The Troubled Pastor’s Wife Part 3

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.

Just DFW.

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


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12 Responses to The Troubled Pastor’s Wife Part 3

  1. Deborah Nightingale says:

    Far out Arthur, you make me roar with laughter one minute which slides almost immediately into an “oh wow” moment .. you crack me up .. and then download revelation in the next sentence. God bless you .. I only come on this site sporadically but it is always when God wants to teach me something about place I am at. Agape to you. DEB

  2. I think the distinction between discernment and authority is significant. Being able to see or feel that something is wrong doesn’t mean that you can do anything about it. It seems easy to think that if we have the capacity to discern, we automatically have the authority to go with it. I appreciate the push towards a larger world view – to see the opportunity for growth when the discernment buttons get pushed.

  3. Taylor says:

    I’ve been pondering on the discernment I have lately, and this really helps me see just how much discernment is really going on and how little authority I have. Worship in church in particular, I thought I was broken or bitter but I can worship alone or in a smaller setting just fine. I also really identify with being a consumer, I don’t want to deal with these issues that are coming up but I definitely can’t avoid it. Ive been noticing what I think is discernment for specific people. I’ve often thought I was just really introverted because “my” issues happen around people. How do I know it’s just me or its discernment?

  4. Lynne says:

    Your last comment sums it up well ….. “The problem is not the discernment. It is the lack of authority that is superior to the level of discernment you have. ”
    I agree wholeheartedly with all you say here. Having said that, I am going to go on a bit of a “rant”. I have listened to and cultivated into my life pretty much all of your teachings, and so I do have an understanding of HOW to gain authority, trying as best I can to cultivate the authority that is very necessary to go along with and really – even supersede the discernment. Quite frankly, to say that I am exhausted is an understatement. And so – I am giving a “push back” here – is it really ?? an authority issue that my God is getting at here?? Really??? If so – and I am not totally convinced that it is – what is it that I am not getting ????? Hmmmm – I guess I will go “back to the drawing board” and try and figure out what I’m not getting ????

    • SLG says:

      Well, Lynne, let’s explore that. I can’t address your weariness because it is too vague, but if you want to give me an example of where you have been trying to grow authority and can’t, we can explore why it isn’t working.

      • Lynne says:

        Hi Arthur, I have thought long and hard about this reply and first want to briefly describe things that I have done over the years and currently into the present.
        I have surrendered this gift of discernment to God, believing that this is to be used for His glory alone and for the advancement/expansion of His kingdom. In doing this, I no longer walk into a mall and know that three stores to the left there is a person carrying the same spirit that had a hand in causing some pretty big wounds in my life. Of course, I still run into this “thing”, but I am not hypersensitive any longer.
        I am intentional about cultivating and practicing the awe of God in my life.
        I seek wisdom from God, knowing that not every demonic critter I see or sense is something that I am to intercede about. For example, when I see a demonic entity in a business, I realize it has some legal right and that this is not something I am to engage in. I can and do, however, tell it to “stand down” while I am there, as it is not to affect the flow of things for me while I am there. For the most part I experience success with the effect of flow.
        Sometimes the things I feel in my body and even emotions are very strong, but I continue to learn to separate the negative spiritual activity from myself (for e.g. “that headache I have is not a normal physiological response for me at this time – something else is going on..)
        There is one thing that I think i need to incorporate much more regularly into my life – but I don’t think it is an authority issue. If it is, or any other ideas you have, I would be extremely grateful to hear what you have to say. I live in an Exhorter city. There are a couple of things that happen while I am in the city – some things that I discern seem to be “magnified” to seem really big, powerful and entrenched. And also, there is a feeling of drivenness to pray and intercede regarding the things discerned. Now I am aware of these pressures and I have to say it is a war in and of itself to resist those pressures. Taking those same things discerned out of the city is a totally – and I do mean totally – different picture. The magnification and the drivenness simply do not exist. There is perversion and self elevation in this Exhorter city, just to name a couple of things. It can and is spiritually draining. And it’s not just me. I have Christian friends who experience the same thing and even a non-Christian who is very discerning. She lives outside the city, but works in the city during the week. She calls it a “wonky buzzy thing” going on here and has even experienced anxiety driving into the city knowing that she will be encountering that “wonkiness” – and she is NOT an anxious person!! So – are there other things I should be aware of and cultivating into my life, besides regularly getting out of this city to process the discernments???

        • SLG says:

          Well, Lynne, have you looked for the root of the problem in the city?

          • Lynne says:

            Yup Arthur, there are roots! The following is a list (not in any specific order) that has come out of the research of my prayer partner, who has an amazing ability to delve into history and see the spiritual implications.
            1) Power/Control that was initially a good thing in dealing with lawlessness, but moved towards negative power/control motivated by greed
            2) Freemasonry – very notable since this city’s inception
            3) Betrayal of Trust/Exploitation for the wealth of the land (economic, commerce, trade) The religious, political and legal systems all had a hand in signing treaties with the indigenous people (Cree & Blackfoot). The indigenous people had a lack of understanding of what they were signing and trusted the authorities they were dealing with.
            4) Recognition was not given to those who had a sincere heart and did the “hard work” – other’s were recognized and promoted instead.
            5) ??? I think there is something we are not understanding regarding the roots of perversion – especially sexual – that is rampant in this city (which becomes extremely magnified during certain celebrations in this city). I think that it has something to do with worship and communion – a false and therefore perverted understanding of intimacy with the LORD. I question whether there are actions/ceremonies sanctioned by the leadership of this city in the past that opened the door to this?
            Anyways, mixing this all together has created a very harsh climate for those who have discernment and desire with all their hearts to see the King of kings honoured …….

            • Rebekah says:

              Dear Lynne,

              I feel for your struggle.

              With all that you described going on in your city, I wonder if it would be helpful to put away the shotgun and get out a rifle. In other words, perhaps you would be helped by a more specific strategy. Have you ever watched Arthur’s YouTube videos on Land Dynamics? I highly recommend them. They are loaded with specific strategies that are easy to understand and implement. Here’s a link to the playlist.

              I bless you on your journey with focus to see the one thing you need to target without being distracted by the extraneous.


  5. Yay and THANK YOU. Not great news but it’s true news, and that’s the best sort.

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