Discernment by Pastor Don
When the Spirit of God is moving in a person there is often a conflict with the spirit of man in the person. The flesh does not want to be dominated by the spirit.
Sometimes when the Spirit moves in a a person’s life, the people around them are puzzled by how it is expressing. In order to know how to respond to the Spirit’s move one of the most important things to have is discernment.
There are people who come to church and put on their church attitudes much the same way that they put on their clothes, and when church is over they go their own ways and do things the way they did in the flesh, taking off the holy attitudes.
Everything that we think is spiritual isn’t always spiritual. Sometimes the soul (mind, will, emotions) is what are manifesting, not the Spirit of a person.
When someone says or does something in our presence we can get a word picture. We don’t always label the action correctly, for when we look at a situation we come with our own biases.
When the presence of God is moving, not everyone interprets this movement correctly. There is a vast continuum of how people respond to the movement of the Holy Spirit and the presence of God.
Ananias and Sapphira felt the movement of the Holy Spirit, and sold property, holding back some. Their lying ended up causing their death.
When the disciples cast out the spirit from the woman because her prophesying was interfering with the sharing of the gospel, the woman was healed from this divining spirit, but her masters were angry because they lost their source of income.
In any given situation where the emotions are high and the Holy Spirit is moving, there can be all sorts of reactions. The Holy Spirit will use the same situation to touch many lives.
Pastor Don said that if someone from Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Brooklyn, and Ohio were watching a news program about the Middle East there would be varying responses to what was being said on the news. And when we watch what the Holy Spirit is doing, we too can have varying responses.
The Holy Spirit will minister to each person differently. The only exception would be if someone violated the Word, for then the power of God would not agree with that. But when the Spirit is working in a person’s life, those who are present have to have Discernment of Spirits to correctly interpret what is going on.
Sometimes when the Spirit moves, the healing process causes torment in the person that the Spirit is moving within. And what got the person in trouble is expressed. Over time, the Holy Spirit will cause the person to come full face with what caused the situation. And then either healing will come or the person will go back to the old ways. The only way to see the effects of this Holy Spirit encounter is to see the fruit of what happens as time goes by.
Never judge what the Spirit is doing in a person from the outward appearances of what is going on. Wait to see the fruit of the experience, for then you will be able to tell if it is really the person acting in the Spirit, of if the person is simulating acting in the Spirit but is really acting in the flesh.
We should never debase a person who is seeking to be transparent or put them into a position to be baited further by the devil. The Power of God will make you tell the truth, and then satan will set traps to pull the person back into the old ways, often using righteous brethren as tools.
God will give us opportunities to confess sins in different ways and forms. We need to remember that when we confess our sins like 1 John 1:9 says, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness. So often in church, when a person is honest and sincere in confessing their sins, the self-proclaimed righteous ones come and beat down the person. (Heather’s note: I will get the sermon tape and share the notes from last Sunday’s sermon – Judgment and Justification which Pastor Don mentioned in this Bible study. I seldom get to Sundays at Living Word because my husband and family go to a different church and I attend with them.)
We need to heighten our spiritual discernment so that our emotional responses are filtered and we can then realize that when a person has been transparent, what did I really see? How did God perceive it. Was it flesh or was it the Holy Spirit working a healing in the person?
God can sanctify anyone if they yield to Him. (Heather’s note, I can attest to that!) If you get out of hand, God can sanctify that too.
Pastor Don mentioned that he is sometimes accused of being soft on sin, but that is not the truth. He is not soft on sin, but he does love the sinner. One time, in a Bible study, he mentioned that God can change a child molester or murderer. One of the members actually left the church, she could see that God could change a murderer, but not a child molester. (Heather’s note, a few years ago a statement like that would have given me pause given the abuse in my past, but when I see the miracles God has done in my life and in the lives of others, I do know that He can change any person who yields to Him.)
When someone is transparent and confesses a sin, God can use that confession in many ways. Pastor Don pointed out that besides forgiving the sinner, God will also use it as an opportunity to test the congregation. Will the church act in love? Will they condemn? Will they make the sinner jump through hoops to gain acceptance? Will they be so condemning that the sinner is pushed out of the congregation?
God wants to get us to a point where a, “go through, is a go through” when you go through the valley of the shadow of death, not a permanent campground.
We also need to realize that our physical conditions have spiritual components. Pastor Don mentioned how every spring and fall he got serious allergic attacks as a child. Finally he had enough Word of God in him to speak against the attacks, and at some point God revealed to him that the attacks coincided with they yearly time that he spent at summer camp as a child and the return from summer camp.
Someone asked a question about if partial obedience was disobedience, and Pastor Don pointed out that it was. For a Biblical example he used King Saul, who did not obey the words of God and destroy all in a particular battle that God told him to destroy, and because of that Saul lost the anointing. When we choose to partially disobey we are making an idol of ourselves. WE are deciding what to obey and what not to obey – putting our feelings above the Will of God. And then Pastor Don pointed out that so often the church forgets that there is not only a sin of commission but also sin of omission.
When we are not doing right, when we are in a state of sin, breakthroughs can be withheld by God. God cannot bless disobedience. When our children are disobedient, we do not give them gifts for their disobedience. God, because of His great love for us, cannot reward our disobedience.
We closed by reading Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
(Heather’s note) It always amazes me how God works. Sometimes, when Pastor Don gives us a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes, so to speak, in a situation I am amazed. God is so remarkable in how He handles situations. It is so easy, in the flesh, to totally mistake what is going on in the Spirit. I keep praying that He gives me discernment. I have such a respect for the difficult situations pastors face. But what I love the most about Pastor Don, is that if something puzzles a person, if something doesn’t feel right and a question is asked, Pastor Don explains things so that there is no confusion. I am praying that you have pastors like Pastor Don who are willing to answer hard questions, who are willing to share. And I also pray that if something is confusing in a church setting that you would consider going to the pastor or your elders for an explanation. Far better than mulling things over in the flesh.
Have a blessed day.
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