Next, we must deal with the soul. The first thing we must learn in dealing with the soul is to deny it. Two passages, Matthew 16:24-26 and Luke 9:23-25, tell us clearly that we need to deny our soul, which is the self. In the previous chapter, we have seen that the soul, our very self, is composed of three parts: the mind, the will, and the emotion. Therefore, we must learn to deny our natural mind, our natural will, and our natural emotion.
Secondly, the soul must be purified (1 Pet. 1:22), which is accomplished mainly by receiving the Word. The Word of God can purify the soul from so many fleshly, worldly, and natural things. Our soul is our self, our very being, which has been extensively damaged and occupied by fleshly, worldly, and natural things. Therefore, we must first deny our soul; then, the more we deny our soul, the more it will be purified by the Word of God.
Thirdly, our soul must be transformed (2 Cor. 3:18 and Rom. 12:2). Second Corinthians 3:18 says that we must be transformed, but it does not indicate in what part we are to be transformed. However, Romans 12:2 shows that we are transformed by the renewing of the mind. Transformation, therefore, is to be accomplished in our soul, because the mind is the leading part of the soul. After our spirit has been regenerated, our soul needs to be transformed.
The soul has to be denied, then purified, then transformed into the image of Christ—but for what purpose? We have pointed out that the purpose of the heart is to love the Lord, and the purpose of the spirit is to receive and contact the Lord. But what is the purpose of the soul? It is to reflect the Lord. In most versions the word reflecting is not translated in 2 Corinthians 3:18, but the meaning is in the original language. Reflecting is the function of a mirror, which with “unveiled face” beholds and reflects. The soul, by being purified and transformed, becomes the very organ, like a mirror, to reflect and express Christ. Thus, we love Him with our heart, we receive and contact Him with our spirit, and we reflect and express Him with our transformed soul. We must put all these things into practice in our daily life. Then our lives will verify that what has been explained here is entirely practical and really works.
(Excerpt from The Economy of God, ch. 7)