Cultivating Our Spiritual Sensitivity
Wade E Taylor
"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man
became a living soul" Genesis 2:7.
The word "life" in the original text is plural.
Thus life was breathed into man on two different levels -
natural and supernatural. A means to relate to each of these
realms of life was provided through sense perception. Man
was created with five physical senses, along with five spiritual
senses. These spiritual senses are the counterpart of, and
just as real as, his physical senses of taste, touch, smell,
hearing, and sight. This sense perception enabled man to function
within either the natural or the spiritual realm.
There is within God a desire to be "wanted." Therefore,
He placed before Adam and Eve a special test to determine
if they desired to remain dependent upon Him, or if they would
choose to become independent, making their own decisions.
"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every
tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:
for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely
die" Genesis 2:16-17.
The sense perception that He had placed within them provided
the means for this test. "And when the woman saw that
the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the
eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took
of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her
husband with her; and he did eat" Genesis 3:6. Although
this tree appealed to every aspect of their physical sense
perception, the Lord had said "Thou shalt not eat of
Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord; their eyes were opened
and they became "as gods, knowing good and evil"
Gen 3:5b. As part of the resultant judgment of death, their
spiritual senses ceased to function. Man had been created
perfect, but now he became incomplete. Natural or fallen man
is not evolving into a higher form, rather he is degenerating.
Only in redemption is there an upward turn, when man's spiritual
senses are regenerated and again function in their intended
An unsaved person relates to the earth realm through physical
sense perception alone. Along with this, one who is blood
washed and redeemed is able to relate to the supernatural
through regenerated spiritual senses. "Whatever is born
of the physical is physical, and whatever is born of the Spirit
is spiritual" John 3:6 Williams.
It is possible for us to develop an increased sensitivity
within our physical senses. For example, a person who seeks
to open a locked safe can refine the sensitivity in his fingers
until he is able to feel the tumblers fall into place. A musician
cultivates his fingers to play a musical instrument, such
as a piano. The individual must choose to enhance these potential
abilities. This also applies to our spiritual senses.
"The first man was made of the dust of the earth; the
second Man is from heaven. Now those who are made of dust
are just like him who was first made of dust, and those who
are heavenly are like Him who is from heaven, and as we have
reflected the likeness of him who was made of dust, let us
also reflect the likeness of the Man from heaven" I Cor
As our new-born spiritual senses mature, we become increasingly
sensitive to the "quickening" presence of the Holy
Spirit. As our spiritual sensitivity improves, it becomes
easier for us to move "upward" into a higher realm
of spiritual understanding and experience. Parallel to this,
it becomes easier for us to resist the influence of our physical
senses that tend to pull us "downward."
Every emotion that was within Adam and Eve desired the tree
of self- knowledge. We also have this problem and must decide
if we will choose self- gratification, by allowing our physical
senses to control us; or if we will choose spiritual-satisfaction
and fulfillment, by responding to our spiritual senses. If
we choose according to our physical sense perception, our
spiritual senses become dulled, while our physical senses
gain in their control over our lives.
Isaiah 53 gives a prophetic description of our Lord Jesus
Christ. This description also pictures the tree of life, which
is a pre-figure of His being. By changing one word, a view
of this tree is wonderfully set before us. "For (it)
shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root
out of a dry ground: (it) hath no form nor comeliness; and
when we shall see (it), there is no beauty that we should
desire (it)" Isa 53:2.
The attractiveness of "The Tree of Life" is inward
and spiritual. Outwardly it is not attractive to our physical
senses. "There is no beauty that we should desire it."
Its true beauty can only be known through our spiritual senses.
As we look at this tree through the eye of faith, our Lord
Jesus Christ will be revealed in all of His glory. Also, a
"true" friend will be there saying, "Thou mayest
freely eat" Gen 2:16b. We must rise above all that we
see through our physical senses and believe what the Lord
The attractiveness of "The tree of the knowledge of
good and evil" is outward and physical. "And the
woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was
pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one
wise" Gen 3:6. By responding to this tree that was filled
with stimulating luscious fruit, Eve "tuned out"
the spiritual senses that would have enabled her to recognize
the danger. Her physical senses could not warn her that partaking
would result in spiritual death. Also, a "seeming"
friend was there provoking doubt, saying, "Hath God said?"
Left to themselves, our physical senses will respond favorably
to the enemy of our spiritual life.
According to human reason, the tree of knowledge should
have been made ugly and the tree of life beautiful. However,
the Lord had a purpose in making them as He did. If the tree
of knowledge had been made to look like "a root out of
a dry ground" and the tree of life had appeared to be
desirable, it would be easy for us to obey the Lord. But what
would the Lord have?
The Lord is seeking after a people who willingly CHOOSE
to serve Him. Therefore, He has not made it easy. When every
physical sense within me is seeking to pull me in the wrong
direction and I say, "I am not going that way,"
then the Lord has gained one who has truly chosen to know
and obey Him. This is what is meant by "taking up"
my cross. I am to "crucify" whatever my physical
sense perception presents to me as being desirable, but is
contrary to His Word and purpose for my life.
The Lord is looking for a people who will choose Him; not
"because of" but rather, "in spite of."
If I choose HIS BEST (The tree of life), when the thing that
is APPEALING and ATTRACTIVE (The tree of the knowledge of
good and evil) is before me, I am making an eternal choice
that will enable me to become an overcomer. I must accept
the fact that my reward may not be a present reality. Rather,
at this time, it may appear to be as a root out of a dry ground.
Its substance is to be found in the HOPE of the coming resurrection.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat
fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it
die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life
shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall
keep it unto life eternal" John 12:24-25. We must believe
this and choose with our spiritual senses, rather than yield
to our physical senses. In making their choice, Adam and Eve
had the full potential of both realms before them, but lost
out by choosing that which "appeared" to provide
a present satisfaction.
Because God gave Adam a choice, there had to be a penalty
should he choose wrongly. "But of the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day
that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," Gen
2:17. Did this mean that the Lord intended a funeral, should
Adam choose wrongly? No, after his failure he still lived
and was able to communicate with God.
"And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in
the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid
themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees
of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said
unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in
the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid
myself" Genesis 3:8-10.
A person outside of redemption is able to talk with God.
Our relationship to God is not quantitative, rather it is
qualitative. God can talk to anyone; He talked to a donkey
that in turn talked to the prophet. Adam said, "I hid
because I was naked." Artists draw pictures of a naked
man and woman hiding behind a bush, embarrassed because they
did not have clothes. Adam lost far more than clothes. He
died in relation to his spiritual being. He lost the "shekinah"
or anointing that made it possible for him to stand, without
fear, in the presence of the Lord. Along with this, he lost
his spirit senses that enabled him to commune with the Lord.
There is a vast difference between talking to God (quantitative)
and communing with God (qualitative).
Because of the loss of his "shekinah" covering,
Adam hid. The Lord knew this, but still came to walk with
Adam. We can meet with God in the realm of our soul life.
After being saved, we are to transcend this and again develop
our regenerated spiritual senses that will allow us to come
back into the original realm of intimate communion with the
The Lord slew an animal and covered Adam and Eve with the
skin. This was the beginning of redemption. Adam was brought
back into the possibility of relationship. "Unto Adam
also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins,
and clothed them" Gen 3:21. Now they had a substitutionary
covering in the place of "Shekinah."
"So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east
of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which
turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life"
Gen 3:24. The Shekinah that had been a covering upon Adam
was now external, separate from him and became to him a hostile
Adam was driven from the garden to till the soil. He had
been given a substitutionary covering, but was still separated
from the manifest presence of the Lord. Many are satisfied
with worshiping God on the basis of this substitutionary covering
alone. These substitute a liturgical form for the manifest
presence of the Lord, rather than seek a way though what seems
to them to be a hostile flaming sword. Their sins have been
forgiven and covered, but they pull back in fear from the
possibility of a further spiritual experience, not fully realizing
that the "veil" has been rent, making a way of entrance.
When we come in faith to this external flaming sword, it becomes
to us a "Baptism in the Holy Ghost and Fire." Our
spirit being, along with its attendant spiritual senses, is
"quickened" as we receive this Baptism in the Holy
Spirit. We come alive spiritually and begin to recognize and
experience the supernatural. That which had been but "type
and shadow" now becomes to us an unveiled reality.
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word,
that ye may grow thereby: If so be YE HAVE TASTED that the
Lord is gracious" I Peter 2:2-3.
A vital part of our growing into spiritual maturity is the
re-development of our spiritual senses. We were not born with
these, they have been dead since the transgression of Adam.
Only in a new birth experience are they re-created. Following
this, through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, they are quickened
and released within us in their full potential. Now we will
be able to "taste" that the Lord has been gracious
Whenever we come into the presence of anointed worship or
ministry, this newly gained sensitivity to the supernatural
will enable us to understand the deeper things of the Word
and of the Spirit. Now the purpose for which Jesus came can
find its full outworking, through a more abundant spiritual
"I am come that they might have life, and that they
might have it more abundantly" John 10:10b.