If I for a moment ponder on ‘life’,, I am bewildered by the expanse of the seen in creation. Understanding the layers of the visible is outstandingly humbling…
Yet, there is physical! What is behind this cloud of complexity?
• Noah believed an unseen warning and not the fear of man’s ridicule and it saved his family
• Abraham believed in an unseen land and the seen fear of the unknown journey and gained a legacy and inheritance
• Sarah believed in an unseen conception and not the seen fear of age and conceived despite natural limitations
The unseen realm encountered by faith ushered people through their natural limitations into a greater spiritual expectation. Spiritual intelligence invites us to consider reality beyond our natural realm and therefore can sometimes seem counter-intuitive or even contradictory to other ways of looking at things. Waiting for Sarah to have her 90th birthday before getting pregnant seems like poor planning on God’s part, and yet God said this was the appointed time (Genesis 17, 21). God—with His superior spiritual smarts—acted contrary to time, knowledge, emotions, and science to speak deeply to Abraham and Sarah. Each of us has reaped the benefits of that choice.
Every situation we encounter has an unseen spiritual dimension, and we are always needing to choose between fear and faith. Spiritual intelligence offers a greater perspective than the natural world and enables us to make decisions and solve problems in every circumstance.
SPIRITUALLY INTELLIGENT DECISION MAKING
Questions I ask when brainstorming decision-making through the lens of spiritual intelligence:
1. Putting all the other considerations aside, what do I believe God thinks about this situation?
2. What are the spiritual implications about this decision?
3. Are there spiritual battles working for or against this decision?
4. Have I prayed about this decision? Is there a peace?
God promises to give wisdom to all who ask (James 1:2-5) and spiritual discernment (smarts) to all who have His Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-16), so spiritual intelligence is something we can all grow in. Being able to point people to the unseen realm of faith when everyone else is limited by fear or their focus on what is seen takes practice.
As with all the intelligences: emotional, temporal, cultural, and spiritual – God offers His Holy Spirit to guide and teach us into all truth (John 16:13). The ability to discern the spiritual undercurrents coursing below everyday life is a God-given set of “smarts”: He has made you smarter than you think.
Space-time is not limited to 3+1 dimensions – although materiality is unstable in a number of configurations (also called ‘signatures’ – the signature of a space-time with 3 dimensions of space and 1 of time is (3,1), based on what.
The spiritual realm is eternal and driven to increasing order an connections. The physical realm is temporary and driven to greater disorder. We catch glimpses in The Word and in our lives. “And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:17-20
And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.
Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.
After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.
The fundamental definition for Christian discernment is a decision making process in which an individual makes a discovery that can lead to future action. In the process of Christian spiritual discernment God guides the individual to help them arrive at the best decision.
If every believer would simply spend their life learning to follow God’s Word, that would take care of 99 percent of God’s will for them. And, any believer who is attentive to God’s Word will find that the other one percent is easily discerned through prayer and thoughtful consideration.Oct
Christians are not the only ones who have historically been interested in or aware of a spiritual realm, the existence of angels and demons, and those forces that interact with our world. There exists an extensive Jewish theology of angels apart from the Old Testament. Remote peoples live in fear of evil spirits. Movies like The Exorcist, Fallen, and Legion, or songs like Sympathy for the Devil and Demons propel the subject into pop-culture consciousness, usually lacking the clarity of biblical truth.
But the Bible is clear that a spiritual world exists, that spiritual warfare is a significant part of reality. In Daniel 10 we are told of a demonic spirit, the Prince of Persia, who interfered with Daniel’s answered prayer being communicated to him. In the gospels, we are made privy to encounters Jesus and his disciples had with demons (Matthew 8:16; Mark 1:29, 5:1–13; Luke 9:1). The epistles further warn of Satan’s schemes (2 Corinthians 10:4; Ephesians 6:11; 1 Peter 5:8). What then should we recognize about the spiritual warfare in which we are engulfed?
1. Demonic activity is real and damaging.
Based on Scripture we learn that demons will, when given the opportunity, hurt people or cause them to hurt themselves. Mark 5 records a man under the influence of demonic spirits who lives among tombs and cuts himself repeatedly. In 1 Kings 18, the false prophets of Baal cut themselves in a bloodletting frenzy to get his attention.
But, physical damage is not their only weapon. Among many pre-modern peoples of the world today demons bind them in fear and superstition, while scientific people are deceived through skepticism. The former are captive to fear while the latter are captive to pride.
And we should always remember the very real influence of demonic forces around people who are tormented by addiction, victims of abuse or oppression, or those deceived by greed and worldly ambition.
2. Jesus has authority over all of the spirit world.
In Mark 5:6–13, when Jesus converses with the demons inside the man, the original language alternates between singular and plural hinting that one demon spoke for the legion. All of them, however, were fearful of Jesus’ authority.
Ephesians 6 as well as Daniel 10 allude to organizational structures in the spiritual domain: principalities, powers, evil, rulers, princes, and the like. Wherever you find structures enforcing abuse — whether the Nazi’s Final Solution, Stalin’s orchestrated famine in Ukraine, the chattel slave trade in America and England, or China and Myanmar persecuting minorities — you can be assured principalities and powers are at work.
However strong the ruler or authority, they are already defeated as Colossians 2:15 says: “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him.”
3. Christians can engage people who are bound in sin in the name of Jesus.
Without delving into whether and how Christians can or should try to cast out demons, one thing is sure: when we live with the mind and heart of Jesus we will see those who are being destroyed by demons as Jesus saw them. We will have hearts of compassion for the marginalized, the outcast, and the unloved. Compassion will drive us to share the gospel which is the power of God (Romans 1:16) with them.
Being engaged in this part of spiritual warfare requires us to think missionally about our lives. When we do not see ourselves as missionaries on assignment, we will have the same number of opportunities to engage people, but we will not always recognize the opportunities. We are Christ’s ambassadors, empowered by the Holy Spirit, sent to implore people to be reconciled to God through the gospel of Jesus.
4. The gospel obliterates distinctions.
Rome had entrenched social distinctions: slave and master, father and children, and class elitism. These distinctions were enforced to maintain the social order, an order that was about to meet the people of God. The power of the gospel changed how people should view each other, as Paul wrote, “There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; since you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). The same ethos should be true of Christians today.
Admittedly loving people on different sides of social gaps can be hard. In fact, the wider the gap the harder understanding and loving those on the other side can be. But it is no excuse for not trying. In early Christianity, compassion was a hallmark, not because the upper class was drawn to The Way, but because the early believers had learned from Jesus that compassion was not an add-on to the faith; it was and is integral.
How can we disrupt principalities and powers? Bridge chasms with the gospel. How can we demonstrate Jesus’ victory over spiritual authorities? Proclaim the gospel. How can we live as God intended? Believe the gospel.
Spiritual warfare is real, ongoing, and all around us. It is not only an angels and demons thing. It involves Christ’s victory that His people enter into, thereby demonstrating His supremacy over all creation in all we say and do. “Whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and by him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:16–18).
And we pray:
Father LORD, Creator of ALL – the seen and unseen. I ask you to cleanse me and know that I have sinned against Your Word. Wash me with The blood of Jesus that I may come before Your Throne of grace. You are aware of every thought, want/need in my heart. You have said in Your Word that I bring these all to Your and lay them at Your feet. In my life LORD, Your will be done. I give You praise for You shall give me the desires of my heart as I take delight in Your Essence. Your Word says that all my needs will be met according to the riches of Your glory in Christ Jesus. Father, Hallelujah for Your Love. New every morning is Your faithfulness, Amen
Taking delight in The Lord means that our hearts truly find peace and fulfillment in Him. If we truly find satisfaction and worth in Christ, Scripture says He will give us the longings of our hearts. Does that mean, if we go to church every Sunday, God will give us a new Rolls Royce? No. The idea behind this verse and others like it is that, when we truly rejoice or “delight” in the eternal things of God, our desires will begin to parallel His and we will never go unfulfilled. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things [the necessities of life] will be given to you as well.” Amen. Your Word says that by Your grace,