Posts Tagged ‘discernment’

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Much of reality is counter-intuitive to the natural mind. Looking at what appears to be a solid wall, you would never guess that it is actually made up mainly of empty space, with trillions of tiny dots swirling around. Many other things, like the Law of Relativity, as it relates to time, are very counter-intuitive to the natural mind.

And the same is true about spiritual realities as well. Before we had read the bible, we would never have imagined the things it speaks of. That is why it is so important to allow the Word of God and the Spirit of God to transform our understanding and to define reality. Otherwise we will be regularly confused and deceived — so much so that right can seem wrong and wrong can seem right.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 16:25)

“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

“…for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

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“Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor.” (Proverbs 4:7-9)

TRUTH often seems non-intuitive to the natural mind. There was a time when the world of atoms and molecules seemed like a fairytale to minds and eyes that could not see (and therefore disbelieved) them. In a similar way, God and the realm of the Spirit can seem like mere religious myths to a materialistic, naturalistic, unredeemed mindset that cannot perceive and/or receive revelation.

That is why we need to often unplug from electronica and pop culture and have our minds renewed. That is why we need to intently and regularly study the Scriptures. That is why we must cry out for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Because we have been called to abide and navigate in a Kingdom and Realm whose physics is very different than that of this natural world. And our success in that Kingdom and that Realm depends on this transformation of mind, if we are to know the will of God and accomplish it.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

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“…men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” (1 Chronicles 12:32)
WE NEED WISDOM!

“You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky.  How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?”  (Luke 12:56)
NATURAL WISDOM ≠ GOD’S WISDOM

“Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”;  and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”  (1 Corinthians 3:19-20)
WE NEED SUPERNATURAL WISDOM, NOT NATURAL WISDOM!

“But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.   So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”  (Matthew 24:43-44)
SO LISTEN PASSIONATELY AND DILIGENTLY!

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“The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD — and He will delight in the fear of the LORD.” (Isaiah 11:2-3)

One of the many amazing things about Jesus (when He walked this earth, back in the day), was that, in any given situation, He knew what the true PRIZE really was. He seldom responded to any situation the same. He was always listening to the Spirit, never allowing the external things to mislead Him. He never relied on a FORMULA, because He had true discernment which in turn came from the fear of the Lord.

“…if you CALL OUT for insight and CRY ALOUD for understanding, and if you look for it as for SILVER and search for it as for HIDDEN TREASURE, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:3-6)

Acquiring true DISCERNMENT requires the Fear of the Lord…and, like anything of real, lasting value and importance, takes a lot of effort (passionate pursuit!). But it’s so worth it.

A number of years ago, I was at the end of a 5-year media fast (well, specifically, no TV, movies, radio) and the Holy Spirit clearly told me to watch a movie. That movie was The Matrix. I found it profound for a number of reasons. I asked God why He wanted me to see it. He said that the Unseen Realm will always rule the seen realm and that I must always play by the rules of the Unseen Realm, not the rules of the seen realm, or I would pay a great price.


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brain enemy - LOON WATCHMAN BLOG

Without revelation, your brain will always become your enemy.

What I mean by that is that our natural minds cannot totally understand God and that left to our own devices and natural abilities and insights, our spirituality always becomes merely the traditions and ideas of men, which, ultimately, will always war against the truth and reality of God.  I am not saying that we should ignore our brains or that we should not be thinking people.  But the human mind was never meant to be the center of our reality.  God is.  And even though He gave us our brains (wonderful and amazing and useful as they are), they will never be enough to walk in the fullness of our callings as spiritual beings.

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” (Ephesians 1:17-18)

“to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge;” (Ephesians 3:19)

“lean not on your own understanding;” (Proverbs 3:5)

“No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’ — but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:7-10)

A perfect example of this is in Matthew 16, where Peter receives a revelation of who Jesus really is, and Jesus says, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” But just a few moments later, Peter stops relying on revelation and starts using his mind to figure things out, and he is rebuked by Jesus as one who opposes God: “Get behind me, Satan! [ie – opposer] You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

So…spend time with God, getting to know Him. This is ABSOLUTELY important to your eternal destiny. You need Him to tell you stuff — important stuff that you can know no other way than that He reveals it to you:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3-4)

Spend more time in His Word, yes. But also spend time listening for His voice. And as you begin to hear, respond to Him. Because then the real adventure begins — the adventure of the Spirit-led life.

“Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14-15)

The Holy Spirit - LOON WATCHMAN BLOG

“In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men as they slumber in their beds, He may speak in their ears…” (Job 33:15-16)

“This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had.” (Daniel 4:18)

“Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth.” (Matthew 2:22-23)

Church fathers who believed that God still speaks through dreams:  Tertullian, Origen, Cyprian, Augustine and Jerome (among others).

Dreams can be amazing experiences.  They can seem more real than reality.  Many people have dreams that they dreamt years ago, but which still inspire or fascinate or trouble them.  It is clear from the Bible that dreams played an important part in God’s interactions with people.  In my experience, God has used a few strategic dreams to powerfully direct my life.

The problem that most people will acknowledge is that there are certain concerns about the source of a dream.  Where did it come from?  How can I know if the dream is from God?  And these are important and necessary questions to ask ourselves, since there are a variety of sources from which dreams can come:

  • God
  • our souls (our mind and emotions)
  • culture (including movies, TV, books)
  • biochemistry (illness, diet, drugs, alcohol, etc.)
  • the enemy

That’s why it is so important to have an intimate, ongoing relationship with God through His Word, in prayer, and in our lives (including being in trustworthy, regular Christian community).  “Spiritual” experiences can seem very compelling at times — that is why it is so necessary to have true discernment, so that we can discern between a legitimate spiritual interaction with God and a counterfeit experience.  And discernment comes from knowing the real thing so well that it is difficult to be fooled by counterfeits.

If I have time, in the days to come, I may elaborate a bit on the importance of dreams, and how to navigate successfully in this amazing realm of experience.