By IQ Spencer
Rewritten By X---------
There is placed in every Spirit-fill child of God an inward
sensitiveness to spiritual matters. We are made conscious,
by this sensitiveness to the spiritual atmosphere about us,
of our own relation to God, of the spiritual tone of meetings,
and of attitudes or actions both in us and in others that
either exalt the Lord or grieve the Holy Spirit.
Perhaps its most important function is that which has to
do with our personal contact with God. In this we are made
aware of the presence of God and convictions are given to
us as to His will and ways. So little are we taught about
this and so little do we understand, that often we disregard
the “still small voice” within. It is soon quenched
and the Holy Spirit grieved, and this inner sensitiveness
is lost. This inner voice is closely related to our communion
with God. If it is lost, we need to repent and earnestly pray
that there may be a restoration of that which is lost.
Likewise, by this inner sense we are told of the spiritual
quality of a ministry, whether prophecy, preaching, testimony,
prayer or worship. By this same operation of the Holy Spirit
one is made aware of motives in ministry. Among the things
that are felt are humility, love, gentleness and dependence
on God. On the other hand, spiritual pride, self-esteem, envy,
strife and bitterness of heart are also detected. In other
words, one’s ministry is affected by what is in the
heart. This enlightenment has so many variations and enters
into so many realms that it is not always easily followed.
Alas, how little it is understood.
This inner spiritual sense is sometimes called discernment.
John Wesley called it “inner witness;” George
Fox called it “inner light.” It is a divinely
imparted ability to the senses, the mind, the affections and
different faculties of man which enables him to understand
spiritual states and motives of men, though to the natural
man this knowledge may be hidden.
There are also natural attractions and aversions, both to
people and things that arise within us, that are not of the
Holy Spirit. How necessary it is to walk close to the Lord
and take care that we do not mistake the natural for the spiritual.
By a careful guarding against critical, uncharitable attitudes,
and a concern for God’s glory alone, we will be kept
from error in this realm.
Many people have a goodly portion of natural discernment
by which they know conditions, but this is not discerning
by the Spirit. As a result they may think that which is of
the natural is of God and be mistaken. Much harm can result.
Natural discernment fails when it comes to the great mysteries
of the spiritual realm and activity. “The natural man
receiveth not the things of the Spirit,” for they are
discerned by the Holy Spirit alone.
A foundational principle of this inner enlightenment is that
it begins at home. One should know his own fallen nature,
his motives and attitudes to rightly see by the Spirit that
which is in others. One who sees bad states in others and
does not correct the same things in himself is a hypocrite.
True discerning must be grounded in love and unselfish consideration
of others if we hope to help the needy.
Much profit has been received from the book The Prophetic
State by the late Seeley D. Kinne. I quote from this book
some statements which can be most helpful: “There is
a discerning that is by a supernatural light within the mind.
This is of the nature of the gift of knowledge, and makes
one to know the facts, conditions and states of a matter,
or of a person. It is so entirely supernatural that it is
not easily described in natural language.” The Spirit
shines a light into the understanding in such a clear way
that what was not before naturally known, now by a knowledge
given in the
Spirit, becomes certain. This belongs properly to the gift
Again there is light divine shining into the heart, discovering
persons and conditions to one. It was this glory light that
shone into both the heart and outward eye of Peter on the
Mount of Transfiguration, penetrating his inmost being. It
was this divine glory that lighted the road to Damascus and
shone upon Saul of Tarsus. It immediately transformed Saul
from a persecutor to a humble believer.
Another aspect of this divine knowledge might be called prophetic
discerning. It is the examination of prophetic operations
and utterances. This kind is essential to keep prophecy pure
from mixture with the human mind.
A great error has been committed at this point. We have assayed
to pass judgment on the works of the Spirit by natural human
reason. But we are sure to blunder. Incalculable harm has
been done by such trespass of the human reason. Those whom
God would use have been dwarfed and discouraged by such wretched
works. Do not do it. If God does to give clear sight in the
Spirit, leave the manifestation alone and pray.
This realm in divine enlightenment is given in measure “to
every man to profit withal.” By walking and living in
close communion with our lovely Lord, we shall find our spirits
made more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s whispered words
of admonition and warning.