It is the work of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us, in cultivating the right attitude into perceiving spiritual truth. But it is also totally up to us to follow His leading and guidance.
The Holy Spirit works through the deposits of the word of God, inside of our spirit man in doing this. He takes out of the deposited knowledge of the word of God, in the heart to lead and guide us. If we are not continually studying and meditating on God’s Word, there will therefore be nothing inside of our hearts for Him to work with.
As an example Paul was once in the city of Lystra, where he perceived faith for healing in a man, as he was preaching. The scriptures says about the man:
“The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,”
Acts 14:9 KJV
The Holy Spirit was leading and guiding Paul here, as he preached the gospel in this city. He perceived faith for healing in the man as he preached.
Most importantly here is the fact that, the man was listening as Paul was preaching. We must always acknowledge that, we are in the spirit whenever we are preaching the gospel. God uses our words in those moments, to touch the lives of those who are actually listening to us.
Paul observed the attention that this man had on what he was saying. We are able to know this because, Paul while in the spirit perceived faith for healing in this man. And faith for healing comes, by hearing and listening to the Word of faith on healing. That man was entirely focused on what Paul was preaching about.
Just because someone sat in Church meetings at all times, doesn’t mean that he has faith in the messages being preached. Just as it is also possible to be reading, studying, or hearing the Word of God without having faith in it. The Ethiopian Eunuch was reading and studying scriptures, but never understood what he was reading and studying (Acts 8:26-40).
A heart that is hardened against the Word of God, can never produce faith. Such a heart needs to be softened. And there are many Church attendees today, whose hearts are just hardened towards the messages being preached. They can hear God, but their hearts are hardened towards him.
That is why active praying intercessors do play a vital role within the body of Christ today. The ability of the intercessor to pray, for the Word of God to produce result, is very important for every minister of the gospel. Paul knew the importance of the role of the intercessors, when he wrote to the Thessalonians:
“Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we ask you to pray for us. Pray that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes, just as when it came to you.”
2 Thessalonians 3:1 NLT
And again he wrote to the Ephesians:
“And [pray] also for me, that [freedom of] utterance may be given me, that I may open my mouth to proclaim boldly the mystery of the good news (the Gospel), For which I am an ambassador in a coupling chain [in prison. Pray] that I may declare it boldly and courageously, as I ought to do.”
Ephesians 6:19-20 AMPC
But our attention needs to be fixed on the Word that is being preached, for us to get the benefits thereof. Paul noticed the attention that this man at Lystra, had on the proclaimed Word – “rhema”. And because that is how faith comes, Paul was able to perceive faith in the man for healing as he preached (Romans 10:17).
We do have the ability to perceive spiritual truth, as the Word is being preached, read or studied. When we are focused on the message being preached or taught during a church service, we are creating an atmosphere for faith to become activated in our hearts for the miraculous.
Paul perceived faith for healing in this man, and was able to help the man to release his faith in receiving healing. How was he able to act in helping the man while still in the spirit? He did it by declaring what he perceived in the spirit, back into the life of the man. This was with the purpose of helping him, to release his faith in corresponding action to what he perceived in him.
The scriptures described what happened next; as Paul:
“said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.”
Acts 14:10 NKJV
When we act by faith while we are perceiving spiritual truth, great things will always happen. Our spiritual perception is always accurate when we are in the spirit, or involved in spiritual activities.
If Paul had not been practicing the presence of God as a way of life, it would have been difficult for him to perceive faith in this man. Paul knew that healing was the will of God for this man; and because he could perceive faith for healing in his heart, he declared the purpose of God for healing into his life. That was all that the hosts of heaven were waiting for, in manifesting healing to the crippled legs of this man.
Our faith works always when we put it into corresponding action. This man must have been showing some corresponding actions, as the preaching was going on. Paul was able to perceive faith in him for healing in this way.
The Holy Spirit will always lead and guide us into every truth, whenever our faith is released in this way. The word that was being preached by Paul, was received by faith by this man, for his faith to had been perceived by Paul.
THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS US AS WE STUDY AND MEDITATE ON GOD’S WORD
If we are not committed to reading, studying and meditating on God’s Word; we’ll have no productive knowledge of His Word in our hearts, for Him to work with in our lives. Faith in God and in His promises to us, makes us to grow into spiritual maturity, as we remain committed to studying and meditating on God’s Word day and night.
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”
John 16:13 NIV
How does the Holy Spirit guide us into spiritual truth? He guides us through His voice to the spirit man from within our hearts. The Holy Spirit knows our spirit man, and He can speak directly to our born again spirit man. He listens and understands what our spirit man is longing for.
Sometimes we do call the voice of the Holy Spirit within us – an intuition; but he is really the One guiding our steps as we perceive spiritual truth. The Holy Spirit will not always tell us, what to do in every situation; but He will guide us into every truth.
In most cases He expects us to respond to what we are perceiving, based on the revealed will of God to us, through the scriptures working in our hearts. And that was exactly what Paul did, in healing the crippled man at Lystra.
But when we do not follow our inner witness, to do or obey what is being revealed to us; then we will be as one being rebellious to the Holy Spirit. Rebellion against the Holy Spirit in this manner, is in our refusal not to follow His leading and guidance within our hearts, and through the inner witness within us (Luke 12:10).
The spirit of rebellion is what makes the Spirit of Christ, in a born again believer ineffective in the works of the kingdom of God.
Jesus once pointed this out to us, in the “Parable of the wicked vinedressers”. He said in the end of that Parable:
“Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’ So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him.”
Matthew 21:37-39 NKJV
The Spirit of Christ in this Parable is that of the son of the landowner, who was rebelled against and killed by the rebellious vinedressers. The servants who were sent to the wicked and rebellious vinedressers, is a direct reference to the workings of the Holy Spirit through His different gifts in our lives. Holy Spirit is God’s Servant to us. He always brings God’s voice to us, because we cannot stand the power of God’s voice directly into our hearts. So God will always sent His Servant to us – the Holy Spirit.
This Parable clearly illustrates to us how the spirit of rebellion, can find its way into the body of Christ. A rebellious spirit is the spirit of our unsaved world, that is making many in the kingdom ineffective to obeying God.
If the vinedressers had received the servants sent from the landowner, they would have entered into His joy. Their act of rebellion disqualified them from the blessing of the landowner.
God will always act to help us, as we respond to His revealed will to us. An inner witness from the Holy Spirit, will help us in perceiving the will of God in most cases like this. The inner witness comes to us through the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Paul again said:
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God…
…The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,”
Romans 8:14, 16 NKJV
Those who are led by the Spirit of God, do have the ability to perceive the move of God’s Spirit, because they are the sons and daughters of God. They will always reject the spirit of rebellion, and cleave onto the Spirit of Christ.
The Holy Spirit also bears witness to our spirit on the inner man, about the spiritual truth from God. He opens our spiritual eyes of understanding, to perceive the acceptable will of God.
But our responses to what is being revealed to us, is always up to us. God will never make us to respond, to what He has already revealed to us, as being acceptable to Him in His Word. The choice is always ours. There are many believers who have denied themselves of the blessing of God to them in this way.
As mentioned last week, they are often bond by religious traditions of men, and they find it difficult to accept what the Holy Spirit may be showing them.
PETER PERCEIVED THE WILL OF GOD WHILE IN THE SPIRIT
In the Acts of the Apostles chapter ten, we can read about an encounter of Peter with God, as he was praying at Joppa. And as mentioned before, whenever we are praying, then we are in the spirit. Peter’s ability to perceive spiritual truth was strong, as he prayed in the spirit.
All of a sudden he fell into a trance. And it was evident here that, his mind of understanding was struggling with the law of Moses about clean and unclean animals; even while still in the spirit. His religious past was affecting his judgment of what he saw in the spirit three times. But the Lord also spoke to him those three times, correcting him while still in the spirit, not to call what was being revealed to him unclean.
There are times when we all had behaved, as Peter did in this incidence. We had often erred in our spiritual perception, by calling what our unrenewed mind may had seen as unclean or sinful; even while we maybe standing in God’s presence.
It was evident here that the spiritual perception of Peter while in the spirit, became faulty due to his religious background. God had referred to those animals before as unclean in the Old Testament. Peter was trying to be religiously correct here before God.
Eventually he had to obey God, as the Holy Spirit directed him to follow the three visitors from Cornelius. That was the moment that his mind of understanding began to perceive what the Holy Spirit was leading and guiding him into. God was about to do a new thing, within the early Church from that point in time.
When we are praying in the spirit, the Holy Spirit opens us up, just as it happened in the case of Peter here in perceiving spiritual truth. Peter was judging what God was calling clean as unclean here.
Another example was John on the Island of Patmos. He was in the spirit, when the Spirit of Christ began to speak to him. His suffering in the flesh and his mind, in the hands of his enemies prepared his human spirit, to listen and hear the voice of Jesus.
The Bible explained this clearly in the vision of the Prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel wrote about his experience in the presence of God:
“And He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.” Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard Him who spoke to me.”
Ezekiel 2:1-2 NKJV
Again in the following chapter he wrote:
“Then the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet, and spoke with me and said to me: “Go, shut yourself inside your house.”
Ezekiel 3:24 NKJV
Spiritual truth must always be properly perceived, if we want to be effective in following our inner witness. Ezekiel was in the spirit, but he was physically weak and his mind was totally submissive to God’s Spirit.
Today we can experience this, as we continually crucify the flesh and renew our mind with the Word of God. This is very important for us in having the right perspective of spiritual truth.
GETTING IT RIGHT IN SPIRITUAL PERCEPTION
Moses told the children of Israel before dying, about his own personal experience in walking with the Lord. He told them:
“But to this very day the LORD has not given you an understanding mind, perceptive eyes, or discerning ears!”
Deuteronomy 29:4 NET
There are three important things that Moses mentioned here. These three things are essential for our spiritual growth as Christians. They are an understanding and renewed mind, clear eyes in spiritual perception while we are in the spirit, and discerning ears or heart in listening to God’s voice.
Spiritual perception helps us in seeing and recognizing spiritual truth. Discerning ears or heart helps us in listening to hear the voice of God through the Holy Spirit, concerning what we are perceiving. The three are very important for us as believers in Christ.
Spiritual perception therefore is our ability to be able, to see or perceive on the inner man, what the Lord wants us to do or act upon on the outside. But for us to make the right decision, our spiritual discernment must be precise and accurate. It is the Holy Spirit alone who can help us into spiritual discernment. Therefore spiritual perception is not helpful if we do lack spiritual discernment. Otherwise we will miss out of God’s blessing.
Apostle Paul (for example) was on the boat going to Rome, and he saw danger as they moved closer to the Island of Malta. He warned the sailing crew with him, about what he perceived in his spirit man:
“Saying, Sirs, I perceive [after careful observation] that this voyage will be attended with disaster and much heavy loss, not only of the cargo and the ship but of our lives also.”
Acts 27:10 AMPC
Paul’s ability to perceive danger here did not come because God, or the Holy Spirit told him anything about the situation on the ship. This was something that came to him through an intuition from his spirit man. He knew or saw in the spirit that danger was ahead, through an inward premonition, an inner perception or witness in his spirit man about a dangerous situation. But for Paul to be able to discern what he perceived, he had to pray in the spirit, for the Holy Spirit to give him the discernment of that situation.
There are many believers who have not been able, to train their spirit man by praying in the spirit, to be able to see in the spirit.
Every human being on earth does have the ability, to be able to perceive or see in the spirit. But for us as the children of God, our spiritual perception is different from that of the unsaved world. That is one major reason why the world does not understand us. And they will never understand us.
This is because the spiritual perception of the world in which we live is delusional, in comparison to the image of God who created them. The enemy has twisted their spiritual perception, so that they may be empowered in following him. But our spirit man as Christians needs to be developed, and sensitive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit, so that we may have a strong ability, in being able to perceive or see good, and be able to separate it from the evil of this world. Our spiritual eyes must be open, discerning ears listening, and the mind of our understanding intently focused on obeying God. We have to be able to put value on the things of God, enough for us to be on the lookout for the things of the spirit.
This will help us in taking hold of spiritual truth, in order to be able to release our faith in receiving them. When we are able to perceive the good things of God, then we can reach out and receive them with our hearts or spiritual ears.
King Solomon said to his son concerning the wisdom in doing this. He wrote to him:
“for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—”
Proverbs 1:3-4 NIV
The key here in annexing spiritual wisdom according to Solomon, is in the power of our spiritual perception in accessing “knowledge and discernment or (discretion).
“My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
Proverbs 2:1-6 NIV
The Lord was dealing with me lately about identifying and differentiating gold, silver and other precious stones, as described by scriptures. If you had never trained yourself in recognizing the value of gold or silver, you probably will miss out of the blessing in enjoying them.
We do perceive good and evil in this way also. If we had never been trained to separate good from evil, we’ll probably be calling evil as good, and good as evil. This is the spiritual state of the unsaved world around us today.
They are therefore unable to perceive the goodness of God, even though it is so close to them, just as gold and silver (Romans 1:20-23). This explains why one person can call a piece of trash (by the world’s standard) gold. And yet another person just may not see or perceive the treasure of gold in that same piece of trash.
King Solomon continued in the dialogue with his son:
“Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”
Proverbs 2:9-11 NIV
In other words our ability to listen with the heart, in placing value on God’s word, as we are studying and meditating on it; opens up our hearts or spiritual ears in focusing on those spiritual truth of God. We are then able to cry out to Him, asking, searching and seeking His purpose in the revealed truth to us.
All of these spiritual activities does always engage our senses, and the power in our spirit and soul in developing the power in our spiritual perception.
Jesus once said to the Pharisees:
““Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”
Matthew 12:33-35 NIV
In other words He is telling us here also that, we cannot hide from ourselves; what we are understanding with our renewed mind, or perceiving by the inner witness or discerning by the Holy Spirit.
THE MAJOR THINGS
We need to be very careful about the three things, as highlighted by Moses in Deuteronomy 29:4 –
1. A mind of understanding
2. Spiritual perception that sees clearly.
3. A heart that hears God’s voice clearly.
Jude cautioned us about this when he warned us about certain believers. He said:
“Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.”
Jude 1:10 NIV
Anyone who does not have a strong ability to be able to perceive spiritual truth basically destroys himself.
“These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”
Jude 1:19-21 NIV
These believers do have an inner witness or instinct; but their instinct or perception is like that of this unsaved world. It had become natural due to the influence of their unrenewed mind, on the instinct or inner witness that they do have. It was creating division within the body of Christ, and they were unaware of it.
They were irrational and unstable because they couldn’t differentiate, between their spiritual instinct or inner witness, and the voice of their unsaved mind. They therefore do often behave like the people of this unsaved world.
But by praying in the spirit, we are able to identify the spiritual dangers, that such believers pose within the body of Christ and around us in this world of evil today.
As Paul told the Philippians:
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
Philippians 1:9-11 NIV
Increase in love, knowledge and insight of God impacts our ability to be able to grow in spiritual perception and discernment. We have to walk in the love of Christ in our association with them. This is the way that we can silence the enemy, and walk out stronger and victoriously always in the power of the Holy Spirit.