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 Three

The Kingdom of God Series

Part Three

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

The Kingdom of God Series – Personal Note

The Kingdom of God Series

Personal Footnote to Part Two

Obedience
The Fruit of Faith and Grace

I remember the first time I tried to read Andrew Murray’s book, “The School of Obedience”, many years ago. I read a few pages and threw the book against the wall. I just knew I could never walk in such obedience. Knowing my heart and self-will I felt utterly hopeless to attain to such a life. My problem was I did not understand that the obedience of which the scriptures speak is the fruit of faith empowered by grace. As the truth of this began to dawn upon me, I started to expect my life to grow in this wonder. Life became more of an adventure and I found God’s grace to be more than a sentiment but a real power to enable me to walk in new places. Grace became a constant need as my own resources were insufficient; my stubbornness often required wrestling and prayer to overcome. Fear of failure was a tool in the enemy’s hand that I needed to overcome in order to step into things into which God was leading me. Obedience is not a small thing in our lives, and it is essential for our growth. It is how we grow in our trust in Him and in our ability to be free from the fear of man. One act of obedience is better than fifty sermons. Learning of Him in these moments causes our faith to become real.

A key lesson to be learned in our growth in obedience is that the river never parts until we step into it. God has designed faith to rest upon Him so that we are not governed by what we see. I have had several experiences where the power of God is not made known to me until I have stepped into the thing before me. There is always that moment of hesitation (especially at first) before the step is made. God is faithful and the discovery of His faithfulness can only truly be realized by our obedience. Obedience is not some legalistic thing. It is our small part, insignificant in comparison to the release of God’s power as a result. Obedience brings us to the place of understanding His ways in our personal life and causes us to grow in our confidence in Him.

To be continued…

Brian Troxel

Timnath and the Riddle

Timnath and The Riddle

“And he said unto them,
Out of the eater came forth meat,
and out of the strong came forth sweetness.
And they could not in three days expound the riddle.”
Judges 14:14

The riddle of every believer can only be solved within the equation of their own experience. Samson’s riddle was one of personal experience and victory. There is no other living person who can solve the riddle of “Christ in you the hope of Glory”. Paul spoke at length of this mystery in Ephesians and Colossians.

“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”
Colossians 1:27

The matchless wonder of the mystery can only be solved individually through the medium of obedience and victory. Samson’s riddle was his own; he did not share with anyone (initially) the victory over the young lion he met in the way. It was his victory and God’s strength that prevailed in the vineyards of Timnath. “Timnath” in the Hebrew means inheritance or allotted portion. What was true of Samson is true of everyone who truly knows the Lord. In our pursuit of Christ Himself (our Timnath) we will encounter the enemies of our soul that confront us, condemn us, and seek to destroy us. It is here we find provision in God to contend with our enemy until the victory is ours and our place in God is discovered.

Many Christians have no sense of spiritual identity, no comprehension of the call to walk and discover the unfolding mystery of Christ within them; a Christ who is known to them in the fierceness of the battle, a Christ who is known in the personal victories over sin, temptation and failure. To be an overcomer in Christ one must experience the victory of Christ within the riddle of their own life. The mists of confusion lift and doubts fade in the light and victory of Christ through our obedience to Him.

He is ever calling us to explore, walk and live within the sureties of His wonder in our lives. Like a flower ever unfolding, like the rising sun of each new day, He is beckoning us to explore and discover His riches within the sanctum of our own hearts. No one can solve this mystery but the individual to whom He is given. It requires walking, trusting, and a living faith to step into the Timnath of His Call in each of us.

May we, as Samson, know that out of that which sought to destroy us God prepares strong meat. Out of the strength of our enemies comes the sweetness of victory and the secret of the Lord. It is our glorious riddle to solve within the fabric of our own being.

“Blessed be the Lord my strength,
which teacheth my hands to war,
and my fingers to fight”
Psalm 144:1

Brian Troxel

Quote for Today – CR Oliver

Quote for Today

“Standing fast in the Lord” constitutes a stance and a commitment. A stance, in that one must maintain Biblical inerrancy (against all the intrusions, like the ones discussed in the previous chapters). It is also a commitment, in that one must maintain an “in the Lord” relationship. (It is one thing to cling to doctrinal purity and quite another to hear and do the will of God.)”
– C.R. Oliver

Quote for Today – Jacob Boehme

Quote for Today

“If men would as fervently seek after love and righteousness as they do after opinions, there would be no strife on earth, and we should be as children of one father, and should need no law or ordinance. For God is not served by any law, but only by obedience.”
– Jakob Boehme

Quote for Today – John Wesley

Quote for Today

“Lord, I am no longer my own, but Yours. Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will. Let me be employed by You or laid aside for You, exalted for You or brought low by You. Let me have all things, let me have nothing, I freely and heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You are mine and I am Yours. So be it. Amen.”
– John Wesley

Thought for Today – Words

Thought for Today

Words

“So then death worketh in us,
but life in you”
2 Corinthians 4:12

Words are simply containers; in themselves they have little worth. We use them to convey our thoughts, desires, feelings and the chit-chat of everyday interaction. Words in the Christian culture are multiplied in our technological world of books, sermons, podcasts and social media, yet we do not see a corresponding growth and depth of character in the reality of Christ! There must come a realization that in the clutter of words there is a missing ingredient perpetuating this crisis. We must hear in our spirit this one significant truth:

“For the kingdom of God is not in word,
but in power.”
1 Corinthians 4:20

Let this sink into the very core of our hearts. “The Kingdom of God is not in word.” There are many who are mere purveyors or merchants of words, ideas and concepts. It is a dealing with information which may tickle the intellect of men and women but never reaches the heart. These words contain no fire, no pulse of the living God. Words with fire bring conviction and produce change. As long as we are content with words without fire, sermons which produce no change and breathe no conviction and meetings in which people leave with the same outlook as when they came we will go no further in our walk with God.

Jesus is God’s Word

Jesus is not only the thought of God, He is the Power, the Substance and the verity of God the Father. The fullness of the Godhead dwelt and revealed itself in His full purity of life, love and wisdom. The words of an individual can only convey what is IN the individual. Where there is no spark there is no fire. When there is no identification of the vessel with the cross there can be no power of the life of Christ. The Gospel is more than words; it is the very communication of the life and power of God.

“For our gospel came not unto you in word only,
but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost,
and in much assurance;
as ye know what manner of men
we were among you for your sake”
1 Thessalonians 1:5

There was a connection between the ministration of the word and the manner of life of those who spoke the word. We cannot communicate something that is not within us. Fire is the result of touching, tasting and abiding in Him who is a consuming fire. Individuals who have no fire cannot give it to others. We must realize that mere words (even the scriptures) when ministered apart from the Spirit are cold and lack His power to convict, to inflame, to bring warmth and the light of change into the lives of those to whom we speak.

Each Sabbath in Israel the words of the prophets were read, but because there was no living ministration of those words they did not “hear” the voices of the prophets crying out concerning Christ!

“For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers,
because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets
which are read every sabbath day,
they have fulfilled them in condemning him”
Acts 13:27

Jesus said His Words are “spirit and they are life” and to whatever measure we are in Him will it be so of us. It is this relationship which brings vitality and life to the words we speak. The ministration of His Life can only be found in corresponding measure to the depth of His rule and His love within us.

Lord save us from being merchants of words and make us instruments of your life and wonder. Keep calling us to deeper places of abiding, beholding and eating of You so that we will convey You and not just empty words about you.

“Where the word of a king is,
there is power…”
Ecclesiastes 8:4

The power of our words will be found in our submission to the King of kings. There is no other remedy for our condition. To bear the Word of the King one must be ruled by Him. Obedience to Him is the vital element to speaking His Word and it is only then we will see change in the world around us. Obedience is not something we can learn from classes, books or sermons; it is by the actual operation of the faith of the Son of God ruling and reigning within our own heart. No one else can walk this out for us; it is as personal as our relationship with Him.

“For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ,
but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches
deceive the hearts of the simple”
Romans 16:18

Fair speeches and good words are plenty in our day but words ministered without the impetus for men and women to walk and live in them leads to deception.

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only,
deceiving your own selves”
James 1:22

Brian Troxel