Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

What is the Soul and How Does God Heal Soul Sickness?

My soul magnifies the Lord - Luke 1:46

What is the human soul as revealed in the Bible?

The soul is your psychological part composed of your mind, will, and emotion. It’s the part of your inner being created by God for the purpose of reflecting and expressing Him.

Listen to what Mary the mother Jesus said after she became pregnant with Jesus,

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has exulted in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:46-47)

First, her spirit exulted in God her Savior. That indicates that she contacted God with her spirit. Then, her soul magnified the Lord, that is, she expressed Him.

So you can see from this verse that there is a  difference between the soul and spirit of man. They are two different parts, each possessing their God-created purpose.

However, due to man’s fall, both parts–spirit and soul–were severely damaged, losing their God-created function. As I mentioned in another post, “Three Ways Man’s Fall Poisoned You,” our spirit became deadened, unable to contact and receive God and our soul was ruined unable to reflect and express God.

This inherited defect of soul, left  us with a soul sickness that needs God’s healing through our cooperation.

So in this post I’ll consider the three parts of  your soul from the Bible along with three practical points  for healing soul sickness. By such a dealing your soul can  become useful in fulfilling its God-created function of reflecting and expressing Christ.

Your soul is composed of three parts—mind, will and emotion

If we’re going to reflect and express Christ through our soul, it first helps to see how God made our soul with three parts–mind, will and emotion.

First, your mind is the part of your soul that knows, considers, and remembers.

Psalm 139:14 says, “Your works are wonderful, and my soul knows it well.” Also, in Lamentations 3:20 it says,  “My soul remembers them well…”  This indicates our mind is part of our soul because knowing and remembering are both functions of the mind.  God gave us a mind to know Him, consider His works, and to understand  and remember His Word.

Second, your will is the part of your soul that makes decisions, chooses, refuses, and seeks.

Job 7:15 says So that my soul would choose…”  and Job 6:7 My soul refuses…”  Since choosing and refusing are functions of our will, it’s clear that our will is also a part of  our soul. God gave us a free will so that we could choose Him and the divine will and refuse Satan and the satanic will. This is why the Bible can end by saying in Revelation 22:17, “Let him who wills take the water of life freely.”

Third, your emotion is the part of your soul that expresses love, hatred, joy, grief, and desire.

In 1 Samuel 30:6 it says that “the soul of all the people was bitter…” and in Song of Songs 1:7 it says, “you whom my soul loves.”  Since bitterness and love are both emotions, this proves that emotions are part of the soul. God gave us emotions so that we can love Him and rejoice in Him and hate sin, Satan and all that issues from the satanic source.

God’s remedy for your soul sickness and how to apply it

Now that you’ve seen the parts of your soul from the Bible you might be asking, “How can my soul be healed of its sickness and restored to its God-created function of reflecting and expressing the Lord?”

Remember what I said before about the damage to your soul through the fall of man. In it’s fallen, natural state, your soul can not reflect or express the Lord, rather it is a hindrance to Him.

In Matthew 16 there is a case of  Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples,  rebuking Him for mentioning that He would soon go to the cross and die. Peter said, “Lord! This shall by no means happen to You!”  He blurted out a rebuke  to frustrate the Lord from going to the cross. This was against God’s plan that Christ should die on the cross to accomplish redemption for us.

Jesus turned and said to Peter, Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me, for you are not setting your mind on the things of God but on the things of men. Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself…” Matt. 16:24

So we should never think that our soul–our natural mind, will and emotion are suitable for God’s purpose.

Rather, we need to take three basic steps in order for our soul to be healed so that it can fulfill its God-created function:

1. Deny your soul

First, we need to learn to deny our self, our fallen soul–our natural mind, emotion and will.  This is like the Lord telling Peter, “You are not setting your mind on the things of God…”  Then He told His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me let him deny himself...”  

We need to stop ourselves, reject our natural reactions with our natural thought, choice and feeling and turn deeply to the Lord in our spirit by calling on His name.

2. Purify your soul

Second, we need to allow the Lord to purify our soul. After denying our natural soul, or self,  we still need our soul  to be purified by the Word of God.  In 1 Pet 1:22 it says,

“Since you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth…”

This purifying is like the cleansing by the washing of the water in the Word in Ephesians 5:26. If we want our natural soul to be purified, we need to spend more time in God’s Word to be washed. This is a real healing to our soul sickness.

3. Be transformed in your soul

Third, we need to cooperate with Lord so that He can transform our soul. Not only do we need to read the Bible,  but we need to spend adequate time in the Lord’s presence, beholding Him and having fellowship with Him in prayer, so that He can renew our mind and transform our soul into His image. Paul said,

“But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.” 2 Cor. 3:18

In this way, our soul can be healed to reflect the Lord, expressing Him as God originally planned.

“Lord, thank you for creating me with a spirit to receive You and a soul to reflect and express You.  Lord teach me to deny my self–my natural mind, will and emotion. Purify my soul daily by the washing of the water in Your Word. May each part of my soul–my mind, my emotion and my will–be transformed by Your Spirit so that I can reflect You and You can be expressed through me.”

If you’ve been helped to see  your soul according to God’s Word and God’s way of healing your soul sickness, please share it in a comment below.

References and Further Reading:




About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

52 Replies

  1. Jennifer Lee

    Thank you, brother, for your post! I especially appreciated the word, “stop” in step number 1. It seems like it should be so easy to do, but I find that I race through my day after morning revival with little to no “stopping” at all. Is this, or was it ever, your experience?

  2. Brenda

    This was so helpful!

  3. Chigbu Odoemelam Chilee

    Thanks brother Tom Smith,The bible verses substantiated the functions of three parts of the soul.The self is My enemy(myself)

  4. mia bella

    Thank you. Our pastor spoke on this very subject today….Very helpful

  5. yvonne

    Then what is the purpose of our emotions in a healthy way that we need to use our emotions instead of our spirit to express joy, peace, love, hatred etc.

    1. Tom Smith


      Our spirit is our God-contacting and God-receiving organ. When we call on the Lord Jesus from deep within, we use our spirit to contact Him. John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit…” However, our soul, composed of our mind, emotion and will, is our God-expressing organ. In Luke 1:46-47 Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit has exulted in God my Savior. For Mary’s soul to magnify the Lord was for the Lord to be expressed through her soul. Yes, it is through our transformed emotions that we can express God’s love, joy, peace, compassion, kindness, etc. and even His hatred for sin, self, Satan and all that God hates.

      1. Oladeji bolarinwa

        The teaching is impactful. Thanks sir

        1. Tom Smith

          I’m really glad you found this post helpful. thanks for sharing.

  6. Tony

    Thank you for reminding me of the teachings of Watchman Nee who in his writing The Spiritual Man first instructed me on the position of the soul relative to the spirit and the body.

  7. Eric Tetteh

    Mr. Tom Smith,thank u,am greatful

  8. Demarrius

    Awesome teaching brother.

  9. Valerie

    I have been doing a lot of studying on healing the soul and this article was very helpful. Thank you for posting?

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you enjoyed the post. The real healing of our soul is a matter of allowing the divine life to spread into all the parts of our soul–mind, emotion and will. We need to cooperate with the inward working of the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2, 6) by setting our mind on the spirit by means of God’s word mingled with our prayer. As we fellowship with the Lord in His word with thanks, praise, singing we make our soul joyful in the Lord. Paul did this even while he was in prison for the sake of the gospel (Acts 16:25).


    wow. this discussion is phenomenal. you are God’s gift to us whose searching for true healing from inside out. i worked as a medical professional for 14 years and i know theres more to that and this is great explanations to my search for healing skills from The Lord. thanks Broth in faith. continue to share in our enlightenment. God bless You more

    1. Tom Smith

      This is God’s way to recover us–from the inside out. When we turn our heart to the Lord and believe in the Lord Jesus, God regenerates our human spirit with His incorruptible, divine life (Rom. 8:10). Then He continues to spread His divine life into all the part of our sin damaged soul through His transforming process (8:5-6). We need to cooperate with Him by daily setting our mind on the spirit, by minding the things of the Spirit, the things of God conveyed to us through His Word in the Scriptures. God’s words are medicine to our inner being when we keep themin the midst of our heart (Prov. 4:20-22). Then from our soul, God works even to impart life to mortal body (8:11, 13), which ultimately issue in our glorification at the time we meet the Lord Jesus.

  11. Nadine

    My soul is very sick,my emotions are broke,I know that I have been putting my Lord on the back burner even thou I try to keep Him in every hour of my day,it’s not enough , He speaks to me so much,I am guilty of not loving Him and myself enough to stay in His word daily,
    He diagnosed me this morning after a emotional breakdown,physical pain and feeling like I will snap in my life. I am so thankful I know Him and I hear Him I am Blessed with knowing. So reading this today was a Blessing and I thank God for the teachers He puts in place,when I needed them most. God Bless you.

    1. Tom Smith

      Just read the Word with a prayerful spirit. It is spiritual food and medicine to our soul. Proverbs 4:20-22 says,

      20 My son, be attentive to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.
      21 Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart.
      22 For they are life to those who find them, And healing to all their flesh.

      God’s words become life and healing to us when we touch the essence of His word by means of prayer.

      1. Sharon

        Awesome teaching as I am on the journey to heal my mind body spirit and soul..
        Thank you.

        1. Tom Smith

          I’m so glad you’re enjoying the posts. We all need some measure of healing in our soul. I especially appreciate God’s marvelous way of meeting our need and at the same bringing us into His central purpose. We are plagued by the damage of the fall. Yet, all the problems in our old creation body and soul become the means to make us more desperate to come to the Lord. And this is what God wants. He desires that we would be dependent on Him even as we depend on the air, water and food. Through our living contact with Him in spirit, eating, drinking and breathing the Lord Jesus, we’re supplied with His Spirit and gradually conformed to the image of Christ. What a wonder!

  12. Totally blessed by this article! When I was a young teenager I was attracted to Watchman Nee’s teachings, but many folks at that time (Puerto Rico) were confused with the Eastern way of expressing the Teachings of our Master, Lord Jesus. Just this morning I had written something about “Soul Sickness” on my Facebook. Been going through bursts of “Soul Sickness” for a few days, and was going to do some research on the subject. Just this morning after calling on The Name, I was led to write on an internet search “Soul Sickness,” and this article came up. I am thankful for your ministry and for these words… Alleluia!

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you enjoyed the post on “Soul Sickness.” Our Lord is our real Physician who cares for our total case in such a loving way. We need to visit our Physician every day and also enjoy Him as our real Prescription! Thanks for the comment!

  13. Lisette Quintana

    thank you for sharing your thoughts on spirit. I too have always been interested on this topic for myself and for those I love. Its important to be able to share with those you care for spiritually and I believe people are not interested in their spiritual aspect of their inner being, Their more focus on the exterior of oneself.

    1. Tom Smith

      So true. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). Also, in Isaiah 66:2 it says that God looks to a person who is of a contrite spirit. God’s dwelling place is in our spirit (Eph. 2:21). So we need to discover this deepest part of our being and then learn to contact God with our spirit (which is of the same essence as His–Spirit. See John 4:24). The simplest way I’ve found to contact God with my spirit is call on the name of the Lord Jesus from deep within: “Lord Jesus!” (Rom. 10:12-13; 1 Cor. 12:3)

  14. Michele A

    I have felt like a sickness that isn’t bodily strange rather. I thought maybe my soul is ill so I did a search and came across your article. It made everything more clear and concise. Thank you for your wonderful writing I appreciate it!

    1. Tom Smith

      I’m glad you found this post helpful. God needs us for the fulfillment of His eternal plan. Since our personality is in our soul, we need our soul to be healed from the damage of the fall. God is willing to renew us day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). However, He still needs our cooperation. We cooperate by denying our soul, our nature self (Matt. 16:24), allowing our soul to be purified and cleansed by God’s living word (Eph. 5:26) and by exercising to set our mind on the spirit and things of the spirit, so that we may walk according to the spirit (Rom. 8:4-6). In this way we can become the vessels useful to our Lord (2 Tim. 2:21) for the fulfillment of His plan. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  15. Bertha finch

    i appreciate this word so much definitely needs a soul healing

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you were helped by the post. Because of the damage of the fall, we all need the healing of our soul. This is the operation of the divine life in us through God’s living Word and life-giving Spirit. May we learn to exercise our spirit in prayer to contact the Spirit and the Word so that God’s life can heal all our inward parts. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  16. Post so helpful um on my journey for soul healing n I have been given clarity on what I have to work on.

    1. Tom Smith

      Every human being has been damaged by the fall, having a soul in need of the Lord’s healing. Our Lord Jesus, as our great Shepherd and Physician, is fully able to restore our soul (Psalm 23:3). However,we do need to give Him our cooperation. That is, we need to come to Him each morning to to enjoy His word by means of prayer or pray-reading. It is also helpful to muse on His word during the day. These simple practices along with singing spiritual songs and hymns can make our soul happy in the Lord…and a joyful heart is good medicine (Prov. 17:22). Such practices allow the Lord to come in to heal our soul.

  17. Hi, I love your teachings very much. I feel like my soul is so sick from backsliding that’s there’s no remedy. I suffer with anxiety so bad I can’t even go to church, I’m so scared. I’ve become a prisoner in my mind and home. Do you have any material that can help? I can’t live like this much longer. Even verses in the Bible make me feel as though God is done with me. Thank you.

    1. Tom Smith

      Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17). His living Word enables us as Paul said in Col. 3:2 to “Set your mind on things above, not on the things on the earth.” As we look to away to Jesus, He infuses us with Himself as the strength to run our course to the finish (Heb. 12:2; 2 Tim. 4:7). I would encourage you to pray God’s word simply to receive the nourishment in it. For example, Pray a few verses of Paul’s epistles each morning and evening. Follow my tips in my post, 12 Tips on How to Pray-read the Word of God to be Spiritually Nourished. For healthy listening, I would recommend the podcast series of Radio Broadcast Life-study of the Bible with Witness Lee.

  18. Tee

    Does this teaching also apply to people who have experienced trauma such as abandonment, abuse, victims of crime, soldiers who have PTSD etc? How do these events wound the soul and impact our ability to express God in our lives?

    1. Tom Smith

      I am not a specialist trained in treating psychological disorders. As such, I would never try to give an opinion on how to treat people suffering from these conditions. Neither would I try to discourage one suffering from such a condition to neglect professional therapy. However, I can say there is relationship between our spirit and soul. The spirit is hidden within the soul like marrow concealed within a bone or joint (Heb. 4:12). Since Christ as the eternal life dwells in the believers spirit (Rom. 8:10) this life can spread into our mind when we set our on the spirit and the things of the spirit causing our mind to be one of life and peace (vv. 5-6) That is why it is so therapeutic to read the Bible with prayer and sing to the Lord.

  19. Bethel Simeon

    Thanks a lot for your help through this article. I have been battling with the consequences of been sexually molested from childhood and now God’s healing stream is flowing this channel.

    1. Tom Smith

      So thankful you received help through this post. It is so good that we can look away from all our past to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2). As we look unto Him, He infuses us with what He is. He’s the all-sufficient One, the One able to meet our real inner need. He wants to apply Himself as the spiritual ointment, especially to the hurting and wounded parts of our soul. We just need to turn to Him and let Him be our real Physician (Matt. 9:12). Come to Him by means of prayer with the Word you’ll enjoy divine life enlivening your troubled soul (John 5:39-40; 6:63) Thanks for the comment.

  20. Stephany Andujar

    I love how you explained this process, it’s so clear and helpful. Within my own process I also incorporated denying myself by fasting to humble my soul like David did.

    1. Tom Smith

      What we are speaking of in this post is not a miraculous healing but the normal operation of the divine life spreading into all of our inward parts. Our human spirit, regenerated by the Spirit of God (John 3:6) is the base for this divine operation. As we come to the Lord in our spirit by means of prayer and the Word, He spreads Himself as divine life into all the parts of our soul—mind, emotion and will to transform us (Rom. 12:2). Through such a process our soul is being renewed and healed by His life (2 Cor. 4:16). The most effective way I’ve found to deny myself is to turn from my mind to my spirit. Exercising our spirit by calling on the Lord, praying and singing His Word are all effective ways to set our mind on the spirit (Rom. 8:6) to enjoy life and peace. Fasting can also be helpful when we do it according to the Lord’s leading such that we concentrate our whole being on Him in prayer.

  21. Roberto Medal

    Question: in the commandment to love our God, Jesus specifically say “with all your soul, with all your mind”…

    If the soul is a composition of the mind also, why does Jesus separates the two “soul and mind” ?

    1. Tom Smith

      Mark 12:30 says, “And you shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart and from your whole soul and from your whole mind and from your whole strength.” I believe the point here is that we love the Lord our God with all our being. That is, from our heart, through our soul, our mind, to our body. Initially, this love for God is hidden inside our heart but then spreads outward until it is expressed in living deeds of love through our body. Our mind is the leading part of our soul. Since our soul is expressed through our mind, our mind becomes a necessary part of the channel through which our love for God proceeds outward.

  22. Virginia D Henley

    Thank you, Tom. Here it is, 2020, and your message has endured. I knew that the word “depression” didn’t begin to cover what I have been feeling. It was not until I heard myself in prayer saying that my soul felt damaged that I was able to find your take on the issue. The value of your work is beyond what? It is just beyond..

    1. Tom Smith

      I so glad you found the post helpful. Our soul is composed of our mind, emotion and will. We need to exercise our soul in prayer. For our mind it is good to pray, “Lord I believe in Your word.” For our emotion, it is good to daily pray, “Lord Jesus, I love You!” We can exercise our will to pray, “Lord, I turn my heart to You.” Thank you for your comment.

  23. Michael martin

    My question is can a Christian feel empty . I have feelings of emptiness .

    1. Tom Smith

      Yes, even after we have been saved, we may feel empty if we fail to come to the Lord in faith. In John 6:35,”Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall by no means hunger, and he who believes into Me shall by no means ever thirst.” We must learn to “eat Jesus” every day by touching the Spirit in the Word. Call on the Lord Jesus as you read the Bible and say “Amen!” to His word. Thanks for the comment. Hope this helps.

  24. peter wambugu

    more transformed in the soul.give more about it

    1. Tom Smith

      For more on transformation I would recommend you read this article on transformation.
      For a more thorough study of transformation, I would recommend the Life-study of Romans, especially Messages 25 and 65, by Witness Lee. You can read it for free at ministrybooks.org

  25. Timothy J Rose

    Awesome words my brother. Thank you for your contributions!

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you enjoyed the post. My the Lord bring you into a rich experience of the Word you have received through your reading. The Lord’s renewing, sanctifying and transforming work is not only a healing to us but the work the Lord desires to make us useful in carrying out His eternal purpose. Thank you for your comment.

  26. Rev P .Welbeck

    Great work bless you I will like you visit me in Ghana Africa

    1. Tom Smith

      For more appreciation of the parts of man—spirit, soul, heart—according to the Bible, I would recommend a prayerful reading of the book, The Economy of God. In chapters 6-11 of this book, Witness Lee develops a clear understanding for what our inward parts are and how to deal with them in light of God’s word. You can get a free digital download of the book from RhemaBooks.org or BfA.org/books

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