Spiritual Discernment – Fear of Man
“The fear of man bringeth a snare…”
Discernment by its very nature demands objectivity. The effect of the workings of the cross in one’s walk will determine the measure of our discernment. Objectivity is the fruit of our dying to self. Wherever agendas, self-promotion and personal advantage are present, clear vision becomes impaired. Discernment is a very costly commodity within the heart of a believer. To see aright a heart must be right in the “fear of the Lord”. To fear God is to be free from the fear of man.
When there is fear and undue concern regarding the opinion of another the ability to see clearly is compromised. Fear of a single individual or submission to group-think causes people to remain in a clique, sect or cult. These are critical days. It is of vital importance that men and women become free to live and walk in the fear of the Lord. The true ministry of God will always lead His Own to fear God and walk accordingly.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ”
A desire to garner the acceptance of others, speaking the right things to maintain a relationship, or a semblance of conformity to the dictates of a group, are the shackles of religion. The power of truth brings freedom; a freedom to live, speak and walk in the liberty of His Spirit to please and honour Him alone. It is from this freedom that men and women are liberated to assess and evaluate the subtler issues of life. This is the only means by which the true unity of the Spirit can be known; each member discerning all things by their own witness through the Living Christ in whom they abide.
Religion ever exerts a pressure to conform to the directives of men; truth is the means by which we are transformed.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”
It is in the transforming work of God whereby His Own are freed from the blinding influences of sects and ingrown heresies. Discernment is a gift and developed by the power of the cross. Many in this hour will freely use the Name of Jesus to hold sway over the lives of others; some may even perform outward signs and wonders in His Name (Matthew 7:21-23). They may appear spiritual but, in the end, they serve themselves and their own ambitions. They create divisions in order to have the pre-eminence. They distinguish themselves and their followers from others through the subtly of influence and fear. God’s promise to those who allow the washing and the fire of the Word of God is the divine ability to discern between those who serve God and those who serve themselves.
“Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not”
Malachi 3:18 (read the context)
Those who serve God ever seek to minister unto others the pursuit of the “unity of the Spirit” through the development of each individual’s own walk in Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13).