nature and is not very bright at all.  All that is visible is the top of the table that the lamp sets upon and a faint tracing of illumination that chases up the wall behind it.  Then something happens.  The light starts to become brighter; it transforms into more and more of a white light.  Even though the light is transforming from yellowish to more of a pure white light, still nothing is seen through the lampshade.  It looks very much like the lamp was on a dimmer switch that was slowly being increased in intensity.  As the intensity increased, I found myself fixated on the lampshade and began to see a little detail of the underlying lines.  It looked to be a very organic design of lines, almost like the venation of a clear insect wing or the system of capillaries in a leaf.  The light continued to increase in intensity.

At some point in this process, the waxy coat on the lampshade began to take on a shiny appearance very much like candle-wax when it is heated up by a flame.  Then drips of wax began to pelt the wooden table and the floor beneath.  More and more of the design of the lampshade began to emerge and small ripples of light were reflecting off of the wall behind the lamp.  As the light continued to grow brighter, the wax began to literally flow off of the lampshade and I began to see many brilliant but muted colors begin to emerge from the lampshade.  It was stunning to see the stained glass emerge from underneath the wax and every second revealed more and more of the breathtakingly beautiful design of the lampshade.  The lines that were only felt by the hand initially, became a web of fragile and slight traces of form; the muted colors hidden under the wax became a rainbow of brilliant colors.  The kaleidoscope of colors began to reveal a most stunning design!  I cannot describe the beauty of that lampshade with words, but the colors were almost unearthly and even in the seemingly random array of lines and panels of stained “glass” there emerged beauty beyond comprehension.  It was a sight to see!  The once simple and obscured form of a lamp became a brilliant and stunning stained-glass lamp whose beauty is beyond the scope of words to describe.

At some point, the brightness became too intense to behold and my eyes were forced to leave the focus of the lampshade.  As I turned around to avoid being blinded, I noticed that the lamp was casting a stunning array of bright colors all around the room!  How magnificent I thought in my spirit and a feeling of warmth began to flow from my heart and pulse outward to my extremities.  That is where the vision ends.

The Interpretation

The key elements condensed for simplicity are as follows:  the lamp is your body, the lamp shade is your soul, the yellow light is your spirit or “the breath of life”, the white light is the Spirit intermingling with your spirit, the wax is sin or “the human condition”, the table is where God has placed you, and the room is your circle of influence.  I know that is a lot of information; let the condensed interpretation of elements root into your understanding and reflect again upon the vision.  Think of the elements and the agent of transformation.  Meditate on this for a while and let your understanding be steeped in the divine nature contained therein.  I am going to give a more complete explanation, but I want you to experience the Truth for yourself.  When you are ready, continue to read on.  Sometimes, if not in every instance, a revelation can affect each individual differently.  Find your gift of grace in the revelation and take ownership of each element…make it personal and unique.

Now I will discuss briefly some valuable truths.  First of all, if you are like me at all, most of us confuse the spirit and the soul.  The Bible tells us in several places that there is a difference.  The definition of the soul is that part of us that contains our thoughts, will, and emotions.  Our soul is where we feel the human struggle of free-will, where the emotions of love, hate, and many others twist and turn within us.  Our soul is what really makes up what we refer to as our personality, our intrinsic human nature, and our self-definition of who we are.  The spirit is the eternal part of what the Bible refers to as the “breath of life”, the spirit is the part that is “created in God’s image”, the spirit is sometimes referred to as the “ghost in the machine”, and the spirit is most importantly the beacon and communication media or connection to God.  The spirit is what makes a human divine, what sets us apart from the rest of creation, and what God prizes above all else…in a nutshell, it makes you supernaturally special!  Again, the soul is your thinking, it is your emotions, it is your control-center of decision-making, and it is the awareness of existence.  The soul is the “battleground” of who you are and who you can or will become.  The spirit can be hidden, the spirit is not always recognized by all people, the spirit is divine in nature, and the spirit is eternal.  Can you begin to see the difference?  I know this is a hard truth.  It took me quite a while to distinguish the two intellectually and even longer to identify the “voice” of each.  Don’t be discouraged if this seems confusing at first…it is natural and actually necessary.

The Explanation

Now I am going down a path that might lose a couple of folks.  Here is a fact of life:  one of the primary and initial works of Holy Spirit is to make a distinction between your spirit and your soul.  We are all caught in a condition where the soul and the spirit are intermingled…hence the confusion of which internal “voice” we are hearing!  We have all asked the question at one time or another (as a Christian) of, “Was that God speaking to me or was that just my mind or imagination?”  When a person is “born again”, they are born as a baby…not a full-grown adult.  Babies don’t understand human language initially, they have to become familiarized and taught communication.  It is the same spiritually speaking.  Babies can cry for a need and the parents can respond, but babies must mature and be fed milk.  You can take this metaphor through its logical progression.  Think of it this way, when you are born spiritually into the kingdom of God, you will be confused or overwhelmed at first.  One of the first things Holy Spirit must do is to make you aware of your spiritual nature and to separate your human “self” (or soul) from your divine “self” (or spirit).  This can take a while!  Depending on your commitment and your unction “to seek God with all of your heart”, it can take months or it can take a lifetime.  Unfortunately, some people never get there!  It is a damning accusation that begs to be disclosed that in the kingdom today, we have a lot of babies crawling around and dangerously few who have committed to maturing as Christians (maturing in the spiritual person)!  Even the apostle Paul complained that some were “still drinking milk” and were not ready for “solid food”.  It is sad that people will receive the ultimate gift from God but never even unwrap the present!  Oh well, enough of that…I just hope that you are one of those who wants to know more, who wants to truly know God, who hungers and thirsts for His presence, and will never give up when the going inevitably gets tough!

Over time, Holy Spirit will help you make a distinction between the soul and the spirit.  By the way, the Bible also refers to the soul as the “heart”.  Once this work is complete enough, you will begin to understand the awful condition of your soul.  You will be shown that it is covered in iniquity and darkness and evil.  That’s a hard pill to swallow!  I feel your pain.  When you are allowed, in the light of the Spirit, to see your actual condition it will bring you to your knees in repentance.  Remember, repentance is the “changing of your mind” or “changing direction” but still holds to the “old school” notion of recognizing just how sinful our intrinsic nature really is!  Like the lampshade covered in black wax, there is a potential beauty underneath, but when Holy Spirit first separates your spirit from your soul, it is not pretty or lovely or anything other than dreadful.  But once you see “you” for who you really are, the process of sanctification and purification can take place!  You see, many people are unaware of “a better you”; they think that the cloudy, yellowish light is all that is meant to be.  This is sad because if you study God’s Word, you will see clearly that He wants us to be a “light in the world”, that He has plans to “prosper you”, that He sees the beauty underneath, and that to be put through the heat and fire of purification can allow your divine beauty to emerge!  We must not become impatient in this process.  I know we live in a microwave, electronic, “I want it all and I want it now” world.  This is an ungodly construct and feeds off of our fallen nature, the ever consuming lust of the flesh that never brings true happiness.  All good things are worth the effort, and anything of value has to be earned!

Special Note:  I hear a lot today from the “Grace Doctrine” folks out there.  I want to clarify a point or two.  First of all, grace IS free; forgiveness is in confessing Christ as Lord, all the power you will ever need is in the hands of Holy Spirit that lives in you as a new creation, and God only sees His Son when He looks at you:  all of your past, present, and future sins have been forgiven, washed in our Savior’s precious blood.  BUT the word disciple is from the root word of discipline.  God has always been and will always be a very specific and detailed personality.  There is a process and a maturing that yields a closer walk with God!  I don’t want to take up a lot of time “going there”, but suffice it to say, God’s gift is by faith in Christ and it is your job and honor to open, explore, and embrace that gift.  Do you know where I’m going here?  Holy Spirit will not “possess” you and cause you to automatically do the right thing and seek a deeper relationship with Him.  It is still a choice every single day to “take up your cross”; God will not step on your proverbial toes by making you a slave to His will!  You must choose Him every day, you must seek Him as the love of your life, you must “study to show yourself approved”, and it is your responsibility to continue to walk the pathway of enlightenment.  The two most intrinsically human and powerful things we have at our disposal (with or without God) are forgiveness and freedom of choice.  Forgiveness is independent of God and an action on our part; freedom of choice is our own decision to pursue God or to pursue our own selfish agendas…God won’t make you forgive or make you choose Him!  O.K.  Enough of that.  Let us continue.

So once Holy Spirit has separated your soul and spirit and after Holy Spirit has allowed you to see the awful condition of your soul (or “heart”), then the work of purification can begin.  As you begin to grow and be enlightened in the spiritual, your light will continue to intensify.  Holy Spirit and your own spirit will begin to intermingle.  I cannot overstate the intimacy here; when I say intermingle, I mean in a very intense love affair kind of way.  When your spirit and His Spirit become more and more intermingled, your life will show it!  People will begin to take notice of the “it factor” that you now have.  These things are difficult to put into words, so forgive me for the language.  Your light begins to intensify because it is not your light…it is His light.  He is the sun and you are the moon; you begin to reflect His glory.  As this light grows brighter and brighter, it begins to melt the wax.  In the vision, you must remember that the heat of this process will cause your “true colors” to become visible; who you really are in Christ will become manifest, and the beauty of your unique soul will begin to emerge!  You see, you were formed in your mother’s womb, you are deep-down beautiful, you contain within yourself all of the ingredients for a magnificent life!  It has been there all the time, but you were unable to see it because it has been covered in the wax of a sinful nature.  Following me so far?  Not only is your true self in Christ gorgeous, but it is also very unique.  No two people are the same; each is a unique creation of God Himself.  He fashioned you and God doesn’t make junk…as I hear this phrase tossed around.  So by being in His presence, He melts away the sin and reveals not only to you but to others as well, the wonderful creation that you are!  Isn’t that awesome and life-changing?  It is rather lovely how this process works.  By being in His presence,  He transforms you into the holiness that is part of walking in the Spirit.  How many times do we switch the order?  We feel we must make ourselves holy to be acceptable to God.  He says, “Come as you are, seek Me and my kingdom, and I will transform you.”

As we allow Holy Spirit to do His work in our lives, it will sometimes be painful, sometimes glorious, sometimes peaceful, sometimes confusing, and all the time moving closer to Him.  This process produces “fruits of the Spirit”; this is not the same as the “gifts of the Spirit”.  The gifts of the Spirit are for ministry and doing His work in the kingdom.  We shouldn’t confuse the gifts with the fruits of the Spirit!  We must understand the difference.  Sometimes the Spirit will give us a gift for a while to minister to others and some gifts are latent and permanent; just because we may be anointed in His power for a season does not necessarily mean we are a mature Christian.  The Spirit uses us in all different stages of maturity!  It comes and goes based on our commitment to “love our neighbor as ourselves”; if we engage in ministry (helping others), then the Spirit will empower us or “anoint” us to accomplish the business of doing the Father’s work.  This is independent in many ways of the inner workings of the Spirit to produce the fruits of the Spirit.  The inner work of the Spirit is the intensifying of the light within, burning up the sinful nature and exposing our divine and awesome nature (in the vision, it is the exposing of the mosaic of light and color of your soul by melting the wax).  The inner work of the Spirit is, in my humble opinion, much more important!  Many people, including myself, have let pride eat our lunch when we experience the anointing because we think we have somehow “earned” this anointing!  Christians may be anointed for a season to do the Father’s work, but still lack the internal maturity of the inner working of the Spirit.  Sometimes we will experience the Spirit’s anointing, but when the ebb occurs, we feel responsible and ask, “What did I do wrong?” or “Where did He go?”  If you think back throughout your life, you will identify this phenomenon quite easily.  Do you see the difference?  Gifts are for service; fruits are outward manifestations of sanctification.  And the reason I stated that the inner work of the Spirit is more important is based on the following progression:  the main fruit of the Spirit is love, true love comes from God through you to others, you cannot love with a pure love until you experience God’s love, and Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13 that all works of service without love are meaningless!  Pretty simple, don’t you think?  If you are not familiar with 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, then I highly suggest that you read it…it is, or at least should be, the cornerstone of our spiritual walk in the Spirit.

So this brings me to the conclusion of this article.  I hope you enjoyed my sharing of this wonderful vision.  I can assure you, it is not of my creation.  But I feel blessed to have been given such a stunning truth to share.  Think about the table that the lamp is setting on; think about the room that the lamp is placed within.  As you grow in your relationship with God in the form of His Holy Spirit, you will begin to really manifest what Jesus refers to as “letting your light shine”.  People will recognize it and ask you about it.  This is the perfect time to share what the light inside you is!  You see, the sharing of the gospel is one of shedding your inner light outward to others; it is attractive.  When the Spirit reveals more and more of your personality in Christ, you are awesome to behold!  People will want what you have, listen to what you have to say, and take you seriously when they see the supernatural manifestation of the Spirit shining through you and casting your colors before you and behind you and in all directions.  Your circle of influence will increase as more light is filtered through your mosaic of color and attracts others to Christ in you!  Do you see the profound implications of this vision for you?  Praise God!  It gives me chill-bumps!

The Exhortation

Let this be a turning point for you in your life.  If you are new to this as an unbeliever, let me tell you that this gift is for all!  No matter how awful you think you are, no matter how mired you are in sin, no matter how hopeless you feel, God can and will transform you into an unbelievable work of art!  Ask the Father to wash you in the blood of Christ, to forgive you of your sinful nature; tell Him you receive the sacrifice of His Son and make Jesus Lord of your life.  Ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit.  He will do it if you will only ask.  Seek Him in prayer, seek Him in His Word, seek out others walking in the love of God (you can find most of them in a good church), and live in hope and peace knowing that God ALWAYS keeps His word.  Everything and everyone in your life will eventually let you down, but He never will!  If you are a believer, re-commit your life to Him.  Take God up on His promise to sanctify and purify you and transform you into what He sees in you.  Let the vision I just shared with you be a foundation and let the Spirit guide you in the meditation of what it means for you personally.  Think of all the divine progressions of this truth.  Imagine what your light can look like, imagine how it breathes life into the phrase “love others as YOURSELF”, give yourself permission to fall in love with your true nature in Christ.  You are dearly loved and God wants to show you just how gorgeous you can be.  Imagine the impact a group of fully committed Christians could look like.  Let your mind and your imagination be led by the Spirit and see your own vision of who God wants you to be.  Remember, you were worth dying for, and you are God’s most prized possession.  Let Him reveal to you just how darn precious you are to Him and how masterfully you were wielded and molded into a unique work of art right from the hands of the Almighty God.  You are a mosaic of color and detail waiting to be exposed by the light of His Spirit!  Let Him do His work by submitting to the process of His melting away the wax that has hidden the beauty of your true self.

May the Lord bless you richly and guide you steadily closer to the flame of His Spirit,