“You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil”Hebrews 5:12-14
Wouldn’t it be nice if the moment we were saved the Holy Spirit just downloaded everything we needed to know in order to discern good from evil, truth from error, right from wrong, and how to “walk with God” in a manner pleasing to Him? But, He didn’t. Though it is true there are those in the Bible who had “revelations” brought to them about Christ. But it was simply to pass that heavenly wisdom on and write it down so that we could have it in a book. It was never for selfish reasons. And yet, it is ONLY by the Holy Spirit that we can even understand and “receive” the Word of God in the Bible. Also, I am NOT saying there are no longer prophets or prophesies in the Church “for the edification of the saints” for building up and encouraging one another in the Body-of-Christ. In fact, just today (Sunday) at church a godly elderly woman came up with permission to prophecy to the church. I listened, I tested what she said by the standard of the “Word and the Spirit” meaning, does it match the scriptures, and does it match the heart of God. And it clearly did and I affirmed her and encouraged her afterwords.
But really, the reason I have titled this blog post as Knowing the Holy Spirit’s Voice: The Need for Spiritual Wisdom and Discernment Today, is because though we may be saved and be indwelt with the Holy Spirit, we may be completely ignorant regarding what is good vs evil, and true vs false, and right vs wrong. Why is this? Because the Holy Spirit must “translate into words/language” through our brains/minds what He (the Spirit) has communicated to our spirit. You see, the Holy Spirit joins with our spirit when we become children of God. For, “…he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him” (1 Cor. 6:17). But this must be communicated in language so that our minds translate spiritual language and we can be transformed, as Paul puts it, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). Therefore, Bible study is essential! For even the prophets of the Old Testament were steeped in the scriptures which were before them. They studied the Torah and other prophets who had come before them. One example is in the book of Daniel where he reads from, and “understands” from reading, the book of Jeremiah. So, as basic as it sounds, compared to some “supernatural downloaded mystery”, the more we KNOW the scriptures as a child of God in Christ, the more we can discern truth from error, and truly discern in every situation the “heart of God”!
Let me ask you a question: Say two children were born in the same house, but at a very young age one of those children left to live with another relative. Both those children were “born” from the same parents but only one was “raised by” the parents. And say this child who was raised by the parents also was obedient to the parents and even greatly enjoyed the company of the parents, enough even to go where they went and do what they did. They watched and listened carefully, learning all the ways their parents handled life from the good to the bad. I immediately thought of the story of Mary and Martha where Mary “sat at Jesus’s feet” to learn while Martha was distracted by an “anxious” hurry. Anyway, back to the story. So as time went on these two children came together one day to hang out. As they were reminiscing about their parents the child who left to leave to live with relatives could say “yes, I remember wearing a bib, sitting in a high chair, eating something, but can’t quite remember what…” while the other child can say, “well, did you know………………….” and be able to describe “exactly” what the parents are like. In fact, that child will know exactly what their parents would say or do in any given situation. Do you get my point?
God has given us both the Holy Spirit and the Word. And you cannot separate the two. God has designed them to go together, the power of God and the message of God. And like those two children, we can be “saved”, in Christ, and live ignorantly and always prone to deception, because we live on “baby food”, or we can be “saved” and live wisely, discerning exactly what God would do in any given situation because we live on meat and potatoes. And growing to maturity in Christ by studying the Word of God, prayer, and fellowship, seeking God for wisdom, etc. helps us to know what “grieves the Holy Spirit” and what does not. And if we grieve the Holy Spirit often enough we start to lose awareness of His promptings and warnings which is very dangerous for a Christian living in a dark world. So, as the Apostle John urges us, “walk in the Light (intentionally) and “abide in Christ and His love” (intentionally). For when we abide in Christ’s love we are abiding in His pleasure and blessings. Also, the good news is that “if” we have been busy and distracted by many things, God is so gracious and merciful that He fully welcomes us back into fellowship to abide under His shadow of love (Ps. 91). Confessing where we have been neglecting our walk with God and being willing to turn back to seek Him (intentionally) is the place to begin on that journey if necessary for you.
So, these days we are living in, being dark days, it is all the more necessary that we discern God’s heart in all we do, for the sake of His Kingdom and glory! If we are going to be “Salt and Light” to the world and if we are going to love one another in the Body-of-Christ by supporting and encouraging one another in His love and truth then we MUST be knowledgable and able to discern what is “of” God and what is “of” an enemy. Every day I read, hear, and watch the “domino effect” this has caused in the Body-of-Christ, and which has influenced our witness to the world, all due to a lack of discernment.
I can trace it to the root of the problem: It is the result of a lack of connection, or agreement between, the Spirit of God and the Word of God. But when we “know” the Word of God and we “carry” the Spirit of God within these “vessels of clay” (our bodies) then we can confidently walk through life discerning truth from error, encouraging others, and as a bonus, we will see our prayers answered because we will know exactly what we should pray for because we will “know” our Father’s heart and His will in all things.
Please share this with other Christians if you are prompted by the Spirit. Thank you