I don’t know the nature of Marion’s discernment, but her comment in the original email was that her discernment was sufficiently problematic that she did not want to go to church anymore. Discernment is a valuable tool for ministry, but it can be intrusive. So what can be done?
The first step is to realign authority and discernment so you have more of the former. The reason God gave us discernment is to position us to advance the Kingdom of God in that particular area. Too often our discernment is high but our authority is low. God allows the turmoil to drive us to develop the needed authority so we have some space to work in.
You see, there are three common causes for our developing warfare skills. First is that we were designed for war. There is the warrior spirit which God places in some people, and they are well served by developing a focus on the King’s ancient enemy.
I do get a little nervous about the warrior types who have a one dimensional worldview but spiritual warfare is a legitimate expression of their design.
The second major cause for someone becoming deeply vested in spiritual warfare is a background in powerlessness and lack of legitimacy. For these, becoming someone who orders demons around becomes a legitimacy crutch. And these are the worst people to have involved in spiritual warfare.
In between those two extremes is a very large group of people who want nothing to do with demons or warfare – they just want to live in peace. However, peace with the enemy is best achieved by being highly dangerous. The demons have a rap sheet on everyone, and they know who to mess with and who to definitely not pick a fight with.
However, God has called many of the consumer class to become warriors against their will. He issues a polite invitation first, and when consumers politely turn down war in favor of worship, He ups the ante.
Sometimes He allows the demonic to attack them so they learn to fight back out of self-preservation.
This happened to me a while back. I noticed that I was having chest pains sporadically, mostly when I was walking through airports. I have a rollaboard suitcase which my computer case sits on comfortably, so it didn’t seem like any particular hardship on my heart to drag it behind me, especially since I was rarely in a big hurry.
So I went to see a doctor. Heart disease has left its mark on my ancestors, and I had never had a heart work up, so it seemed to be the right thing to do. I could find out how to modulate my lifestyle.
We did the whole enchilada. Cardiologist. Lung x-rays and lung capacity tests. Blood work. Treadmill EKG. Back for the report.
Everything was squeaky clean. EVERYTHING! He told me to get out of his hair and go run a marathon.
A week later I was having chest pains while wandering through DFW. I thought it was a bit ridiculous since DFW has an abundance of elevators, escalators and moving sidewalks to facilitate the sissification of old fat guys, so there wasn’t much stress on this not-terribly-old, only mildly larded road warrior.
Suddenly it dawned on me. DFW is the ONLY place where I have heart palpitations. Not LHR which is quite the frenetic zoo. Not EBB where there is more intensity and anxiety in the immigration sector than the usual long boring quest. Not Doha where we landed in Yemen and took a wild bus ride the rest of the way to the terminal.
Which means, this is not a glitch in my ticker. This is a critter. The glitch is in my authority, which, at the end of the day is easier to fix than my ticker.
At that time I had no folder entitled “Heart Cooties at DFW” but in time I developed the authority I needed out of self-preservation. Today I can romp through that place with no awareness of my heart.
The point is, I had no desire to get involved with the spiritual dynamics of DFW. I wanted it to be simply an airport. I come in. Get my Haagen-Dazs chocolate shake at gate C 17 and hop on the next airplane.
God had to use pain to get me out of my consumer mindset – craving peace – to be useful to Him in that situation.
Similarly, God will dial up someone’s discernment in order to force them into a war they don’t want to be in. Retreating from the battle is of little benefit if it was God’s idea to begin with. He will just encourage the critters to follow you into your retreat until you get mad enough to engage them.
I briefly attended a church many years ago which had a very strong religious spirit. I was just getting involved in warfare at that time and found it quite overwhelming as a newbie. After a week of trying to clean up cooties at work and in the occasional primitive deliverance our team was experimenting with, I was ready for some intimacy on Sunday.
I would go to church, and it was a more conflicted spiritual climate than the pagan shop where I worked. I tried so hard to ignore the junk and just mind my own business and worship God, but it was not working.
Finally one day, in absolute exasperation, I cried out to God, “Is it too much to ask to have just one hour a week when I can lay down my shield and just be safe?”
To which God answered quite laconically, “Actually, yes.”
I was crushed.
But from then on I went to church accepting that it would not be fun or fair. I went through the first of endless courses on the religious spirit that God enrolled me in without consulting me first.
If I hadn’t had discernment, I could have worn blinders and ignored the junk while I worshipped. But I did have discernment, so my only way to make it there was to learn to fight back and push the stuff well out of the way when I was in the building.
For those of you with discernment that is a pain in the neck (literally or figuratively), I think your best way forward is to stand and fight. Know that the demons will stay for a long time and give you all the batting practice you need. You are free to fail a hundred times, while you get better each time.
Eventually you will become good enough at that niche authority that they will pull back, and you will have peace – but only after the war.
The problem is not the discernment. It is the lack of authority that is superior to the level of discernment you have.
Copyright July 2015 by Arthur Burk
From the Hub