I woke up thinking about the discerning of spirits. Sensation vs Perception in particular, and I realise it is only by the grace of God that anyone can cover a topic like this comprehensively. It is a miracle when you are able to do so. It will be a miracle if I am able to do so. In the previous article, we looked at the Fruit-to-Tree dimension. We can think of this article as exploring the Tree-to-Fruit dimension, but it will also not begin to scratch the surface of where I hope to end with this topic.
That is why I respect men like Dr. Myles Munroe who was able to teach on the Kingdom of God so comprehensively that you cannot study the topic without consulting what he has touched on. He is synonymous with the truths relating to the Kingdom of God. It is a sign and a wonder to be able to do that.
Now, back to my morning thoughts on Sensation vs Perception:
Your physical body can only discern or sense to the extent to which it has receptors. You have a sense of touch because of pressure sensors. You can see because you have light receptors that enable you to see. However you cannot see UV light because you do not have receptors in your body to do so, but there are other living things that are able to sense UV light. They are able to ‘see’ UV light because they have the receptors to do so. So your sensation goes as far as what you have sensors for.
Your body is constantly sensing. And sensation is a non-negotiable because your body is constantly sensing light, pressure, sounds, etc. without an election. You do not choose whether to sense light, pressure, smell, etc because these are everywhere, and your body senses them by default, without negotiating. This leads us to Perception.
Perception, on the other hand, is where you choose which sensation you are paying attention to. And because you choose which sensation to pay attention to, we say perception is negotiable. For example, if you are wearing a sock, you are constantly sensing the pressure of the sock on your feet. However, to say that you perceive that you are wearing a sock you need to focus on that sensation, like now as you are reading this article. The same thing with blinking, your body senses your eyes blinking all the time, but unless you focus on the blinking, your body ignores this sensation. It is wired to ignore a sensation until such time that you focus on it. In other words, you can think of sensation as a river of information and perception as shining light on a specific part of the river. In the same way, your spirit has senses. However, unlike your body which has limited receptors, there is nothing that can be sensed that your spirit does not have the receptors for, just waiting for you to perceive it.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2v14 (NIV):
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
In other words, the natural man’s receptors are limited, they do not extend into the spiritual. And because of this limitation, he cannot perceive spiritual things. On the same breath, the spirit man is able to discern spiritual things because he has spiritual senses.
Only your spirit can discern spirits because it has the receptors to do so. It might sound obvious, but there are a lot of people who rely on what they see with their eyes and hear with their physical ears for what they call spiritual discernment. They even use traditional media and social media for what they call discernment. Yet, we read in the Bible that spiritual things are spiritually discerned. It is worth nothing though, that your spirit is much more agile than your body. It uses your physical body to interact with the physical environment, therefore it has access to your physical senses as well and has the capacity to interpret what the body is sensing and make spiritual sense of it. So as you see and hear, you need your spirit to be able to make spiritual sense of what you are seeing and hearing physically. You cannot exclusively rely on what you are seeing and hearing to come to spiritual conclusions.
Now, just like your physical body, your spirit is continuously sensing. There is a river of spiritual information passing through your spirit. Discernment is actually choosing a focus area on this river of spiritual information.
If it is a human spirit you want to discern, then it means you have to focus on the part of the river of incoming spiritual information that has to do with that person’s spirit. And perhaps even there, you might need to further focus on a specific area.
As you know, a person’s true nature is their spirit. That is who they really are. So when you meet someone, they might hide their true nature behind their smile. But your spirit has access to their spirit. That means, your spirit has access to the spiritual river of information that your limited natural man does not have access to.
The default setting is for your spirit to sense all spiritual information coming from this person’s spirit. But you have to perceive it to be able to know who they really are. The same way you have to perceive the blinking to know it is taking place.
Some of these mediums, psychics and spiritualists, actually use this method to gain access into their client’s life. Because they have an awareness of the their own spirit and their client’s spirit, they are merely ‘reading’ from this person’s river of spiritual information emitted from their spirit. We are actually walking radiators of information.
So this spiritual information will register in your soul when you are intentional about it. That is when you will have an understanding. When that information moves from your spirit man to your soul we talk about knowledge and understanding as we know them. Spiritual perception is an intentional process, just as perception in your physical body is an intentional process.
The HOW part of spiritual perception or spiritual discernment is always tricky because we are at different maturity levels spiritually in the body of Christ. We must always be careful not to create doctrine around our personal experiences. I have found that the more I walk with God the more the HOW changes over time, because I meet those who are far more mature than me in the things of God.
You might agree with a newborn baby about WHAT eating is and WHAT are the benefits of eating. But when it comes to the HOW-part of eating you will have to prescribe the method based on the maturity of the eater. For a baby, you might give a bottle and prescribe that they suckle. But for a teenager, you might prescribe a spoon and chewing because they now have teeth. In the same way, there is no one way for everyone, to discern spirits in the manner I have described in this article. This is when we are looking beyond the fruit and honing in at the tree. In the Fruit-to-Tree dimension, there is standard template, but in this dimension, each method is customized.
I would then say this when it comes to the HOW part of discernment: Since you have information from different sources like this article on the WHAT. The HOW-part is a function of the Holy Spirit in you because He is your teacher. The bible talks about how God does certain things for you “according to the power that works within you” Ephesians 3:20. For such things, it does not depend on God’s universal power, but on the measure of that power that is at work in you. The Aramaic Bible in English actually reads “according to his power that is active in us.” Showing that we have dormant and active power of God in us and it is the active part of His power that brings us actual results.
For those who know a bit of science, think of this dormant power as potential energy and active power as kinetic energy. But the sum total of energy is already given to us, we are not creating any new power, neither do we need to pray for new power or more of His spirit. We are merely converting the power of God, from one form into another.
Ask the Spirit of God to teach you and activate more and more of His power in your life. Have a genuine desire rooted in love, to be able to distinguish spirits. You now know this ability to distinguish spirits as your ability to hone in on a specific part of the spiritual river of information. Love is the key ingredient for hearing what God has to say concerning any area, so it applies in this area too.
I wrote an article on Walking in The Spirit. And if you managed to read it you will know that walking in the spirit, means to walk in love. So you cannot discern and understand spirits without walking in love. I am giving you what I believe to be the biggest ingredient in the HOW part. Walk-in Love!
Love and light to you!