THE SPIRITUAL SENSES
Our powers of discernment develop in usefulness by being exercised properly. By the practice of constant use, they become more alert and well trained. In John 16:7-14 Jesus speaks of that which is necessary for their benefit, He promises the Holy Spirit for their personal guidance, bringing inspired learning for inspired living. He promised this other Comforter who would continue to do in them what the Lord had been doing for them.
This Person was to bring them into the Truth that makes men free. He was sent to open spiritual ears and spiritual eyes, so that the eyes of our heart will be “enlightened.” This to me expresses far more than just knowing that which is recorded, or written on paper, or heard, or held to mentally, or applied methodically. It is rather that which is applied to daily living – Truth in the inward parts. We do will to be most receptive to His impressions, and responsive to His impulses. Oh, Beloved, let us not try to still the Spirit’s Voice in our hearts, nor dim the Spirit’s light in our lives.
Acts 28:26-27, “Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” We have Israel’s history recorded as an example. They had no excuse for being so sick and ignorant spiritually. God’s grace had supplied all they ever needed for perfect health, but here we read of the hindrances to spiritual healing and health: gross heart, dull ears, the closed eyes. These describe their sad state. Yet, now for some time, the so-called Christian nations have been taking the same course.
I Cor. 2:9, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. “We are made aware just how dead the senses of fallen humanity are to comprehending things Divine. We understand from verse thirteen that Divine wisdom is not taught by human learning nor the philosophy of man. God’s well is so deep and the Holy Spirit sounds for us its profound depths.
Now, if you are filled with and yielding to the Spirit, you cannot be satisfied with the shallowness of a casual acquaintance with Him. In verse fifteen He describes the spiritual insight, who appraises all. This is in contrast to these of chapter three, who are able to discern only on a natural plane. They are described as infants in the faith who walk as men, manifesting their spiritual immaturity by their conduct, appetite, and attitude. They cannot take the meat of the Word, not digest it if they could. They are controlled by selfish desires, acting upon human impulse, and taking the wrong headships.
Our natural senses seem to dull or degenerate by ill health, lack of use, or improper use. Each natural sense – seeing, hearing, smelling, touch, or taste – has its spiritual counterpart; but many saints never experience their development to the full potential. Most seem to be willing to let someone else do their looking, listening, smelling, feeling, tasting, and hearing; and thus perceiving what is good or evil. It seems that lack of use results in lack of ability to use. Yet I believe it is really a lack of understanding or realizing the meaning of the signal being given by the inactive sense. It is “by reason of use” (application of the Word, spiritual exercise) that we are enabled “to discern both good and evil” – Heb. 5:14.
Note some hindrances: To seeing – Living back of what light we have been given. Living in darkness makes it difficult to take in more light.
To hearing – Being enveloped with the noise of the flesh and of the world dulls our hearing, making it difficult to perceive that still small Voice of God’s will for our individual lives.
To smelling – Two bad things happen when dwelling around things that make a bad odor. You get used to the smell, and begin to think it is not so bad. Then you also begin to take on its aroma. With some odors your clothes become saturated, savoring the stench of the flesh and the world’s dump clogs our senses to the fragrance of our Father and our sweet Lover Christ.
To feeling – By the jostling bruising blows of the world’s pleasure, we are numbed to His tender touch. Our hearts can become gross, dense, heavy, callous, seared, and insensitive.
To tasting – By eating the junk food, garbage of the world or worldly church, we never develop an appetite for the good wholesome nourishing beneficial food of our Father’s table.
By the development of our spiritual senses and their use, we can be saved many a sad wasteful harmful experience which will only reap corruption. It is far better to discern and avoid evil than to experience harm, loss, and corrupting waste.
II Cor. 2:16, “To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life, And who is sufficient for these things?” Each sense is important. All are meant to work together under the direction of the head. Each is intended to fulfill its specific function for the benefit of the whole. There are certain things you cannot discern by just seeing, smelling, or listening. To ignore the function of one or another of our senses can be dangerously wasteful. It is interesting to notice the often in a human body, when one or other of the senses is harmed or malfunctioning, the others seem to become more active and sensitive to help compensate for the lack. They seem to do surprisingly well, yet they cannot completely fulfill the function of the other.
As Individuals, God has made available the spiritual sense to each of us; so that we by the Word through the Spirit, are able to get the will of God for our own lives, under the direction of our Head – the Lord Jesus Christ.
To illustrate: the nose might say, “That smells good.” The eye – “That look Good.” Right away the taste buds begin to water. But the head says, “Check it out and touch it.” The feeling seems the signal, “Wait, it is too hot!” Or the ear might send a signal, “I heard a crash behind you.” The head says, “Look!” The eye sees danger, and tells which way to jump.
In the whole Body of Christ each segment as seen by men has its separate functions, its particular ministries and missions to fulfill. Each is undeniably important. God gives the gifts, the ministries, and the increase. As far as He is concerned, denominationalism and sectarianism have no place in the Body of Christ. The attitudes of these are, “I have no need of you.” Or, “If you are not doing what I am doing or interested in my interests you are nothing, unnecessary, unimportant; you are out.” Well, we know that is not true, not right.
Then there is the Bride. The Old Testament illustrates this Truth. A rib was taken out of Adam, “who is the figure of Him that was to come.” With this rib God built a wife for Adam. Rebekah came out of her father’s house to be a bride for Isaac. Today the Bride of Christ is being made up of individuals who honor Christ as their only Head. They are being taken out of Christ’s Body, separated unto Him from all forms of religions organizations. These believers are being developed into a complete perfect Body for Jesus Christ’s highest eternal enjoyment, having all the senses and equipment of the Body. There will be no lack in that Body of Bridal believers. They will have developed the sharpness of seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling. On the other hand, the Bride company will not exalt itself above other members of the Body, nor consider any member unnecessary or unimportant. Yet the Bride company yearns for the closest fellowship with Christ.
When the Body for the most part has denied the God-given Headship of Christ and the Holy Spirit who is so essential to spiritual development, the Bridal saint whole-heartedly desires and grasps all that He has provided and sent for her perfection. What happens when the natural body goes to sleep? The activity of the senses slows down and its sharp alertness dulls. Today true Bridal saints are discerning God’s purpose for believers, and acting in harmony with their Head by obeying the Word. They have their senses exercised and sharpened by giving their complete attention to Him.