I am with you in spirit. You might have used or encountered this profound benediction at some point in your life.
This short yet meaningful phrase dates back thousands of years ago— already comforting souls and enriching hearts.
So, what does this beautiful phrase mean, and when did people start using it?
The Meaning of I am with You in Spirit
Based on Collins Dictionary, I am with you in spirit means that despite not being with the most important people in your life, you are still with them because you are always thinking about them and praying for them.
On the other hand, based on the Farlex Dictionary of Idioms, you say I am with you in spirit to offer moral support to an undertaking or event where you cannot be physically present.
This phrase is often encountered in letters and electronic communication mediums.
I am with you in spirit has been used as a substitute to relay one’s deepest apologies for the inability to be present for a particular event. It is also a polite way of refusing to attend an important gathering.
By saying this phrase, the sender conveys their intent to spend their time and mental energy thinking about missed occasions and praying for its safety and success.
Sometimes we want to be present for a loved one’s competition or any special occasion. But circumstances prevent us from being present at the venue on the desired date.
When you can’t attend an important occasion in the life of your loved ones, it’s right to say I am with you in spirit, to comfort their hearts and show how much they matter.
The thought of being joined by Spirit is comforting for both parties. The term exudes warmth and comfort for both the speaker and the listener.
I am with you in spirit and will keep you mentally and emotionally connected with your loved ones during events we cannot be physically present with them.
The Origin of the Phrase
The phrase I am with you in spirit originates in the Letters of St. Paul to the Corinthians, also known as Epistles of St.Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.
St. Paul sent these epistles to the Christian community he had established at Corinth, Greece. The first and second letters to the Corinthians became the seventh and eighth books of the New Testament canon.
In 1 Corinthian 5:3-4, St. Paul wrote:
“For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this.”1 Corinthian 5:3-4
“So when you are assembled, and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present,”
According to Bible Ref, in all likelihood, it signifies the corrective ability of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul knew the presence of this power in his ministry and would exhibit it in their meeting due to the Corinthian church’s link with him.
This phrase was also mentioned in Colossians, a letter written to the Christians of Colossae and included as a book in the New Testament.
There is a dispute regarding the writer of Colossians. Some people think he is the great St.Paul. Others believe that he may be a follower of the saint.
But in this letter, it is evident that he cannot be physically present with his followers.
In Colossians 2:5, there is a verse:
“For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.”Colossians 2:5
Which also refers to the physical absence of the writer and his assurance to the receivers that he will be with them in spirit.
Despite the many versions of the phrase, they all speak of one’s physical absence and spiritual presence.
Jesus talks of the Holy Spirit, the Counsellor. It is believed that this spirit flows from Jesus’ presence and continues his presence.
We believe in the Spirit to take us forward and guide our journey toward God and continue following Jesus’ guidance.
Christians believe we do not have the answer to life’s problems mentioned on the gospel page.
We need continuous guidance from the Holy Spirit to move ahead in life. It is also believed that those who follow Christ’s commandments will receive the Holy Spirit.
Transcending Physical Boundaries
It is believed that the writer of Colossians must have been someone sitting in jail. Sitting in isolation, he identifies with the fear and separation experienced by those who are away from their loved ones.
The writer of Colossians reminds himself and his readers that there are forces greater than fear and separation. And the greatest of these forces is the Spirit of God.
When he wrote, I am with You in Spirit he wanted to convey that God’s Holy Spirit has connected him with his loved ones and other community members.
Man is a social animal. We are not meant to be alone. But circumstances can distance us from our loved ones.
There may be times in your life when you cannot be physically present with your loved ones during the important events of their life. You may be indisposed, or some other commitments may be keeping you away from them.
On such occasions, our spiritual presence is seen as a substitute for our physical presence. We bless them silently during the important events in their life.
Despite the geographical divide, they never left your mind and heart; it is the same with your loved ones. And to that extent, you are together in Spirit.
A spiritual presence is seen as imaginary but powerful. Spiritual experiences transcend the material and connect us to something greater.
God’s Spirit joins us to remind us of His promise and unconditional love.
A whisper or a scribble of your sincerest feelings can greatly change someone’s day or life.
Words are just made of ink and letters, but they sure have their way into our hearts. They are the dance of the mind and the song of the soul.
The phrase I am with you in spirit has the power to help you traverse miles to be with your loved ones. It is a mantra of assurance and a promise of eternity.
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