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SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT 101

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Charles Spurgeon wrote, ‘Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right’.

Have you ever been in a spiritual conversation with a couple of people and someone utters a truth of profound significance? But the truth flies past the person at which it was directed like a swallow flying out of a barn. They miss it altogether and the person may just as well have said nothing.

TO KNOW

It’s not because the intended recipients are inattentive. And not because they are rude. It’s because they are not present to themselves and others in their spirit. As offensive as this may appear to them, it is because they are not present to God. Because they are present to religion – the great muffler.

Anything that is not Christ insulates us from God and from ourselves. The most insidious ‘insulators’ are the law and religion. All oneness with God has been achieved in the person of Christ. WE ARE ONE WITH GOD IN HIM.

ALIVE IN JESUS OR IN BITS OF HIM

Most Christians have some of Jesus. Many have scraps only. They exist on hand-outs from corporate benefactors and are only partially spiritually alive because they have never penetrated to the core: Christ their life.

WISDOM

Wisdom is not the possession of numerous facts. Wisdom is the ability to see the connection between the dots and the relationships among the dots. But this in itself is not spiritual discernment. This is mostly to do with PRESENCE and the ability to be present in the reality of the situation and see a situation as it is rather than as it appears.

Spiritual discernment always knows what is froth and what is substance. It’s the result of our presence being one with God’s presence.

THE PRESENCE IS NOT SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT

One can sing many worship songs about ‘the presence’ and talk much about the manifest presence. But we live in the real presence in two ways: When we live in the new covenant and when we have a passion for Jesus that causes us to follow where He leads.

Spurgeon also wrote, ‘Holiness is not the way to Christ. Christ is the way to holiness.’ A friend of mine had a vision about Believers standing around an inverted cross. This is what Spurgeon was getting at.

NOT THE GIFTS

Prophetic gifts and words of knowledge are not spiritual discernment. Oneness with God and being part of His Light is spiritual discernment. Some in the former category have none. Some with no gifts have it in spades. It helps to have one master and one husband.

Don’t expect to enjoy spiritual discernment if what we are living in is religion or an ideology. We are present to ourselves because we have a passion for Jesus. David the Psalmist was a prime example. He hungered for God and for following God and this before Holy Spirit was available in the way Holy Spirit has been accessible to all since the cross.

GREATER THAN JOHN THE BAPTIST

‘Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he’ MATT 11.11 NIV.

Any person in the new testament age can have more than David or Isaiah had by way of the presence of God. More because in the incarnation God is woven into our being and we are woven into God.

None prior to Pentecost had the possibility of being present to God, oneself and others in the mode of ‘I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20 NIV. Today everyone does. All have this potential union but not all embrace it or live in it. Richard Rohr writes,

GODLY WISDOM

“Wisdom is precisely the freedom to be present. Wise people always know how to be present, but it is much more than that. Presence is wisdom! People who are fully present know how to see fully, rightly, and truthfully.” (1)

Seeing is what Nicodemus was unable to do before his encounter with Jesus. Seeing is what Nicodemus did well after His Jesus encounter.

IN HIS LIGHT

‘Seeing’ is what spiritual wisdom is all about – seeing the husk from the kernel and the humbug from the truth. This is the kind of seeing that prevents us speaking ‘guff’ in the name of God. This ‘seeing’ knows that we and Father are one. It’s sees us in fellowship with the trinity and they with us and in us. This ‘seeing’ knows that we and our Father are one. It results from the presence of spirit and life flowing from our being, not in drops but in rivers of living water.

(1) Rohr, Richard. The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See (p. 60). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.