Archive for the ‘Discerning the spirits’ Tag

Confusion vs. Clarity   4 comments


This is from the blog Entering the Promised Land:

Let’s say some people request you to do various things for them, but you immediately see that it would be an impossible task to do everything during the free time you have been given by God. If you are like me, you might have tried to do ALL things as quick as possible, though. In fact, I always thought that would be loving, kind, and polite to act that way. However, lately the Lord showed me how unloving it was. Not that I had been unloving toward others, but it began to dawn on me that I neglected my own needs extremely, or in other words, I hated myself. On Saturday I discovered an interesting quote on my daily calendar in the kitchen. It reads,

“The ability to give voice to the word ‘No’ is the first step toward freedom.”
(Nicolas Chamfort)

Well, during the last few weeks I have learned to introduce this very word more and more often in my relationships with others and I also put an end to some of them. At first I feared the reactions from others extremely and was wavering in my faith like a nutshell on the ocean. Nonetheless, two days ago during my time alone with the Lord, I learned an interesting lesson regarding this issue. Resting in His peaceful presence and talking with Him about everything that kept bothering me, He gave me very helpful advice. As I was just thinking about whether to answer or not to answer to some people’s expectations, Jesus said, “Think the whole thing completely through. Imagine you do it the way you always did… just perceive how your feelings change after having done so.” That sounded quite simple. 🙄 I did as He had suggested and – lo and behold – as soon as I would think about meeting or responding to certain people, the hamster wheel of thoughts including worries about the future set in and the emotional confusion that followed could not be stopped until Jesus said, “Look at me instead!” Beholding Him with my mind’s eye, I felt His soothing light and His joyful peace coming back to me at once. Wow!! 🙂 Actually, God is the One who makes us think of and focus on Him; we cannot even do this on our own. As for me, I always forget about Him unless I feel a tender nudge that reminds me of His permanent presence again.

Furthermore, I realized lately why I cannot have relationships with everyone, whether Christians or not. Not only that I do not have the time to be with several people in different places at the same time, it also has to do with the fact that I ask the Lord for His guidance while many others don’t do that at all. They keep living according to their own thoughts and standards, personal goals and dreams. As for Christians who still live in their uncrucified self that tells them what to do and what to avoid (which is not God’s voice, for sure), it has often been as if two realms collided when I tried to pander to others’ whims and emotions instead of looking in the first place into my own heart where God dwells. Actually, I saw that we are indeed only able to let go of man’s approval as soon as our heart has been gripped by Christ who has become our first and only love. If there is still any love in our life that is more important than Him (spouse, kids, parents, friends etc.pp.), then there is still confusion and no clarity about what God wants us to do. This confusion springs from a divided heart that tries to keep its old habits and life while following the Lord. This will never work. Either we choose the narrow way, lose our old life and die to our old nature or we will never see God’s face, for it is written,

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. (Ps 24:3-6 ESV)

Or in Jesus’ words,

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Mt 5:8 ESV)

Can we be deceived?   7 comments


“Can our eyes deceive us?” Photo by Susanne Schuberth

This is from the blog Entering the Promised Land:

I recalled having read a certain quote by Oswald Chambers quite some time ago. However, whenever I tried to find it again, I failed, since I could not remember the exact wording. Just today as I was searching the net for mystical experiences by Christians, I would find some criticism about the very word “mysticism” by T.A. Sparks and A.W. Tozer instead. Of course, there has been false mysticism in Christianity too, but not all mystical experiences were wrong. As long as one gets closer and closer to the Living God, I would never dare to say that mysticism was a bad thing. The false mystical experience might get obvious to us when we realize that it has caused the believer to get more and more focused on his own person and “ministry” than on the person of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. Pride about knowing more than others, arrogance toward not-so-spiritual believers, and sometimes even a sort of megalomania (about what God would be able to do through the little “ME”) go hand in hand with Satan’s spiritual suggestions.

Later I also found another writing on the internet by a man who tried to prove Oswald Chambers and Watchman Nee wrong. Reading his deliberations, it got more and more clear to me that the carnal mind can never understand what the spiritual mind already knows due to its experiences with God and Jesus. The skilled theologian might find countless Scriptures to support his theories and thoughts about Christian mystics being deceived, however, what he does not know, it seems, is that our reason and logic cannot but understand the very surface of what was written in the Bible. The very depth of Scripture, albeit, reveals itself only through the Holy Spirit that indwells the believer and continually teaches him subliminally what is true and what is not true, even according to the Scriptures. The apostle Paul told us,

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:14-16 ESV)

And the apostle John wrote,

“I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.” (1 Jn 2:26-27 ESV)

Reading this Scripture, it dawned on me that we can only be deceived if we have not received the anointing of the Holy Spirit yet or, when we have received it, we stop abiding in Him and His love. There is a common “deception” I would like to point out here, which has to do with the Chambers’ quote I had been looking for. Although it is not a real deception, it is rather a saddening sort of confusion that has grieved so many believers because they were taught wrongly about salvation. Eventually, here is not only the Oswald Chambers’ quote (which I highlighted in bold letters), but his whole devotional.

The Staggering Question

June 1, 2015

He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” —Ezekiel 37:3

Can a sinner be turned into a saint? Can a twisted life be made right? There is only one appropriate answer— “O Lord God, You know” (Ezekiel 37:3). Never forge ahead with your religious common sense and say, “Oh, yes, with just a little more Bible reading, devotional time, and prayer, I see how it can be done.”

It is much easier to do something than to trust in God; we see the activity and mistake panic for inspiration. That is why we see so few fellow workers with God, yet so many people working for God. We would much rather work for God than believe in Him. Do I really believe that God will do in me what I cannot do? The degree of hopelessness I have for others comes from never realizing that God has done anything for me. Is my own personal experience such a wonderful realization of God’s power and might that I can never have a sense of hopelessness for anyone else I see? Has any spiritual work been accomplished in me at all? The degree of panic activity in my life is equal to the degree of my lack of personal spiritual experience.

“Behold, O My people, I will open your graves…” (Ezekiel 37:12). When God wants to show you what human nature is like separated from Himself, He shows it to you in yourself. If the Spirit of God has ever given you a vision of what you are apart from the grace of God (and He will only do this when His Spirit is at work in you), then you know that in reality there is no criminal half as bad as you yourself could be without His grace. My “grave” has been opened by God and “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells” (Romans 7:18). God’s Spirit continually reveals to His children what human nature is like apart from His grace.

In closing, I dare to raise two additional, maybe challenging questions.

“Do we believe that others will be saved because of our witness or because Christ is Savior? Can we trust Him and His unconditional love so much that we are convinced He loves our neighbors/loved ones/co-workers just as much as He loves us?”