August 27, 2009
DISCERNMENT IS KNOWING TRUTH
In the passage in Hebrews (5:14), it stated the mature could differentiate between good and evil. There are many forms of evil in this world, but only one thing that is truly Good (Mark 10:18). We can spend a lifetime attempting to study and know what is evil and then live trying to avoid it. This causes us to live in the mind and use self to figure out and solve life. OR, we can seek to know the only ONE that is good. Since there is only one that is good, knowing God gives us both the perfect standard of goodness and a measuring rod against what is not good. By knowing Jesus, when you see something that resembles Him, your discernment will let you know it. The Truth existing in your heart will agree with the goodness you encounter in this life. When you encounter something that is evil or bad, the same Truth inside you will react to the badness in this life and an internal disruption will take place. When this happens, the discernment triggers you to know to keep a distance or avoid completely the darkness you encounter. Therefore, the choice comes down to trying to know all the bad and avoiding it, or knowing the single Good and following Him.
This works with what is truly good as well. Have you ever entered your church on a Sunday and said something like, “it feels really good in here.” There was a joy and lightness, and you could sense it or feel it. Where in you did you “feel” this? How did you arrive at the notion that it “felt” good? In addition, have you ever met someone for the first time, and had an immediate positive reaction. You were drawn to them with a good feeling and cannot understand why. When the Jesus in you senses the Jesus in something or someone else, your discernment lets you know this is a good thing. As much as we are repelled from the darkness, we are drawn to the light.
Our problem is we are still so bound to interpreting reality with our physical senses; we often fail to see the Truth; good or bad. We meet someone that is physically unattractive and we reject them based only on what our eyes see. Someone comes to church and has not bathed in a while and we distance ourselves from them. Someone is overweight, we think poorly of him or her, and we avoid. This is what happens when you live out of your soul and try to discern based on self alone. When you let Jesus be your interpreter, you have the capacity to see so much more of the person then your physical eyes will allow. Spiritual eyes let you see the person with no physical beauty as a prince or princess in God’s eyes. A spiritual nose will allow you to smell beyond body odor and allow you to smell the fragrance of Christ in that person (2 Corinthians 2:15). A heart of love that comes from knowing Jesus will allow you to see the overweight person can become healthy through your prayers and encouragement. You see through Jesus’ eyes, feel through His fingers, hear through His ears, and smell through His nose. This is more than just a possibility, it is how Jesus lived and how He expects us to live. I want to share two examples to help you see that this really does work. One personal and one I read.
Shortly before moving to Virginia to pastor, the Lord touched my heart and let me know I was to go to a local coffee shop. I was not sure why, but I got my computer and went. As I walked in, I had a neat experience. There was a very attractive young woman working there. In the natural, she was very pretty. Yet when I walked in and saw her, the discernment kicked in and Jesus did something. Instead of only seeing her physical beauty, I received a picture of her in my heart as a yellow flower whose petals were closed off. I also “knew” she had a very hard life and because of this, she closed herself off from people not wanting to get hurt again. I sat down and prayed about this asking the Lord what I should do. I knew I was to share this with her. She came by my table and politely made small talk. When she did, I asked her if she could sit down a minute. I went on to tell her that God wanted me at that coffee shop and I came not knowing why. I explained to her that when I saw her, God shared some things with me about her. I proceeded to tell her that I saw her as this beautiful yellow flower. I then told her the flower was closed off because it had been hurt before and did not want to be hurt again. I shared with her that I felt she had, had a very hard life and from the hurts and pain; she closed herself off from letting others get close to her. By now, her eyes were beginning to well-up. I then told her that Jesus made her beautiful, not just physically, but in all ways, and that this beauty was a gift God gave her. When the hurts came and she closed herself off, the world was no longer blessed by this wonderful gift. I then told her that Jesus was going to begin healing her and I saw that as this happened, the flower would reopen. She would be able to open herself up again after Jesus took the pain away. By now, she was balling. I consoled her and reassured her that Jesus loved her and had never given up on her. As this was happening, another young woman working there saw all this. We spoke before I left and I realized I knew her from previous camp I spoke at. As we remained in touch, she shared with me the difference in this young ladies life I had the discernment about and that she was changed and even witnessing to people at the coffee shop.
The Jesus inside of me saw this woman for all that she was. Instead of only looking at her in the natural, I opened my heart to the Lord and was able to see her true condition. By seeing this, I was able to minister the love and tenderness Jesus had for her with the conclusion being, her whole life was put back on track. This is the heart of our God.
The second example I want to share is from a book I read. The author was sharing how at one point in his life, he worked in a business office. His company hired a new woman manager, and this woman became his new supervisor. He said this woman was somewhat rigid and very, very professional. She wore business suits and kept her hair in a tight bun. He also said she was not mean, just not very personable. It was a business and she seemed to want to keep it just that way. He said one afternoon he had something he needed to share with her. Her office door was slightly open where he could look in and see her. When he looked into her office, her head was lying on her arms and she was crying at her desk. He said he was shocked to see such an emotional display from this type of woman. All of a sudden, he realized she was not at all sitting like this, rather, his discernment kicked in and he was seeing her true condition, not her facade. When he realized this, he tapped on the door and she had him come in. He shared in the book that this was a very big thing for him. So often, he (and all of us) only see people the way they want to be seen. When we open ourselves to the all-seeing God inside of us, we see what He sees. From this, this man was able to pray for this woman realizing she was not at all callous, just hurting and in need of Jesus.
I hope that these examples serve to illustrate what our life can become when we graduate from living out of just our physical senses and let the Lord of all things have His way in us. Let me conclude by making this personal.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
If you are saved, and have been filled by the Spirit, you have an unlimited source of power and knowledge coursing through your veins. The life you are capable of living is something the world is waiting to behold. You cannot fabricate or create this out of your own person. You are limited; God is not. You can only offer the world as much as you are. When you hit your limit as a person, this is where your personal giving ceases. When you surrender to the life of Jesus inside you, you are now able to offer the world Jesus Himself, living through you. Listen to your heart. Jesus really does live in there. He has you as His “house” to live His life through. When you let go trying to always be in control or know everything, and allow the flow of Jesus’ life to simply be Itself, you will see, think, feel, and know things that transcend your physical senses.
The passage we looked at earlier in Hebrews said the mature, by training their senses, have arrived at a place to discern between good and evil. They practiced discerning. Go through your day purposely and intentionally listening to what your heart says about the things you encounter. When you walk into a store, stop for a second and allow yourself to feel the environment. How does it feel? When you visit a church, or even attend the one you call home, do not look at what you see in the natural, disconnect from this and listen to what your inner person is feeling. This is the truth. It may look chaotic, but if it feels peaceful, listen to your heart. When you listen to your heart, God will not let you down. This is His home and He loves it when we listen to what He is saying. I leave you with a scripture:
Colossians 3:15 and let the peace of Christ rule (act as in internal umpire) in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.
God bless you in your journey of living out of discernment.