Let’s look at some of the functions of the spirit as it relates to the soul and the body. We have seen that the spirit is God-conscious, the soul is self-conscious, and the body is world-conscious. It is very important to understand that the soul is self-conscious. Whenever people are focused on themselves—their own problems and needs—they are operating in the realm of the soul.
The primary activity of the spirit is union with God. It is the only part of man that can be directly united with God. In 1 Corinthians 6:17, Paul said, “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him”—not one soul, not one body, but one spirit. The great privilege we have with our spirits is union and communion with God. The highest activity of man’s spirit is worship.
Man’s soul contains these three elements: will, intellect, and emotions. The will is the part of me that says, “I want”; the intellect is the part that says, “I think”; and the emotions are the part of me that says, “I feel.” Together, these three components make up the soul.
The body is world-conscious; through the senses, the body contacts the surrounding time-space world. God’s original purpose was that man’s spirit should direct his soul, and that his soul should direct his body. The spirit can direct the body only through the soul. There is one exception to this, and that is speaking in tongues. That is why speaking in tongues is such a unique experience. When we speak in tongues, our spirits control the physical member, the tongue, without the soul’s involvement. That is why it is such a tremendously important experience.