Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How To Discern Spiritual Truths

We do not have because we do not ask, is what apostle James told us. Jesus told us that if we need something we are to ask, believing with no doubt and it will be given to us. We often think of these Scriptures when we are in some physical need such as when the bills are more than our income. We sometimes think about them when someone we love is sick. However, I suspect we seldom think about them when we are in spiritual need. For some odd reason we figure we have to take care of our spiritual needs ourselves.

One of our greatest needs is the discerning of spiritual truths, the understanding of the deeper meaning of the Holy Scriptures. People without the Spirit look at our Scriptures and scoff. They dissect it bit by bit, try to discredit the men who were involved in the writing of it and totally ignore the authority of the Spirit as the author of it. However, we are not like them because we are filled by the Spirit and have the capability to discern the spiritual truths it contains, if we choose to ask for that discernment. Yet, it is one of our greatest failings in this age of "information".

When I look at Jesus' involvement with the disciples after his resurrection I sense a bit of a frustration that they failed to understand Scripture and what he had explained to them. To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus Jesus said:

“How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26)

Foolish and slow of heart to believe is what he called them. Then he patiently spent the rest of the journey teaching them again what the Scriptures had to say about the suffering Christ. He opened their mind and revealed the deeper truths. Later that night, when he came to the disciples who were hiding away, afraid for their lives, he stated, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?" (Luke 24:38) They thought he was a ghost not understanding what he had taught them about his death and resurrection. He got after them:

“This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24:44)

Then Jesus did something that was incredible, changing these men of trade to men of deep understanding, teachers and preachers:

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)
He opened their minds so they could understand, and that is what is available to us. He told them to stay where they were until they received what the Father was sending, the Holy Spirit, so they would be clothed with power from on high. He was completely equipping them for the mission he was giving them, as he wants to completely equip us.

If we do not have discernment of spiritual truths it is because we have not asked. Our Lord wants us to have understanding of Scripture and we are foolish and slow of heart if we do not desire it for ourselves. We treat the Bible as if it is some kind of story book or a book of moral law. We read it but we fail to understand it. We have understanding of the surface layer but we fail to allow the Spirit to reveal the deeper truths. We are faithful to our reading plans and we may even enrol for some Bible courses but we fail to seek a personal revelation for ourselves. We accept other people's teaching but we fail to seek the Spirit's teaching. How foolish and slow of heart we are to understand what the Scriptures reveal to us, and all because we do not ask.

Make it your prayer right now, "Lord Jesus, open my mind to the Word of God. I want to understand. I want to discern the truths of the Scriptures. I want to be an approved workman who correctly handles the Word of truth." Make this your heart's desire and you will be amazed at how the Word of God will come alive in your heart, mind and mouth. How can we teach if we do not understand for ourselves? To God be the glory!

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