What is man 5 – Guarding your Spirit

The aim of this devotional Bible Study is to reflect on the spiritual nature of man, and the effect of sin on it.


Malachi 2:13-16

13  And this second thing you do. You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. 14  But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.

15  Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. 16  For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the LORD, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the LORD of hosts.” So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.

Observations and reflections

Context: the prophet Malachi calls for moral reform in Israel about 400BC, specifically focusing on the priests.

  1. In simple words try to define the problem (or sin) which the prophet addresses. [verse 14]
  2. How does God make a married couple one? [verse 15]
  3. What do you learn about the effect of sexual unfaithfulness on the human spirit?
    1. What does that suggest on the nature of sin in general?
    2. What does that suggest of the nature of sexual relationships?
  4. Malachi says the man who divorces his wife “covers his garment with violence” (verse 16) – what does he mean to say with this strong imagery? [hint: read the rest of the verse…]
    1. What effect does divorce have on the human spirit? [verse 16]
    2. Why do you think this happens?
  5. Malachi repeats the phrase “So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
    1. From this context, what does “guard yourself in your spirit” mean?
    2. In a more general context, what does “guard yourself in your spirit” mean?

Personal reflection and prayer

“We are spirits having a human experience.”  Relationships are at their core spiritual, and sexual relationships so much more intense.  For more on the spiritual nature of our sexuality read “It’s not just sex

  1. When were you the most acutely aware of your spirit? Reflect on those moments. What made you so aware of your spirit?
  2. In response to Malachi’s this word, how will you “guard yourself in your spirit”? [don’t rush over this]
  3. Reflect on your innocence and joyfulness and hopefulness in your youth; how has your spirit been damaged over the years? Pray Paul’s prayer for restoration and preservation of your spirit: “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”