The above passage of Holy Scripture is either overlooked by some or muted due to the naive acceptance that this is the judging another as forbidden by Christ (Matthew 7:1). For those that think it is judging, they might want to read the entire chapter of Matthew 7 where they will hopefully see (vv. 15-16) that Christ Himself stated we are to beware of false prophets and we shall be able to discern they are false by their fruit.
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In a previous article I wrote about a man who could not smell and likened our sense of smell with our initial level of discernment (John 4:1) at the time we surrendered to Christ. The man lost his sense of smell by holding back a sneeze, a defensive mechanism built into our bodies.
Likewise, upon surrender to Christ, one dies to sin and the world and becomes alive in Christ (Romans 6:11). As a result, one begins to be repulsed at sin, and eventually all sin. However, if one falls into the “tolerance” snare they deaden their spiritual nose. They also deaden their sense to bring the lost to Christ thinking something to effect of “to each their own,” or “it’s the other’s problem.” Christ was never tolerant about sin (John 5:14, 8:11).
Your “spiritual nose” is also designed to, among other things, discern levels of good and evil (Hebrews 5:4), spiritual needs of another (Hebrews 4:12), the voice of God as opposed to other influences (John 10:5), and when you, a loved one, a fellow Christian or anyone comes under spiritual attack (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Continual prayer helps to hone your discernment. Though we all get busy, a disciple must remember to commune with His Shepherd every moment. Some have referred to this as remaining in an attitude of prayer. Although we need to ask our Shepherd many things, worship and praise needs to predominate our communion with Him.
Worshiping the Lord helps to squelch fear, ungodly anger, confusion, and other negative factors that would make our spiritual noses stuffy. Worshiping the Lord ushers us into His throne room where we can clearly hear from God on all areas that we must discern.
But, of course, also ask. First of all, ask God to help you hone your discernment. Ask for His direction in all areas of your life. Whether you write articles, paint houses, edit photographs, create web pages, and so on, ask God to guide you. Letting God direct us in such matters of our lives strengthens our spiritual nose so we can more readily discern.
Foundational to all of this is knowing the written Word of God. Keep it well in mind that the Holy Spirit will never direct us contrary to His written Word. It is ludicrous to think that God would contradict Himself.
We quickly approach the next age when the Antichrist will rise. Let us endeavor to stay close to our Shepherd so we are sure to hear His voice.
Look for an upcoming article regarding the phrases “every spirit that confesses” and “every spirit that confesses not.”
This article will be part of my Bible GemLight series as jasper015.