This is a question that every man and woman should be sincerely asking of themselves! We need to understand that God gave each one of us a physical body to house our spirit in. The spirit in which we have was given also by God and will NEVER die. Each one of us will someday experience a physical death, one in which our body will die and return to the dust of the earth but our spirit within will live forever. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). God will take back into His possession the spirit in which he gave us in the first place. This is why we need to realize that we do not have any right to treat this physical body that we have been blessed with any way we want to. God expects us to take care of our body so that our spirit will be able to have longer days in which to do service to others and bring others to the knowledge and understanding of Christ.
Once we fully understand that we have a service, a duty to do as a child of God then we can with greater understanding know that we are responsible to develop the spirit within us into a worker for the Lord. When we die physically, our spirit will go upward to God. We can read in Ecclesiastes 3:21 “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” Man is different than any other living thing on the earth that God made.
God breathed into the nostrils of man and he became a living soul. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). That soul that you and I have is our spirit, and it will never die - it will live forever. When Jesus died upon the cross for your sins and mine he gave up his spirit back to God who gave it. “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit:” (Luke 23:46). When Stephen was stoned to death, just before he died he asked Jesus to receive his spirit (Acts 7:59). Therefore we can see from these examples that our spirit leaves our body at death and returns to God who gave it (Genesis 35:18; Ecclesiastes 12:7).
We can learn and understand that no man has the power to retain the spirit. In Ecclesiastes 8:8 it is recorded: “There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death:” Only Jesus was able to overcome death and He did so on behalf of all men. We do not know when our day of death will come and when it does come we will have no control over it. Just as certain as we will die (Hebrews 9:27), our soul (spirit) will depart our body at that time and return to our Father. A body cannot live without the spirit. James 2:26 says: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Our body needs the spirit that God gave us to survive. Once our body dies, then our spirit will go to God and will give account for all the things that it did (good or bad) within this physical body of ours. Notice what the apostle Paul says: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Knowing that our spirit will one day return to God, and knowing that this spirit that God gave us MUST give account of all that it did, good or bad, then it would make sense that we would nurture our God given spirit to be as godly as we can possibly make it. We should further be able to understand what James meant by “faith without works is dead.” We can BELIEVE that our spirit came from God (Faith), but if we do not do anything (Works) to ensure that our spirit will get to be with God eternally, then we are dead. Let us all strive to ensure that our spirit within us will be able to account for good works (Matthew 25:34-40) and enter into heaven eternally!