Healing of the Human Spirit


This account follows on from our teaching set out in “Change”, the teaching manual of recovery from addiction.

This recovery program results in a “spiritual awakening” (Step 11), with consequent healing for the soul. Spiritual growth is provided by following the previous steps, and Step 12: sharing with others, i.e. no longer self-focused.

When someone is suffering from addiction we speak of them being spiritual bankrupt; their human spirit having become too feeble is unable to minister to their soul, to bring about the comfort and healing necessary for freedom.

The Twelve Steps provide healing through a spiritual awakening, but in themselves do not provide a complete healing of the spirit, which is what is being considered here.


  • To understand the nature and functions of the human spirit;
  • The ways in which it can be damaged;
  • To discover keys for healing.
Nature and function:

We are made in the image and likeness of God as tripartite beings and we have body, soul and spirit.

In addictions all three are afflicted.

Through experience of His love, of His Spirit, by means of our spirit, we reflect God’s image, and model His likeness.

Our spirits come from God Himself; just as in the beginning He breathed His spirit of life into Adam, such that he became a living soul (Genesis 2:7); He places and forms the human spirit in each one of us (Ecclesiastes 11:5; Zechariah 12:1).

Primary functions of the Human Spirit
  • To provide life:

Just as the primary function of the Holy Spirit is to impart life (Gen 1:11, 2 Cor 3:6); our soul’s life is dependent on our human spirit (James 2:26). Therefore when the human spirit returns to God, and stops feeding life to the body and soul, then the body dies and returns to the dust (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

Jesus was so much in command of His spirit that, as a last act before He died, He committed His spirit into His Father’s hands (Luke 23:46).

  • To communicate with and worship the Creator.

The Holy Spirit witnesses with our spirit, not with our emotions; that is where true life-giving communications take place, as Jesus explained to the woman at the well (John 4:24).

  • To act as a means of communicating life with others.

Just as the Holy Spirit’s primary job is to communicate comfort and healing to the human spirit, so the human spirit’s function is to communicate comfort and healing to others.

Love is imparted, a touching of spirits; however, in the case of a damaged spirit there may be a negative impartation.

Secondary functions:
  • To comfort and strengthen body and soul; and that of others.

The Holy Spirit is a comforter and encourager.

The human spirit is also meant to communicate comfort and add strength to the body and soul. When we are weary and depressed it is the job of the human spirit to comfort us (Psalms 42:5&11; 43:5).

This comforting of our human spirit begins even in the womb before we are born!

…when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41 & 44).

It follows that words spoken, or traumatic situations, may affect the spirit of a child in utero for good or ill.

When ministering to an individual this is an avenue which may require gentle exploration.

  • To understand and know the mind and things of God and man, by means of intuition.

The Holy Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10).

The Holy Spirit communicates truth and revelation (John 16:13) to our human spirit, chiefly through the scriptures. The human spirit then reveals that truth to our soul (Psalm 103:1-5), and on occasions by means of our will to others. This is the means by which we receive our knowing intuitively, both about God and about ourselves (1 Cor 2:11).

The Holy Spirit may also reveal truth to our human spirits, not only for ourselves and our own comfort and healing, but also for the comfort and healing of others (Matthew 7:1-5).

  • To bring conviction through the conscience.

The Holy Spirit convicts but it is impossible for any person to convict a person of their need of the Saviour; that is the job function of the Holy Spirit:

…and when He comes He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin… (John 16:8).

In the same way the human spirit is used to convict a person, through their conscience, of right and wrong. It is possible, however, for the conscience to become hardened through turning from God’s Torah (teaching) despite the revelation received:

“For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes…have been made intelligible and clearly discernible through the things that have been made, so men are without excuse (Romans 1:20).

This is often the case in addictions where desire and craving for the “thing” overrides all urgings of the conscience, with resultant bad choices; hence “spiritual bankruptcy”.

  • Creativity:

The Holy Spirit was active in the creation of the world (Gen 1:2), and also in the creation of humans (Job 33:4).

To a much lesser extent the human spirit is also meant to be a vehicle for creativity, the difference being that our creativity is a “secondary creativity”; relying and drawing inspiration from God’s creation, eg music, art, architecture.

  • The Holy Spirit is a facilitator of the plans of God.

God as the Holy Spirit puts His plans into action, as in Genesis 1:2 and Matthew 1:18. It is also within our spirits that we receive the gifts (Ephesians 4:8-20) and the fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) of the spirit.

  • The Holy Spirit is the One who empowers:

But truly I am full of the power of the Spirit of YHVH… (Micah 3:8).

Examples are found throughout scripture, eg Elisha (2 Kings 2:14), Samson (Judges 14:6), Gideon (Judges 6:34). It is the Holy Spirit who empowers the body of Christ. Jesus warned his disciples not to move in their own strength, promising the Holy Spirit to His disciples and future believers in Acts 1:8.

When refined our human spirits come to mirror or image the Holy Spirit (Hebrew = mar’eh; Song of Songs 2:14 where it is usually translated as “face”).

The human spirit is also meant to provide power and strength to the body and soul.

The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain or trouble, but a weak or broken spirit who can raise up or bear?(Proverbs 18:14; Psalm 51:17); only the Holy Spirit.

Increasing in Spiritual Strength:

Growth will be hindered if there is a failure to turn from “soulishness”; from darkness to light (Acts 26:18; Rom 6:11). This means having done with all wrong choices that might stimulate the pleasure centre (body); and memories, emotions, and fantasies (mind).

Growth follows continually choosing not to satisfy wrong desires, which is repentance.

Two problems spoiling the peace in the lives of many are unforgiveness and acquisitiveness (Matt 6:14-24).

The value of the 12 Step Program is that it leads to a spiritual awakening, putting out the fire of the pleasure centre and addressing triggering mental attitudes.

There are at least eight ways of increasing in spiritual strength:

  1. Fellowship with God, in particular a “quiet time” reading and meditating on His word;
  2. Praise and worship by the individual afflicted;
  3. Fellowship with believers; together with prayer for the sick, suffering and overwhelmed, on a specific individual basis;
  4. Being conscious of the prayers of Jesus who intercedes for us on His throne (Lk 22:32); being conscious of His presence; self-examination in the light of scripture, as distinct from obsessive self-absorption.
  5. Speaking in tongues, which may be a consequence of such adoration, possibly the unspeakable yearnings uttered by the Holy Spirit on our behalf in our weakness, which is referred to by Paul in Romans 8:26;
  6. Work;
  7. Spending time with friends and family;
  8. Creative expressive activities such as music, dance, cooking, gardening.
Types of Damaged Human Spirit

The Bible refers to various types of impairment:

  1. A Timid Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • Causes: generational wounding; early trauma in the womb, at birth or as a young child; adult traumas, accidents, war
  • Characteristics: need reassurance, draw back from new situations, guarded in relationships and life, unwilling to trust, sensitive to criticism
  • Symptoms: unable to comfort their own soul and body, or to reach out to others.
  • Scriptures: 1 John 4:18; Psalm 34:4; Psalm 35:4; 1 Thes 5:14


2.  An Imprisoned Spirit (Psalm 143:3-4; 142:7)

  • Causes: domination or control by others; bondage & legalism; inappropriate strictness in the family; failure to make own choices
  • Characteristics: isolation; independence; control of self and others, false guilt and fear.
  • Symptoms: poor communications and relationships; distortions of revelation and intuition
  • Scriptures: Isa 61:1; John 8:32; Ps 68:6; Ps 102:20; 40:1-3; 103:4; 142; 107:10-16; Isa 42:7.


3.  A Crushed Spirit (Gen 37:35; Eze 21:7)

  • Causes: inappropriate burden bearing, particularly when young; harsh leadership or parenting; shamed by authority figures or peers (bullying); inner vows.
  • Characteristics: constant grief; self-rejection; low self-worth; despair and sadness; self-pity; suicidal thoughts.
  • Symptoms: unable to comfort, sustain or empower own body and soul.
  • Scripture: Ps 34:18; Isa 42:3


4.  An Orphan Spirit (Ps 109:22)

  • Causes: lack of bonding with parents, as young child or even in the womb; lack of nurture.
  • Characteristics: difficulties forming and maintaining relationships; insatiable need for love; striving for acceptance; searching for a father or mother figure.
  • Symptoms: difficulties bonding with Father God; inability to give or receive love; never known deep love.
  • Scriptures: Ps 139:13; 27:10; John 1:12.


5.  A Defiled Spirit (2 Cor 7:1)

  • Causes: sexual immorality or abuse; occult involvement (own or generational); Freemasonry; idol worship; bitter root judgements.
  • Characteristics: interest in occult; sense of un-wholeness in spirit and uncleanness.
  • Symptoms: lack of awareness of God’s presence; inability to worship.
  • Scriptures: 1 John 1:7; Heb 9:14; Eze 36:25.


6.  A Broken Spirit (Job 17:1; Pro 15:13; 17:22)

  • Causes: loss with deep sorrow; traumas in womb and birth; rejection; betrayal; abuse; accident and trauma.
  • Characteristics: sadness of face; premature aging; sleeplessness; constant and inappropriate weeping; many physical infirmities; emotional symptoms; dependant and fearful; insecure; hopeless and desolate; over-sensitive; inability to trust anyone; death wish.
  • Symptoms: breakdown of communication; difficulties in relating to God n prayer or worship.
  • Scriptures: Isa 61:1; Ps 34:18.
Guidelines for ministry:

There can only be guidelines as God deals with us all individually, and therefore there is no formula.

Aspects to consider are:

  • Compassion is essential; whenever Jesus ministered we are frequently and repeatedly told of His compassion for those afflicted (Matt 14:14; Lk 7:13, etc). Compassion is the doorway through which our human spirit touches another person’s spirit.
  • Ministry should be to people of the same gender whenever possible to avoid a situation of inappropriate soul ties.
  • Some measure of inner healing may be necessary before God can bring full healing to our human spirit, such as occurs in addictions, habits and attachments; release of emotional pain; inner vows, such as “I’ll never forgive him/her”; curses, which may be generational; beliefs, perhaps relating to the occult.
  • Opportunities to show and experience love: affirming socialisation, volunteering, adoption of pets, walks and talks, etc.
  • The human spirit never sleeps, so is able to receive even when the person is unconscious, e.g. drunk or in a coma. Affirming scriptures spoken over them may bring healing. This is borne out in the case of people suffering from dementia.
  • Where the spirit is damaged, the soul will rise up and try to take over the spirit’s functions.

This may become manifest by soulish behaviour; e.g. soulish talk; soulish worship, prayer and prophecy; soulish ministry or soulish control. Soulishness is about ‘me’ not God. This has to be acknowledged, then confessed and repented of.

Our human spirit can be crushed by damage in our soul; sometimes even just by the emotions evoked through the recollection of unpleasant or shameful memories. In the 12 Step program this is where steps 4–10 bring healing.

The soul that is not loved by the spirit may look in inappropriate paces for comfort, love and strength. This self-rejection could lead to disease or substance misuse. The key to healing is love; knowing you are loved by God and by others, and to return love (The Law of Love).

  • Encourage the one receiving ministry to thank God, to offer praise; even worship, perhaps in tongues.
  • It is important to minister spirit to spirit, and not to rely on your own mind and emotions. This will involve speaking scriptures and God’s truth to the heart of the person you are ministering to; this must be Holy Spirit led, perhaps through speaking in tongues.
  • At some stage we will need the Holy Spirit to expose what has been lost and hidden and for that essential connection with the Lord, spirit to Spirit to be made.
Importance of Creativity

Whatever the nature of the spiritual damage, to be healed the spirit needs to obtain expression; hence the value of praise and worship.

Worship is a prime expression of our creativity; someone who is receiving prayer for spiritual healing should be invited to praise God, by giving thanks for all manner of things and for what is about to be received. They might then be encouraged to join you in speaking in tongues.

In addition, new pathways of expression need to be explored, which is best done by experimenting with our creativity.

We may not feel that we are artistic or gifted but as human beings we are all creative. As we step out and explore we may give expression to those areas of our hearts that have been hidden, damaged or crushed. The very act of expressing “the real me” brings healing at the deepest level.

Maybe you have had a deep longing to do something particular, e.g. paint a picture or play a musical instrument? Acknowledge that desire before God and seek Him as to how He can help bring that about in your life!

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed (Psalm 20:4).

Jesus came to bring us an abundant life. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).


Zechariah 12:1: This is the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares:

Genesis 2:7: The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and blew (naphach) into his nostrils the breath (neshamah) of life (chay), and the man became a living soul (nephesh).

Ecclesiastes 11:5: As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.

Genesis 1:27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

2 Corinthians 3:6: He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant— not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

James 2:26: As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Ecclesiastes 12:7: And the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Prov 16:24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

John 4:24: God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.

Luke 23:46: Jesus called out with a loud voice, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. When he had said this, he breathed his last.

John 14:16-17: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you for ever— the Spirit of truth.

He would be a ‘parakletos’; one who would draw aside as an encourager: John 14:16.


Sources: Flame International

Healing the Human Spirit by Ruth Hawkey, published by Sovereign World, Ltd