Spiritual Learning

my sheep hear my voice

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son… (Heb 1:1-2, ESV2011)

The apostle Paul wrote the most concise description of how we mature in Christ if we are truly spiritual people and not just carnal people wanting to appear spiritual or wanting to heap to ourselves teachers who will tickle our ears.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 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. (1Cor 2:9-16, ESV2011)

Let’s look at this passage piece by piece. “’What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.”  What no eye has seen… this includes reading and watching teaching videos, etc.  Nor ear has heard… This includes all human teachers and preachers that stand before us with their words of wisdom. Nor the heart of man imagined… Why can’t the imaginations of our hearts be trusted? Because the heart of man is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. The carnal man loves to delve into spiritual things, but because of his lack of the Holy Spirit within, these things always come out twisted and bring more bondage because of his ignorance. Peter wrote about this problem regarding Paul’s New Testament teachings.

….our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. (2Pet 3:15-16, ESV2011)

What God has prepared for those who love him. These spiritual things are for a spiritual people. They are not meant for those who approach Him with their carnal minds. God feeds those who love Him with His spiritual food and spiritual gifts both now and in eternity.

These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. His Spirit speaks to and teaches us through our spirits. If either one is missing there is no heavenly connection. It is like using two-way radios–they must both be turned on with the volume up and set to the same frequency or we cannot communicate. We must first be “born of the Spirit” if we are to have the transmitter/receiver in us that can hear Him and communicate with Him. This is why Jesus’ words to the Bible-smart Nicodemus fell on deaf ears (see John ch. 3). All he could do was reply, “How can these things be?” When the human mind that has not been renewed by the Spirit (see Romans 12:2) takes hold of the Spirit’s teaching, it always comes out twisted and confused, missing the point of what God has said.

For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God… no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. God has appointed His Holy Spirit to be the one who teaches us. Father sent Him to us as a gift so that we would not be left alone without a Teacher on this earth after Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus spoke of this gift.

These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:25-26, KJ2000)

He will teach us all things because He searches the depths of God’s thoughts. Do we get all of His thoughts at once in a massive download? If we did our pride would rise up and we would become like Satan on this earth. God teaches us the things that we need to understand as we go through experiences in our daily lives. This converts what might have been mere theory into practical life applications that make our spirits grow step by step and not just our natural minds. God is after spiritual sons and daughters, not carnal people with massive intellects

temptation of christ by vasily surikov- 1872Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. Notice that this world has a spirit operating in it as well. The word world is from the Greek word kosmos. It speaks of not only the earth, but Satan who is the god of this world, the spirit that is in it and rules over it. The New Testament uses the Greek word ge when speaking of this earthly planet upon which we live. The earth itself was created by God as good. It is Satan who has defiled it with his influence, power and presence. Notice that there are two realities for those who live on the earth. We are either under the power of the prince of the earth if we live as fleshly souls or we are under the influence of the Holy Spirit as spiritual men and women. Adam and Eve gave Satan an open door when they rebelled against God and this evil presence working on our minds and hearts has been with mankind ever since. Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Like Nicodemus to whom He was speaking who was born into Judaism, many Christians today have been raise up in the churches or convinced to attend them, but they are still fleshly people without any spiritual understanding. Being born of the Spirit is not optional in the Kingdom of God (see Romans 8:5-17).

And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. This right here is what makes the difference between your average Bible teacher and those who teach spiritual truths by the Spirit. If you are born of the Spirit, you can discern the difference. Even when the Bible is being preached from or taught and the Spirit is not doing it, these words are like chewing on a bone stripped of its meat. You just can’t swallow it because it gets caught sideways in your spirit’s throat and you go away empty and sometimes confused. Learning to discern the spirits that are in church leaders and teachers might take time and a lot of suffering, but once we rely on the Spirit’s gift of discerning of spirits, we will save ourselves a lot of grief and confusion from following the wrong paths.

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. Once, as a young born again Christian, I submitted to a man who had a strong personal charisma and a working knowledge of the scriptures. But the problem was that he added his own natural thoughts and desires to the words of God and used them to take and keep us captive to his will and intellect. This is called the power of the soul and many people use their souls to influence us to do what they want. Take an encounter with a smooth talking salesperson as an instance. Remember, Satan often cloaks his lies in 99% truth.

We eventually became this man’s personal slaves in a religious cult on a remote piece of land in northwestern United States. Many of us had become born again in a move of the Spirit that swept through America in the early ‘70’s and had a hunger to know more about Jesus, but when we met this man (and others like him) with both our lack spiritual maturity and knowing the ways of God, we fell into his clutches. We thought that we had found a fast track to becoming spiritually mature (be very wary when men offer you a quick and sure way to become “spiritual”). By the end of that decade of being under his influence we were filled with confusion and depression. Finally, God opened our eyes to see that we had taken the wrong fork in the road years earlier by following a man and we had to start all over again. As long as we follow men instead of God we will be in constant “reset mode.” God always does this. He takes us right back to where we made the wrong choice and starts from there once again — teaching us HIS ways and not the ways of carnal men. Spiritual understanding often comes through the school of hard knocks (see Hebrews 5:14).

The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. The Greek word that was translated as judges and judged in this verse does not mean to pass judgment. It is anakrino which means; to scrutinize, investigate, interrogate, discern and to determine. Properly translated this verse says, “The spiritual person scrutinizes all things, but is himself scrutinized (or discerned) by no one.” So the next time you discern that a man is a false teacher, don’t let a shallow Christian tell you, “But brother, we are not to judge!” No, we are not to pass judicial judgment (krino in the Greek) on that person and say to him, “You are going to hell!” Only God is our judge. But we are to scrutinize all things by the Spirit within us whether they are from our Father or not. Remember, Jesus said, “My sheep HEAR my voice and they follow ME.”

“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. Do we dare believe we have the mind of Christ in us? Yes, by His Spirit being alive in us, we do! The problem is that when we start out, we are more dependent on our own minds as we have been our whole lives, and that mind wars against the mind of the Spirit within us. Paul wrote about this struggle.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Rom 8:5-6, KJ2000)

It is the mind of the Spirit in us that we must let operate without constantly overriding it with what we think is a better idea or the less painful way to go. This is imperative if we are to have His life and peace remain in us. When we feel His peace lift while saying or taking an action prompted by your carnal minds, that is a good indicator for us to stop and seek Him before we go any further. Listening to and acting according to what the Spirit is saying is our salvation from a life filled with grief.

May the Lord bless and keep you all as you are taught by His Spirit. Amen.

 

 

17 comments on “Spiritual Learning

  1. This was a very insightful read Michael! It is so important to listen to the Spirit that God has placed inside us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      More and more it is becoming a matter of life and death as this world becomes totally antichrist. Paul heard the Spirit say that everyone should remain on the ship he was on as it was about to crash on the rocks, They all did and not a life was lost.
      A lot of “Christians” are jumping ship these days for what the world has to offer, “but he who endures unto the end shall be saved.”
      Your brother IN Him,
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Michael, I do love your explanation of this verse, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” These examples you mentioned as to seeing, hearing, and imagining really make sense to me! 👍🏻🕊🏆🏆🏆

    As it is with everything, God reveals His love to us through His Spirit, too. These things that God has prepared for us cannot be imagined by our old nature and its natural five senses, either. We could read the Bible and study theology forever. But we could never imagine how overwhelming God’s spiritual love can really be. His love remains a secret until His Son is revealed IN us.

    As to those Christians who have been taught falsely that the Holy Spirit would automatically dwell in them as they ‘accepted’ Jesus or as they ‘decided’ to live for Him (something no human being would ever want to do by nature as it means suffering under our crosses daily on a very narrow spiritual path), I hope and pray that God wakes them up to His spiritual reality.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Oh, my dear sister. You are touching on something that God has been trying to get me to see — just how unsearchable His greatness really is and His ways past finding out. He just keeps revealing more and more of who He IS and who we are IN Him. Oh, the treasures He holds for us as we are ready for them. You know I do not mean earthly wealth and such. Seeking those things would only reverse the progress and the spiritual growth we have come into so far. Yet, how many shallow Christians take a verse like this one you quoted and make it speak of earthly prosperity which they “deserve” just “because they are a King’s kid!” Earthly treasures are like so much dust in a wind storm, here today and gone tomorrow. But His spiritual treasures given to us not only last for eternity, but they multiply as He gives us “line upon line and precept upon precept.”

      I love the following verse to the one you quoted, “But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1Cor 2:10, KJ2000) Imagine that! As we grow IN Christ the Spirit is searching the deep things of God as to what to reveal to and have us walk in next. so that Daddy might have many sons and daughters who not only walk together in His love and glory, but manifest HIS love and glory in this darkened world to those around us. Paul wrote,

      “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2Cor 3:18, ESV2011)

      Imagine the glory that appeared on Stephen’s face as He stood before his accusers, moments before He was to be stoned to death. And that glory was from heaven for while he was dying He saw Jesus standing at the right hand of our Father waiting to receive him up into their presence. He went from glory to glory.

      Dear Daddy, please do whatever it takes in us so that we do not miss all that you have for us from your spiritual treasures in Heaven for your kingdom’s sake and for your glory. Amen.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. dimple says:

    Thanks for the small word study on anakrino vs krino. It is an important distinction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      You are welcome, Louise. Yes, it is very important if the body of Christ is to ever learn to discern true from false teachers, prophets, apostles, etc. The way things stand in the church, anyone with a title has free reign and wolves disguised as sheep have a heyday.
      You might want to read an article I wrote some time ago on this subject:
      http://www.awildernessvoice.com/judge.pdf
      In this I give the three Greek words that were translated judge in the KJV, there correct meanings and where the verses are that use them. I hope this helps, dear sister.
      “It is for freedom Christ has set us free, be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Dan says:

    Good post, Michael

    We need more “discernment” at this hour.

    My spiritual journey began in 1970’s, too.
    – “When Spirit of God moved” in United States and beyond..

    I have been through.. some experiences that you mentioned.
    My perspective/reflection is that those experiences helped me to move into new level of “spiritual maturity.”
    – more discernment and clarity..

    Blessings,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Hi Dan,
      Yes, we need more discernment these days, for sure. As Paul warned Timothy,

      Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, (1Tim 4:1, ESV2011)

      It is good to meet a brother who was born of the Spirit in the same revival that swept the youth culture of the early ’70’s… AND SURVIVED! 🙂 There were so many false teachers and seducing spirits that swooped down on those new babes in Christ back then. Yes, some of us learned a lot about the ways of our adversary through all that has happened, but thank God for “He is greater who is in us than he who is in the world,” the prince of this world. God has no “greenhouse” Christians. We who mature in Christ are subjected to all the elements and all manner of testing and it strengthens us in our resolve to go all the way IN Him and settle for nothing less that the manifestation of many sons and daughters unto HIS glory.

      Bless you, too, my brother!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gracias Michael por aclararnos este tema, estos falsos maestros no pueden ser llamados nuestros hermanos. Cuántos se enojan y nos dicen que los estamos juzgando y que no podemos tocar a los “ungidos” del Señor, manipulan a la gente y les dicen que si se van de sus organizaciones religiosas les caerán maldiciones, lo sé por experiencia y porque lo he visto en muchos.

    Que el Señor nos guarde del engaño y nos dé discernimiento. Cuántos dolores de cabeza evitaríamos si aprendiéramos a escuchar la voz del Señor y obedecerlo.

    “Señor que no escuchemos otra voz y creamos que es tu voz”.

    Patricia wrote:

    Thanks Michael for clarifying this topic, these false teachers can not be called our brothers. How many get angry and tell us that we are judging them and that we can not touch the “anointed ones” of the Lord, manipulate people and tell them that if they leave their religious organizations they will be cursed, I know from experience and because I have seen in many.

    May the Lord keep us from deceit and give us discernment. How many headaches would we avoid if we learned to listen to the voice of the Lord and obey Him?

    “Lord, let’s not listen to another voice and believe it’s your voice.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, they have pulled the same scam here in the USA as well. BTW, who is God’s anointed?

      “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.” (1John 2:26-27, ESV2011)

      WE who have the Spirit abiding in us are His anointed!!! And that anointing is given to protect us from these false shepherd, false apostles, and false prophets the deceivers.

      Bless you Patricia as you follow HIS voice.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ellos dicen que los pastores son los ungidos de Dios y que no podemos tocarlos…

    Patricia wrote:
    Thanks Michael, excellent article. May the Lord give us His light, His guidance and the mind of Christ to understand the written Word.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Yes. Patricia! That is what He does as we seek Him. He gives us the mind of Christ. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do NOTHING.” It is not by our might and power in foreign language or intellects that He speaks, but by His Spirit. If He needs to he can make the very rocks cry out so we can understand Him. 🙂 But it always good the He can use the scriptures to confirm we have heard Him correctly. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Roland Rhodes says:

    Hallelujah!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “We are either under the power of the prince of the earth if we live as fleshly souls or we are under the influence of the Holy Spirit as spiritual men and women.” What an important distinction! Yet we love to worship this carnal nature of ours.

    Thank you, once again, for your insights, Michael. You open Scripture to the rest of us. May we all focus on that still, clear voice which is God’s alone.

    Your sister,

    A. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      You are welcome, Anna. Yes, putting our wills ahead of the will of our Father in heaven is self-worship. Though He was the Son of God, He only did the works that He saw His Father doing and only spoke the words He heard His Father saying. This is true worship.

      Your brother IN Him,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

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