1 Corinthians 2:10-16
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.(ESV)
In this passage Paul describes two types of people: 1) The spiritual person, 2) The natural person
Pneumatikos is the Greek word translated into the English “spiritual person”. Pneuma is the Greek word for “spirit”. A spiritual person is one who lives under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
Psuchikos is the Greek word translated into the English “natural person”. Psuche is the Greek word for “soul”. A natural person is one who lives under the influence of the human soul. A person’s soul consists of their mind, emotions, and will – what I think, feel, and want. A natural person is a person who lives under the influence of what they think, feel, and want.
Notice the natural person, the person living under the influence of what they think, feel, and want, does not accept the things of God. Why? Because they are folly (foolishness) to him. He CANNOT understand them because they CANNOT be understood by someone who perceives reality through the grid of their own thoughts, emotions, and desires. Spiritual things must be perceived via another perspective, a spiritual perspective.
1 Corinthians 2:9
9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—(ESV)
This verse immediately precedes the passage I quoted at the beginning. Notice that this verse provides the context for the verses just discussed. What is it that God wants to reveal to us? What is it that cannot be accepted or understood by those who live under the influence of what they think, feel, and want? The natural person will miss out on receiving all the good things God has planned for them!
So, in order to have the capacity to accept and understand all the good God has planned for me, I must first become a person who lives under the influence of the Holy Spirit. To become that person, I must no longer be a person who lives under the influence of what I think, feel, and want. I can no longer be a person who lives for my self, my psuche. I must die to my own thoughts, emotions, and desires. I must deny self.
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.(ESV)