Spiritual Discernment and Relationship

Spiritual Discernment

Discernment and Relationship

“But he who is spiritual discerns all things,
and he himself is judged by no one.”
1 Corinthians 2:15

Discernment has nothing to do with intellectual prowess. True discernment is the aggregate result of an individual’s walk and life in Christ. Many today have confidence in their spiritual condition due to the overflow of teachings readily available to all. Any teaching that does not bring a corresponding measure of the “fear of the Lord” is bereft of truth. The foundation of a discerning life is built upon the fear of the Lord. (Proverbs 2:3-13)

Discernment requires a walk and an abiding in Him; the things of God will always culminate in the character of Christ. The very essence of truth is Christ who is the Truth. Whenever an expression is in conflict with His nature or character, it will be exposed.

Discernment is a consequence
of our abiding in Him.

Discernment is a faculty developed over time (see note below). It is the natural function of a life which has grown in its relationship with Christ Himself. This sounds trite, but it is a knowing which is the fruit of relationship; not an accumulation of knowledge about Him on an intellectual level. A carnal familiarity with God produces pride, self-assurance and an inflated view of self, whereas a true knowledge of God fills the heart with the wonder of Christ Himself. It is from this place of vital, intimate relationship that all things are compared with Him who is true.

“Which things we also speak,
not in words taught in human wisdom,
but in Words taught of the Holy Spirit,
comparing spiritual things with spiritual things
1 Corinthians 2:14

Words, apart from the power and unction of the Holy Spirit, will leave people incapable of true discernment. Knowledge is a deceptive thing because it gives the perception that having a familiarity with the things of God alone is a safeguard. Words taught by the Holy Spirit produce a life of obedience which alone brings us into relationship with the living Christ. Obedience is the way into a life of friendship and relationship with God.

“You are my friends,
if you do whatsoever I command you”
John 15:14

A disobedient life will never have the true faculty of discernment because it is does not have an experiential identification with Christ. Friendship with God is revealed in an obedient life. Obedience is the fruit of a life that loves God more than itself. True discernment cannot be disassociated from obedience and the fear of the Lord.

Note: Discernment of a diligent believer is developed over time by its constant use from which a growing sensitivity to Him and His ways is fostered:

“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age,
even those who by reason of use
have their senses exercised to discern
both good and evil”
Hebrews 5:14

Brian Troxel

The Kingdom of God Series – Part Four

The Kingdom of God Series

Chapter Four

Friendship With Christ

“Ye are my friends,
if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
John 15:14

Obedience is love in action.

Obedience is the path to power. When obedience is growing within a heart there will be a corresponding increase of the dynamic life of Christ within; it reveals our submission to Him. His Lordship within the life of an individual is expressed through the medium of obedience. In the religious world a “spiritual” life and appearing “pious” can mask the true condition of a heart. Prayer, “false humility” (Colossians 2:23), and a thorough knowledge of the scriptures may all be but superficial expressions of a proud and unsubmissive heart.

“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations… “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh…”
Colossians 2:20-23

The Kingdom of God is known by the power He has over the unruly desires of our hearts. It is not a life of “appearances”; it is a life of freedom from the First Adam by our submission to the Living Christ. His Kingdom reigning within liberates us from the horror of outward appearance (hypocrisy) and brings us into the simplicity of His nature. Romans, Chapter 7 is an accurate description of a life of “trying” to be spiritual without the power and unction of Christ within.

“And I have no clear knowledge of what I am doing, for that which I have a mind to do, I do not, but what I have hate for, that I do. But, if I do that which I have no mind to do, I am in agreement with the law that the law is good. So it is no longer I who do it, but the sin living in me.”
Romans 7:15-17

The Kingdom of God is known by a life of freedom to His Will, His Thoughts and His Nature. This Kingdom cannot be held within the flimsy grasp of teachings and concepts. Though these things may be scripturally accurate and may hold a “form” of the life that God is after, it still requires the life and power of Christ to walk and live them. He is the Word. He is the Word made flesh Who came and dwelt among us. Yet, even with Him in their midst the disciples exhibited very little change over the course of three and a half years. Why? A Christ with us (Emanuel) will not save us from within!

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”
John 16:7

The Emanuel had to go away for the power of our salvation is not in a Christ without but the living Christ within! The Lamb of God came to earth as Emanuel in order to pay the price for our salvation, but it is in His going away and coming back to His Own as the Christ within that He is now becoming our salvation. It is as He lives and reigns within our hearts that we can live in the “liberty wherein Christ has made us free”. Paul declares the wonder of this marvelous truth:

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach…”
Colossians 1:27

It is the Christ within who is our hope and surety of Glory. An outward conformity, achieved through the power of self, is religion at its worst; it is the womb of hypocrisy and scandal. The Kingdom of God is not in Word, it is in power; power to live and move within the spectrum of His life. Obedience is simply the fruit of Him living in us.

To be continued…

Brian Troxel

Effectual Prayers – Part Nine – Discipleship

Effectual Prayers

Part Nine

Discipleship

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss,
that ye may consume it upon your lusts”
James 4:3

The nature of our walk will influence our requests to God. If we walk in the Spirit our requests, desires and needs will be consistent with His desires. If we walk in the flesh our entreaty can be influenced by the lusts and appetites of the flesh. Prayers delayed or unanswered may at times be prayers offered amiss because we are asking to satisfy or fulfill our own desires; or we may read our desires into the needs of others. Only those who are in the process of dying to self are able to be free of the taint of self. Our sympathies to the needs of others (especially ones we are close to) can skew our ability to see and pray clearly. It is here that our walk in God will determine our effectiveness. Only true disciples can learn to pray effectually for discipleship is only known by carrying our cross and following Him. The outworking of the Cross in our lives brings us to the heart and mind of Christ. It is within the confines of His rule that we begin to touch the true power of prayer.

“If ye abide* in me,
and my words abide* in you,
ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you.”
John 15:7

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon translates the word “Abide” as “something that has established itself permanently within my soul and always exerts its power in me”. The depth of abiding in Him is revealed in His Word exerting power within us. Obedience is the evidence of His Word wielding power over me. Those who do not obey express a life in which His Word has no power. Men and women may quote the scriptures, may teach others with seeming knowledge, but if there be no life of doing His word, it in fact has no real influence in their lives. If His Word has no power in us, our prayers will have no power with God. It is as we abide in Him that our prayers become the extension of His heart; His nature praying through us to the Glory of the Father.

Our progress in effectual prayer is contingent upon the growth and reality of our abiding in Him. We all begin our walk in Christ as children and we are “born anew” into a whole new realm of life and wonder.

“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word,
that ye may grow thereby”
1 Peter 2:2

This initial stage of our journey is blessed and one which we all experience and walk through. Prayer time is spent asking for things and often the answers from our heavenly Father come quickly as He seeks to strengthen and confirm our faith in Him. However, as time goes on God brings us into deeper things as He seeks to teach us the ways of relationship and intimacy. We are required to grow in the wisdom of His ways and as this transpires it effects the tenor and spirit in which we pray.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child,
I thought as a child: but when I became a man,
I put away childish things”
1 Corinthians 13:11

A life of change is the evidence of life. Where there is little or no change in the lives of His Own it is the result of His Word having little or no effect within. As we grow from a child into maturity we begin to speak differently and think differently which brings a dramatic change in our prayer life with God. As we put away the former things we begin the process of becoming men and women of God.

“Ye are my friends,
if ye do whatsoever I command you”
John 15:14

*Pulpit Commentary
And our Lord next unfolds the principle of prayer which laid such hold on the mind of the Apostle John: If ye abide in me (and then, instead of adding, “And I abide in you,” he says); and my words abide in you; i.e. if my teaching so abide with you as to control your thoughts and ideas, remain in you as your guide and inspiration, “then ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done to you”.

Effectual Prayers Part One – Incense
Effectual Prayers Part Two – Love
Effectual Prayers Part Three – Righteousness
Effectual Prayers Part Four – Humility and Repentance
Effectual Prayers Part Five – Wisdom
Effectual Prayers Part Six – Asking Largely
Effectual Prayers – Part Seven – Elisha and Jericho
Effectual Prayers – Part Eight – Ruth and Boaz
Effectual Prayers – Part Nine – Discipleship
Effectual Prayers – Part Ten – Knowing Jesus
Effectual Prayers – Part Eleven – The Fragrance of Prayer

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – The Secret of Relationship

Thought for Today

The Secret of Relationship

“And he that sent me is with me:
the Father hath not left me alone;
for I do always those things that please him.”
John 8:29

They who are sent of God are never alone. Though it be a lonely walk the upright in heart are never alone. The Secret Place of communion with God is ever found in the doing of those things which please the Father. The Son knows the heart and mind of the Father. It is in our yielding to Him and taking on His Yoke that we discover through relationship with the Son the wonder of pleasing the Father. This is a school which will take the disciple deeper than any teaching can convey. It will unfold the mysteries of God far beyond any inspired sermon and it will bring us into the joy of the Lord; His joy becomes ours! His joy is known by those who bring Him joy.

Only the Son knows the Father and it is in our knowing of Him we will know the Father.

“All things are delivered to me of my Father:
and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father;
and who the Father is, but the Son,
and he to whom the Son will reveal him”
Luke 10:22

Obedience is the means to union with Christ.

“Ye are my friends,
if ye do whatsoever I command you”
John 15:14

Union with Christ is the only path to knowing the Father.

“…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father”
John 14:9

Discipleship with Christ is the only way of pleasing the Father.

“Herein is my Father glorified,
that ye bear much fruit;
so shall ye be my disciples”
John 15:8

Brian Troxel
www.aword.info