One of the wisest statements I've ever heard came from our former pastor, Roy Henson, many years ago. He said, at the end of one of his great sermons, that we should "be being filled." For the past six months or so, the Lord has been doing some serious and deep pruning in my heart in order to make room for me to be filled daily with Him and everything He wants to do and be in my life. The Lord has not removed things in my heart to leave the resultant holes empty. He has been filling the holes with Himself and aspects of who He wants me to be. The Lord never takes something away from us without leaving a blessing in its place.
Lately, with my two very emotionally painful miscarriages, well meaning friends and acquaintances have said all manner of things, with good intentions. Some of these things, I've discerned, have not been words from the Lord. My Father has been teaching me to be a discerner of spirits.
Malachi 3:17-18 says "And they shall be Mine, said the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels. And I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."
This verse tells me that the Lord will give me the discernment, the knowing, whether someone is speaking in the wisdom of the Lord or whether someone is speaking in their own wisdom. I've really leaned on this gift, especially in difficult times, when there are a lot of things being said and a lot of 'sweet whispers' going into my ears.
Those dear friends who have been lead by the Spirit in the past and who have spoken words of strength and wisdom into my life are powerful, and when they say things that sound really wise and godly, it can be really hard to divide between what's from God and what isn't!
That's where the gift of discernment comes in. I can sense, in my heart, what is that good and perfect word that the Lord wants me to hold on to, and what needs to be cast out.
An example: recently I spoke on the phone to a very dear friend of mine. She had no idea what had been going on in my life. After I told her about my last miscarriage, she said to me, in a very knowing voice, "well, do you think God's trying to tell you it's time to be done having children??"
This sounded like sound wisdom at first, and tickled my ears. I contemplated what she said. I mulled it over and kept thinking about it.
The thing that I didn't think about when she said that is if God wanted me to be done having children, wouldn't He close up my womb?? Wouldn't I just not get pregnant anymore??
Or would the God I serve continue to let me get pregnant and then take my babies to Heaven because He didn't want me to have any more babies?
Which scenario seems more like a loving God?
I do not God is telling me it is time to be done having children. I don't think that God would allow me to lose two babies in order to try to get me to stop having babies. I think He would just close my womb and teach my heart to be content with the children that I have already. I think that He would take the desire to have more babies away from me, gently, like a kind and compassionate Father.
1 Corinthians 2:12-13 says "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God, which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual." This verse tells me that I have the Spirit of God, and I am able to tell what kind of spirit things are spoken in.
When I hear a word supposedly given in due season, it is always my responsibility to weigh what is said carefully. Not everything that is said by those in authority is of God, and it is up to me to ask God to help me to know the difference in spirits. This is very important! God says, in the verse above, that we can know the things which are freely given to us of God.
This is the latest lesson I'm learning in my becoming. I have to learn this lesson, in order to know who I really am, and in order that I do not fall for the lies of the enemy that sound so sweet and so easy and tickle my ears so nicely. I have to constantly use the gift of discernment, in order to separate between the two voices I hear speaking to me, whether it is God speaking to me or the enemy speaking.
That's how I'm getting to know the real me. I am becoming very good at instantly telling just who it is speaking, whether in my own heart and mind, or words that come from someone else.
Praise be to God that I now have the strength and confidence that He has given me to discern. I now know that I do not have to internalize everything that is said to me just because it comes from someone I love and trust. It's okay for me to not believe that everything that is being said to me, even by a dear friend, is from God.
I feel an overwhelming sense of freedom, knowing that I don't have to believe everything I hear that comes in a fancy, slick package, so to speak. Just because someone tells me something that's 'from the Lord' doesn't mean that it actually is.
This bit of knowledge has lifted many burdens off of my heart and shoulders.
In learning who I really am, I've found that I am actually a very good discerner of spirits. And I'm so glad, because I can rely on my spirit, the very spirit that the Lord has given me, to witness for me.
Here's something for you to try: ask God to help you to be a discerner. It is a very powerful and liberating tool. I pray that you all can rely on the Holy Spirit to develop the gift of discernment in you.
The Bible tells us, in Matthew 10:16, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves."
I pray tonight that each of you who read this post will face the day tomorrow weighing each and every word that is spoken to you in the name of the Lord. Please, act out Matthew 10:16, and pray for the strength to do it!