The book of Proverbs is a book about discernment. That’s what wisdom is: The ability to join the dots, to see cause and effect and to see relationships between the dots. It’s related to intelligence but it is not intelligence. Not all intelligent people are discerning and some able people are greatly challenged where spiritual discernment is concerned. This is because discernment is based on an undivided commitment to Jesus. What Jesus called ‘The pure in heart.’ When Jesus said, the pure in heart will see God, He meant that the pure in heart discern Godliness and can separate it from religious motions.
EYES THAT SEE AND EARS THAT HEAR
Watchman Nee observed that the religious soul lives in carnal christianity. This is not rebellion. It’s living Adam/Moses instead of Jesus. Religiosity always hampers discernment as does distance from God. Which is why we need to live in 0ur new covenant union and fellowship and not be blasé about coasting along in the separationist beliefs in which we were raised.
The earth is not flat and the law is not the mode in which we are to live in the new testament age.
SPIRITUAL RIGOR MORTICE
We have all heard of the elephant in the room. It’s a supposition which suffocates life and perceptive ability in those on whom the elephant sits. Such elephants are clearly visible to some and invisible to others whose immunisation from truth prevents them seeing and hearing. Why? Their security. They security and identity is found in being sat on!
But here’s the thing. Jesus came to set Christians free from the oppression of elephants posteriors – like other gospels. The elephant in the room is often an old covenant existence in the new covenant age.
Don’t try to anoint the elephant with a Holy Spirit anointing. The end result is that we can get an anointed elephant rather than the experience of being sons and daughters of God. The Spirit of sonship is the John 14.20 experience.
EYES THAT SEE
Spiritual discernment enables us to see what is Kingdom and what is not. It occurs when we have embraced the realisation that Jesus urged we embrace: ‘On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you’ John 14.20.
Spiritual discernment is the product of our union with God. It is not ours if we are living in the separation of the Mosaic law or in the fog of religion that is essentially old Adam. It is ours when we are rejoicing in the inheritance of the Free Woman, which is our interwoveness with God in the spirit of sonship. It’s possible to discourse on the spirit of sonship but not live in it. This is because sonship is a union of being and not a theological position. Discernment is both a new covenant grace and a gift of Holy Spirit.
THE NEED TO KNOW AS GOD KNOWS
“Frequent invitations to speak about my humanitarian work .. take me all over the world. Most of the venues in which I present are conferences, churches, and campuses. Almost without exception after I speak at a university, a student will approach me and ask about discernment, about how to learn to make good decisions or to trust their judgment. Students aren’t the only ones seeking this insight, though; it seems all of us find ourselves questioning our ability to know which voice to listen to and which path to take.” (1)
Joe has a vision of thousands of dead insects on one side of the window. Outside the window was a garden of fruit and flowers on which the insects could have feasted – had they not been trapped behind the glass of their own suppositions. The law is separation in essence and practice.
Bad discernment fosters the spirit of religion and is the result of it. Persistent resistance to new covenant truth produces ears that cannot hear and eyes that cannot see. The cause of such spiritual disease is separation from God – which is the normal state of affairs in old covenant living.
TO DISTINGUISH TRUTH FROM HALF TRUTH
We need to make a practice of questioning our ability to know we are on the right path and not pickled like a cucumber in some alternative gospel. Such discernment is useful in our choice of a marriage partner, in making business decisions and in deciding who to ally ourselves with in ministry ventures. Practice and the spirit of revelation (discernment) will protect us against linking ourselves to red herrings and Ishmael’s. It can protect us against false prophetic words and enlighten us as to the spiritual landscape of any situation.
If there is a human quality that enhances spiritual discernment, it is humility. After than it is that of having one husband, rather than two. Dual loyalties, like Jesus plus some other allegiance will suffocate spiritual discernment like nothing else. Because it is adulterous. And often an adultery justified to maintain us in comfortable heresies to which we have accommodated ourselves. The pure in heart see God. A divided heart just thinks it does.
“Can we learn to listen to God in our minds, trusting the silence underneath the clutter of noise? Can we learn to trust the voice of God that speaks in our hearts, through feelings of pain and peace? Can we learn to sense God at work in our bodies, speaking to us through our resistances and our openness?” (2) We can.
But it takes discipline that is commitment to One Husband and the practice of following Him relentlessly wherever He leads. Don’t expect to enter the promised land of fullness and Kingdom authority if we follow Jesus up to the boundary of our preconceived notions. And stop there. Paralysed because we think there are giants in the land. We can enter a realm of extravagant spirit and life. Or our bones can bleach in the wilderness of our current assumptions and unrealised potential. We can either live in delusions or make them our bed and go to sleep in them.
(1)Heuertz, Christopher L.. The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth (p. 88). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. (2) Ibid (p. 89). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.