Want to sharpen your spiritual sensitivity? Today I want to show you the secret to being more perceptive than ever before.
This past Sunday, I shared a teaching about Spiritual Sensitivity and Discernment. A lot of people found it rather eye-opening. In fact, after teaching the principles to two small groups of people on Wednesday and Thursday, I saw a teenage girl’s foot get healed, two young ladies set free from depression, a young man liberated from years of bitterness, three people delivered from demons, another young man discovering the truth of God’s love for him, several young adults hearing God’s voice and acting on it, and a salvation (Who says Christianity is boring?)! If you haven’t read that article, please check it out since it’s the foundation for today’s teaching.
With all that said, I promised to share the secret to enhanced spiritual perception, so now it’s time to deliver!
The key is “holiness.” If you remember from the previous article, we can perceive evil spirits in physical ways–for instance, if we suddenly feel afraid for apparently no reason, it may be that we’re picking up on a spirit of fear. But think about this: If you feast your mind on horror movies and television shows filled with murder and suspense, fear will begin to feel natural. You’ll become desensitized to it, much like you tend to become desensitized to the clothes you’re wearing (not feeling them unless you really think about it).
The more time we spend immersing ourselves in activities that approve of darkness, the more numb we become to those spiritual forces. If I’m always battling lust, for instance, I’m probably going to be less likely to notice that the sudden lustful temptations are actually a spirit of lust. I’m more likely to just blame it on my flesh, thereby allowing that spirit to fly under the radar.
But if I’m walking in holiness (spiritual purity from Christ), then these spirits will be abnormal to me. I won’t fall victim to their subtle tactics because I’ll recognize them as a spiritual attack.
My wife, Robin, and I have been taking care of her grandparents while her parents are out of town. Her grandmother recently had knee surgery, and her grandfather was recently diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s and dementia. A couple nights ago, I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and couldn’t fall back asleep. Around 4:00am, I started to feel hopeless about my condition and was getting upset. Then I realized what was happening. I never feel hopeless. I was just picking up on a spirit of hopelessness in the house that had gained access when our family agreed that grandma and grandpa’s conditions were hopeless. My wife woke up as well, so I shared what I was sensing, we both repented of our hopelessness, and then we addressed the spirit and began to bless her grandparents. The entire atmosphere of the house shifted and has been brighter for days!
When we don’t walk in holiness, life is dangerous. We have no spiritual defenses. Instead, we tend to go along with whatever spirit comes our way because we can’t distinguish between our own inner voice and that of the enemy.
Proverbs 25:28–Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls. (NKJV)
Holiness is the work of the Holy Spirit. It comes through “sanctification,” which is the lifelong process by which He makes us more and more like Jesus.
When Romans 12:2 says to “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” that word “renewing” literally means “renovation.” In other words, it is tearing out the old structures and building new ones. We need our minds renovated! We need freedom from the lies that we’ve come to believe. When that verse says “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,” it’s talking about the current culture in which you live.
We need to stop conforming to the current culture in which we live. We don’t need to bow to our culture’s choice of entertainment. We don’t need to watch the raunchy television shows. We don’t need to sit through the popular, filth-littered movies. We don’t need to read the vampire books or the fantasy novels that make us comfortable with spirits of witchcraft and lust. We don’t need to play the video games that set our minds on destruction. And we don’t need to be suckered into the materialism by which the enemy drains our God-given resources.
Another definition of “holiness” is to be “set apart.” It is to be utterly different than the culture around you.
The Scripture I mentioned comes with a promise:
Romans 12:2–Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)
The Greek word for “test and approve” could also be translated “discern.” Again, holiness sharpens your discernment. It awakens you to the will of God and makes you aware of the evil around you. You begin to recognize the spirits that war against our culture, and you can then address them by choosing not to partner with them. This undermines their authority and changes the spiritual atmosphere around you.
And that brings me to another really spectacular result: If this current demon-inspired culture feels natural to those in the world, that means the same people will be hyper-sensitive to the Presence you carry with you! The same way evil will feel abnormal to you, the Holy Spirit will feel abnormal to them! (That’s why historical figures like Charles Finney could walk into a factory, and without ever saying a word, the workers had already fallen to the ground, weeping over their sin.)
Do you want that? Do you want to be influential in this culture? Do you want to be more spiritually perceptive and discerning? Then seek the Lord for holiness!
Philippians 2:15–…become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe… (NIV)