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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

More than just available

Who can see into a man’s heart and know his thoughts? Only the spirit that dwells within the man. In the same way, the thoughts of God are known only by His Spirit.  You must know that we have not received the spirit of this rebellious and broken world but the Spirit that comes from God, so that we may experience and comprehend the gifts that come from God.  We do not speak of these gifts of God in words shaped by human wisdom; we speak in words crafted by the Spirit because our collective judgment on spiritual matters is accessible to those who have the Spirit.  But a person who denies spiritual realities will not accept the things that come through the Spirit of God; they all sound like foolishness to him. He is incapable of grasping them because they are disseminated, discerned, and valued by the Spirit.  A person who walks by the Spirit examines everything, sizing it up and seeking out truth. But no one is able to examine or size up that kind of spiritual person,  for the Scripture asks, “Does anyone know the mind of the Lord well enough to become His advisor?” But we do possess the mind of the Anointed One.  (I Corinthians 2:11-16 VOICE)

I have spoken with individuals who are certain Satan can read their minds. The intent of a man's heart and what he has in his thoughts are known by two individuals - God and that man! Since we have God's Spirit indwelling us, we can know the thoughts of God - good news for those of us who have intentions and thoughts not perfectly aligned with the way we should be thinking and living. If it is possible for us to know the thoughts of God because the Spirit of God lives within us and reveals those to us, then it is possible for his thoughts to begin to "override" our own. Too many of us want to believe like the old comedian Flip Wilson that "the devil made me do it", when all the while it is likely the thoughts we acted upon were merely influenced by the spirit of the rebellious world all around us. We don't have to succumb to that influence, though, for the influence living right inside of us is greater than any external influence could ever be!

The truths of God are disseminated, discerned, and valued by each of us because of the Spirit of God which indwells us.  Disseminated means they are sent out in some reasonable order and with a specific purpose.  When we set the table at night for the evening meal, the things placed on the table are disseminated on the various place mats. We each get a fork, napkin, and plate. We each might get a knife if the meal requires us to cut up some food. We might even get a spoon if the meal will include some items which are not easily eaten with a fork. What is disseminated is meant to be used - it is important we receive it, put it to use, and let it bring nourishment into our lives. In a similar way, what comes from the mind of God is given to us in specific measure, for a designated purpose, and with the intent of bringing growth to our lives in infinite measure. The ability to discern is very much like the ability to discriminate one thing from the other. If we were to use the fork to try to eat our soup, we might miss out on a lot of the good part of the soup! We have been given the spoon because it is the right utensil by which we may ingest the soup. In the same way, God wants us to use the things he gives us - because they have a purpose and will be most useful when we discriminate (through his Spirit) the specific intent of those things.

We all go through life "sizing things up" - from the outfit that fits the bill for the weather expected and tasks we will perform today, to the best route we can take to reach our destination. We also size up other individuals - judging them in small ways by the things they reveal about themselves and even those things they don't reveal!  A word of caution here - God knows the heart of that man or woman we are judging by what we determine to be "revealed" or "concealed". He is able to show us the "real" individual, not just the things we can see with the naked eye. This is only one way God helps us - by seeing as he sees. When we allow the Spirit of God within us to show us what God sees in another individual, we begin to see God has placed a value upon that individual which may just be different than how we'd see them without God's help. This is one way God's thoughts begin to guide our own and allow us to become "discerning" in actions. 

While God makes himself available to us - readily accessible to us so that we can learn and grow as we are each designed to in his grace - he isn't going to do a little "mind control" over us like some magician on the stage. He gives us access to his mind because we need the wisdom which comes from above, not that which emanates from a rebellious and confused world. He gives us freedom to ask him for direction and course guidance because he knows how easily we can get ourselves all twisted up when we rely upon our own way of thinking and actions which come from those confused thought patterns. He helps us with the right tools because he knows we won't grow if we don't have access to them. As with the spoon and fork on the place mat at dinner tonight, we only benefit from what we put into use. Much is given to us, but not all of it is used. We might do well to ask God how to use what we are given, in the right way and for the specific purpose they are provided, in order to see the specific way he intends for those things to impact not only our lives, but the lives of those living around us in this terribly confused world.  Just sayin!