Spiritual Discernment and the Bewildering Mass of Conflicting Teachings
Having been so definite in pointing out that all the Divine operations in the "New Man" are directed toward the complete ascendency of the spirit over the soul and body, and that the anointing of God rests within and upon the "Inner Man," we can only stress two things. One is that whatever may appear to the contrary in emotion, pleasure, gratification, enjoyment, activity, resolve, etc., only that which comes out from the Holy Spirit - indwelt-Spirit is spiritual and effects spiritual ends. The natural - soulish - man can make an oil which is an imitation of "The Holy Anointing Oil," or fire which is "False Fire," which seems to serve the same purpose and produce similar results. Thus in the same meeting one may speak by revelation under the anointing of the Spirit of God, bringing those present face to face with issues of tremendous significance, and another may launch out on to a churning sea of beautiful ideas and strong emotional currents, and capture the meeting, apart from any spiritually discerning people present. The pressure and strenuousness of life lay many open to the peril of such emotional, mental, and volitional (power of human will) stimulants, but it may only be in the religious realm what alcohol or drugs are in the physical realm. The pernicious results are that people must have more and more, and they select such as can produce them, and gather around such a man. This is clearly shown by Paul to be "carnal." It is the opposite of "The anointing which ye have received abiding within you, and ye have no need that any should teach you" (1 John 2:27). This makes necessary the second thing, namely spiritual discernment. We must seek more and more from the Lord a quickening and purifying of spirit, and we must walk after the spirit in whatever discernment we have so that we are saved from the imitation "oil" which deceives and at length lands us either into error or gets us into a spiritual cul-de-sac. Such are they that are "carried about by every wind of teaching" (Ephesians 4:14). Spiritual discernment is one of the most vital needs of God's people today. Nothing can take its place, not even the wisest and best teaching or counsel. Only those who have it will be saved from the distraction and despair of the bewildering mass of conflicting teaching, "manifestations," and movements of these and the coming days.
There is another thing that Christian workers should remember. It is always a dangerous and paralyzing thing to allow soulish human feelings to come in and take precedence over the spirit in relationships where spiritual help is needed. Compassion, love, sympathy, concern, interest, desire to help, etc., must be absolutely under the control and direction of the spirit. Failure to observe this law has resulted in some of the most ghastly moral and spiritual tragedies in the lives of Christian workers. If we allow either natural attraction or human desire on the one hand, or natural repulsion and human distaste on the other, to have any ruling place, the consequences may be disastrous, and the result will certainly be spiritual failure. Very often even in the case of a loved relative the human interest has to be made quite secondary - sometimes ruled out altogether - before a spiritual issue can be effected. OUR will and wish has to be surrendered to God's.
(continued with # 16)