discerning the spirits, entering his rest, entering the Kingdom of God, experience, feelings, heart, inner man, intuition, joy, mind, new life, obedience, outer man, pain, soul, spirit, the dawning of a new day, the new self, the promised land, thought life, walking by the spirit, Watchman Nee
Just lately God both nudged and even urged me to do several things which, to my own reason and habits, did not make any sense to me at that time. I saw no real danger, I only felt uneasy in my belly region about certain people and their way of thinking and believing. However, more and more every day, I felt that God wanted me to obey Him without understanding in advance WHY I should follow Him. In order to make me do so He caused great pains in my heart, severe sorrow and deep grief so that I thought I could not endure it any longer. As I eventually gave up on my own ideas of how life should turn out, how people should be, and on my own habits of dealing with and thinking about people, God gave me the strength to obey Him in a way that was not possible for me before. As I finally did several things He wanted me to do, my heart was all of a sudden flooded with such an intense supernatural joy that I even had to cry out loudly. “Wow!!!” 🙂 Oh, how quickly heartfelt obedience that seeks the approval of God and no longer the approval of man is rewarded by our Father in heaven who is ALWAYS pleased when His children ask Him for His wisdom and guidance in all things! In order to bring my joy home to you too, I posted that photograph above. I would see that beautiful tree on my prayer walk yesterday and I KNEW I had to take a picture. 😉
In order to illustrate this sort of spiritual leading I just described, I want to share a long but very helpful excerpt from Watchman Nee with you below. There he wrote about the difference between mere soulish intuition which all people have by nature (esp. women) and spiritual intuition which only those have who have been filled with God’s Spirit.
As the soul has its senses, so too has the spirit. The spirit is intimately related to the soul and yet is wholly unlike it. The soul possesses various senses; but a spiritual man is able to detect another set of senses—lodged in the innermost part of his being—which is radically dissimilar from his set of soulical senses. There in that innermost recess he can rejoice, grieve, anticipate, love, fear, approve, condemn, decide, discern. These motions are sensed in the spirit and are quite distinct from those expressed by the soul through the body.
We can learn about the sensing of the spirit and its many-sided character from the following verses:
“The spirit indeed is willing” Matt. 26.41
“Perceiving in his spirit” Mark 2.8
“He sighed deeply in his spirit” Mark 8.12
“My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” Luke 1.47
“The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” John 4.23
“He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” John 11.33
“When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit” John 13.21
“His spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols” Acts 17.16
“He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit” Acts 18.25
‘Paul purposed in the spirit” Acts 19.21 ASV
“I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem” Acts 20.22 ASV
“(Be) fervent in spirit” Rom. 12.11 ASV
“For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him” 1 Cor. 2.11
“I will sing with the spirit” 1 Cor. 14.15
“If you bless with the spirit” 1 Cor. 14.16
“I had no rest in my spirit” 2 Cor. 2.13 Darby
“We have the same spirit of faith” 2 Cor. 4.13
“A spirit of wisdom and of revelation” Eph.1.17
“Your love in spirit” Col. 1.8 literal
From these many passages we can see readily that the spirit clearly senses and that such sensing is manifold. The Bible is not telling us here how our heart senses but rather how our spirit does. And it would appear that the sensing of the spirit is as inclusive as that of the soul. The spirit like the soul has its thoughts, feelings, and desires. But how we must learn to distinguish the spiritual from the soulical! We shall come to appreciate this difference if we are matured through the deeper work of the cross and the Spirit.
It is while a Christian lives spiritually that his spiritual sense develops fully. Before he experiences the dividing of soul and spirit and union with the Lord in one spirit, his spiritual sense is rather dull. But once he has had the power of the Holy Spirit poured into his spirit, his inner man is strengthened and it possesses the sense of the matured. Only then can he fathom the various senses of his spirit.
This spiritual sensing is called “intuition,” for it impinges directly without reason or cause. Without passing through any procedure, it comes forth in a straight manner. Man’s ordinary sensing is caused or brought out by people or things or events. We rejoice when there is reason to rejoice, grieve if there is justification to grieve and so forth. Each of these senses has its respective antecedent; hence we cannot conclude them to be expressions of intuition or direct sense. Spiritual sense, on the other hand, does not require any outside cause but emerges directly from within man.
Great similarities do exist between the soul and the spirit. But believers should not walk according to the soul, that is, they should not follow its thoughts, feelings and desires. The way God ordains for His children is a walk after the spirit; all other paths belong to the old creation and hence possess no spiritual value. But how to walk after the spirit? It is living by its intuition because the latter expresses the thought of the spirit which in turn expresses the mind of God.
Oftentimes we think of a certain thing we have good reason to do and our heart delights in it and finally our will decides to execute it; yet somehow, in the inner sanctuary of our being there seems to arise an unuttered and soundless voice strongly opposing what our mind, emotion or volition has entertained, felt, or decided. This strange complex seems to infer that this thing ought not to be done. Now such an experience as this may change according to altered conditions. For at other times we may sense in the inner depths that same wordless and noiseless monitor greatly urging, moving and constraining us to perform a certain thing which we view as highly unreasonable, as contrary to what we usually do or desire, and as something which we do not like to do.
What is this complex which is so unlike our mind, emotion and will? It is the intuition of the spirit: the spirit is expressing itself through our intuition. How distinctive the intuition is from our emotional feeling. Frequently we feel inclined to execute a certain act, but this inward, unarticulated intuition sharply warns against it. It is totally counter to our mind. The latter is located in the brain and is of a reasoning nature, while intuition is lodged elsewhere and is often opposed to reasoning. The Holy Spirit expresses His thought through this intuition. What we commonly refer to as being moved by the Spirit is but the Holy Spirit making us know His will intuitively by working upon our spirit. Just here can we differentiate between what comes from God’s Spirit and what from ourselves and Satan. Because the Holy Spirit dwells in our spirit which is at the center of our being, His thought, expressed through our intuition, must arise from that innermost region. How contrary this is to thought which originates at the periphery of our being. If a notion should come from our outward man—that is, from the mind or emotion—then we realize it is but our own and not that of the Holy Spirit; for whatever is His must flow from the depths. The same distinction applies to what comes forth from Satan (those of demon possession excepted). He dwells not in our spirit but in the world: “he who is in you (the Holy Spirit) is greater than he who is in the world (Satan)” (1 John 4.4). Satan can only attack us from the outside in. He may work through the lust and sensations of the body or through the mind and emotion of the soul, for those two belong to the outward man. It therefore behooves us to learn to distinguish our feelings as to whether they originate with the inner, or come from the outer, man.