Steve was naturally a non-discerning person. His powers of perception were less than modest and he seldom saw beyond the veil of appearances. Thus when his mate George observed that persons they were in relationship with were less honourable than they appeared - and in fact quite carnal - Steve was offended. Sadly Steve would find out years later that what had been stated was indeed correct. Steve was ‘a blind leader of himself.’
A theologian is not a cabinet maker because he owns a chisel any more than a carpenter is a theologian because he owns a Bible. Keep this in mind when weighing ‘words’ particularly when they are prefaced by the words ‘God told me.’
Wisdom is not knowledge. Neither is it academic accomplishment. But it is enhanced by intelligence and education. Solomon defined wisdom as understanding. By the time we get to Paul and John we have wisdom defined as being allied with revelation and the explicit statement in John that wisdom (logos) is the person of Jesus. In his writing Rick Joyner presents Wisdom as the Christ, the Son of God. When Christ is our life we become wise because all He is becomes manifest in us. But as us and not as someone else. God incarnates Himself in you and your gifting is the effect of God in your individuality. ‘Gifts’ are not some independent entity. They are the effect of the incarnation: God Manifest in the flesh of the Believer. Life in the Spirit is a life in the wisdom and understanding of God.
In the book of Acts, deacons were chosen on the basis of being full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit. The writer of Hebrews describes the penetrating power of the Living Word in a metaphor that is striking in its accuracy and literalness. ‘For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart’ Heb 4.12 NIV. In the Spirit of Christ and undulled by the law we can penetrate appearances and separate out that which is of the flesh and that which of the Spirit. In other words we have the kind of spiritual discernment that distinguishes between the Kingdom of Christ and the kingdoms of this world.
RIVERS OF SPIRIT AND LIFE
There are teachers whose work overflows with revelation. The key to their ability to bless is found in their purity of heart and their single-minded, unremitting passion for Jesus, the Christ of God. No diluted or ‘added-to’ christs for them. They eat His flesh and drink His blood exclusively. As a result they are never the hawkers of ‘other gospels.’ Their messages are spirit and life because they rightly interpret the word of God. They live in God and not a Christian version of the knowledge of good and evil. Alive in God they are alive in the truth and speak out of a hermeneutic of wisdom and revelation. They deploy the word of God as intended. ‘Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth’ 2 Tim 2.15 NIV.
Spiritual discernment enables us to join the dots and discriminate between spirit and flesh. This is a quality of the sons of God. It can also be a gift of the Spirit. The Spirit of sonship is ours since the cross. It is our possession when we are living in our new covenant inheritance of being interwoven with the trinity. All Believers have access to spiritual discernment whether or not they have been gifted with it. But this quality is suffocated and extinguished by separation from God – which is to say by living in the law and old covenant.
‘He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant--not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ 2 Cor 3.6 NIV. The new covenant is synonymous with the Kingdom of God and the realm of spiritual insight, wisdom and revelation. It is the direct opposite of spiritual blindness and the body of death.
Spiritual insight is a function of union with God. Union with God is the norm of new covenant life because we and the trinity are one. Should we have retained ourselves in the law and the old covenant mindset we are insulated from this union – insulated by ourselves and by our choice. Grace does not overcome the effect of such a choice. But it does provide the way forward.
As blind guides, we can give addresses of appalling spiritual dullness without any awareness that we have positioned ourselves in the body of death and that our words are bereft of spirit and life. Worse still we can find ourselves living in the fiction that we are alive in the Spirit when we are not. Because we have never entered this life. We remain tied to the body of death by the umbilicus of the law. We are not legalists only because we adhere to Moses’ laws. We are in the law when we live from a Christian performance mentality. The most subtle and pervasive legalistic mentality that suffocates spirit and life is the habit of living from the knowledge of good and evil with a Christian gloss. This is not the Kingdom and it will never advance the new creation.
‘What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!’ Rom 7.24,25 NIV.