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Spiritual Sensitivity and Discernment

Some people think they can’t sense the spiritual realm. I disagree! In today’s article, I will show you how absolutely everyone (even you!) can sense the spiritual realm.

Sensing the spiritual realm doesn’t necessarily look the same for everyone. Some “see” things, others “hear” things, and still others just receive “impressions.” But today, I had a revelation about something that had never occurred to me before: There is a way in which everyone can sense the spiritual realm. The trouble is simply that not everyone can discern it.

Here’s what I mean. James 2:26 teaches us that the body without the spirit is dead. So if your body were not influenced by spiritual things, then you wouldn’t be alive! The very fact that you’re living and breathing is proof that your body can be influenced by the spiritual realm. Your God-given human spirit brings life to your body.

To put it another way, your physical body is designed by God to interpret spiritual realities into physical realities. The best example is your own human spirit. Your body enables your spirit to interact with the physical realm. Then we have all the spiritual realities of Scripture that are found in Christ: healing, deliverance, authority, love, wisdom, resurrection power, and other forms of His grace. When we physically lay hands on the sick or command demons to flee or the dead to be raised, we are translating spiritual reality into the physical realm.

So if your body’s purpose is to bring the spiritual realm into the physical realm, then it is also capable of recognizing and discerning spiritual reality.

To build on this concept, consider the ramifications of what Paul tells us:

1 Corinthians 6:19–20 – Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (NIV)

More than any other spiritual reality, your physical body is designed to literally house the Holy Spirit. It is a temple. If you have received Him, He dwells in you. Just as much as your body enables your human spirit to interact with the physical realm, it should also allow the Holy Spirit to interact with the physical realm.

As you may know, when you receive the Holy Spirit, He comes with physical evidence. Suddenly, your body can speak in languages you don’t know.  It can heal the sick with a touch.  It can prophesy words from God.  In all these things, spiritual realities are becoming physical realities as you partner with the Holy Spirit who is resident within your body.

In the same way, any other spirit can influence your body. For example, when a spirit of fear is present, people often begin to feel fearful. In a physical sense, this feeling of fear is made up of biochemicals in your brain and blood stream; but the source is spiritual. So if you weren’t previously afraid, and you’re suddenly sensing fear (for apparently no reason), guess what? You’ve probably come into proximity of a spirit of fear. Anyone can sense that spirit of fear, but what counts is that we discern it, rebuke it, and live to the contrary.

Spiritual sensitivity is actually very natural because God has designed our physical bodies to react to the spiritual realm. And if we will be aware of how the spiritual realm affects our physical senses, discernment will be the result.

Hebrews 5:14 – But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (NKJV)

Did you catch that? With regular use, your physical senses can be exercised to discern what is of God and what is of the enemy.

Now, using this ability is not enough in itself. Since everyone senses the spiritual realm, everyone uses their spiritual senses; but that doesn’t mean that everyone can discern what is actually happening.

Let’s bring this into very natural terms for a moment. By reason of use, I know what a cardboard box feels like. So if I were blindfolded, I would be able to tell you if I’m holding a cardboard box. But what is in the box? Is it crackers? cookies? cereal? or rat poison? I’m certainly not going to taste it to find out! The best way to understand what I’m feeling would be to take off the blindfold and read the label!

In spiritual terms, Jesus removes the blindfold of sin and opens our spiritual eyes to see things as they really are. Whereas the world just feels afraid, we know that what we’re sensing is a spirit of fear. Whereas the world suddenly feels peaceful, we know that it’s the Holy Spirit. Both we and the world are being spiritually sensitive, but only one of us is being spiritually discerning.

Next time you’re ministering to someone, see if you start acting or feeling “not yourself.” Be aware of your thoughts and emotions. If you’re suddenly very critical, perhaps the person you’re ministering to has a critical spirit. If you’re suddenly depressed, perhaps the person you’re praying for has a spirit of depression. If you’re suddenly distracted, maybe there’s a spirit of distraction. Whatever the case, tell that spirit, “I see you, and you can’t influence me or this person anymore. Leave in the name of Jesus!”

With time, your discernment will sharpen to the point where you can recognize a spirit before it even has an opportunity to influence you. You’ll know when a spirit of fear or lust is present without yourself fearing or lusting. Instead, you’ll recognize what that spirit’s presence feels like and deal with it immediately. Likewise, you’ll be able to recognize the Holy Spirit and yield to Him right away.

So accept the fact that you’re spiritually sensitive! And start practicing discernment through relationship with Jesus Christ. Bring the right spiritual realities into the physical realm by taking authority over evil and submitting to the Lord.

James 4:7 – Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (NIV)

God bless!


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