Discernment

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:2).

In our formative days, before we got to know Christ, and later when we observed the law, we had a clear idea of what was good and what was evil. This knowledge was derived from the tree of good and evil. We thought we were like God and judged accordingly. In the new dispensation we get, however, an increasingly understanding that eating from the forbidden tree equals spiritual death, and we will ultimately turn to the tree of life, which is Christ.

Those notions which we learned in our childhood days still influence our ability to discern. We are often enticed to assess from this obsolete perspective. It is when we encounter grace that everything changes. Moral and ethics which are powered from the tree of good and evil we come to understand are void conceptions in the liberty of the spirit. We need new perspectives of judging ourselves, the temporal world and the spiritual world.

God made man in His image. Man reflected God from the outset perfectly. God gave man some faculties which would manifest God, the spirit, in a material world. Man was given emotions. He could express joy, happiness, tranquility, love, desire, anger, hate, irritation and so forth. When Adam fell man began to consider some of his faculties more prominent than others. We began to discern between good feelings and bad feelings. Some of our emotions were considered more noble than others. We classified what we did; either as good or evil.

In the new dispensation, however, we can no longer judge our emotions or what we do according to our preconceived notions. By faith we now come to accept every part of us as a perfect expression of God. Because everything is now determined by which spirit who dwells in us and reigns in our lives. More than that; if we live in separation, that is, me for God, this will be our vantage point, and our aptitude to discern will be immature.

By the renewal of our mind we will as the spirit leads come to acknowledge by faith that we live in union with God. He in us and we in Him. It is here that we are enabled to discern what the will of God is, and He is more than capable of expressing Himself through every single faculty we are furnished with. As a consequence we completely accept our soul and its diversity.

It is no longer a question about which emotion is most noble, but which emotion God expresses Himself through in this particular situation. We come to hate what God hates, we find joy in the same things that delight God. We cry with those who grieve. We speak harshly to those we are led to oppose. This spirit led life is impossible to comprehend when we are eating from the tree of good and evil. Paul put it like this; “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual” (1 Cor 2:13).

We are now beginning to eat solid food as the author of the epistle to the Hebrews observed ; “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil (Hebr 5:14). We need constant practice, because it takes time come to terms with a new reality, and God is our teacher in this process.

If we judge life by our old measuring stick we are an easy prey to erroneous believes. Basically we can say that evil in this new context of life is everything which are not of God. What we earlier judged as good, is not necessarily good in an eternal perspective. It is only in Him that we are enabled to understand that everything we encounter in this life is an opportunity for Him to be glorified through us.

Everything done from separation, that is, my works, no matter how noble, perpetuates the illusion of not being in a living spontaneous union with our Father. Every beacon we navigated after are, thus, now gone. To our dilemma there is only one solution; accepting by faith that we are in union with God, that we are perfected in Him and that as He is in this world so are we. Here we can rest and let Him perfect His work in us and express Himself through us.

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