Exercise the spirit (Meetings)

Stanza 1 of Hymns, #866 (#629 in the Chinese hymnal) says, "Human thought reject"; stanza 3 says, "Natural sense renounce"; and stanza 4 says, "Soulish life deny." The Chinese version of this hymn says, "Human mind (lit., brain) reject," "The emotions renounce," and "The whole soul forsake." Most people cannot understand how we can reject the human mind, renounce the emotions, and forsake the soul. Matthew 16:24 says, "If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me." Here the Lord speaks of denying our self. In verse 25 the Lord continues, "For whoever wants to save his soul-life (Gk. psuche, meaning "soul") shall lose it; but whoever loses his soul-life for My sake shall find it." These two verses show that to deny our self is to lose our soul-life. Luke 9:23-24 mentions the same matter, indicating that our soul-life is our self. When we say that we need to reject our soul, it means that we should reject our self.

In both the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke, the Lord Jesus speaks of our need to reject our self and forsake our soul-life (that is, our soul). Hence, the expression the whole soul forsake in hymn #629 in the Chinese hymnal has a scriptural basis, and we cannot say that it is wrong. However, this does not mean that our soul is useless. Our soul still has its function, but it must be renewed and transformed in order to become useful (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23; Col. 3:10). When we exercise our regenerated spirit to control our soul, our soul will be renewed and transformed and thereby will become useful. The mind and the emotions are parts of the soul. Since the natural man, which is our soul with its soulish life, needs to be rejected, our natural mind and natural emotions both need to be rejected.