Spiritual perception and spiritual understanding are both essential to a true walk with the Lord, so much so that it is almost impossible to understand what God is doing and the truths He is bringing forth unless He opens our eyes to see and anoints our hearts to understand.
Understanding is that spiritual faculty whereby we know true doctrine, teachings, and experiences, and are able to grasp their significance.
It is very essential for us to recognize that understanding is not a faculty of the mind; it is a quality and ability of the human spirit, given by God to those who will do the will of God.
We need to recognize the things that will enhance that understanding.Many Christians desire to understand more of God's Word, however, no amount of reading of the Scriptures will provide this spiritual understanding.
Many people are versed in the Bible, but they have no spiritual understanding of it. It takes more than reading and becoming familiar with the Word.
It takes this God~given ability to discern. How is this ability given?
John 7:15-17 will give the answer.
The Jews therefore marveled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, havng never learned?
How could Jesus have so much understanding? He seemed to know everything, and yet He had not been educated according to the standards of higher learning of that day.
The Jews knew this; they were familiar with His background, and therefore they asked, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus therefore answered them, and said, My teaching is not mine, but his that sent me.
It is very important that we do not miss the significance of His next statement: If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from myself.
In reply to their question of how He had this learning and understanding when He had never studied letters. Jesus said," This teaching is not Mine. It came by revelation. It came from God."
By this statement He put His finger upon the strange capacity that people have to know the true teaching when they hear it.
In a congregation, there are a number of people who know the truth the minute they hear it.
Others can not grasp the truth, no matter how deeply it is explained. The faculty of spiritual understanding is a matter of spirit.
If any man wills to do His will, he will know whether the truth is spoken from God or from man. No credentials are necessary.
Any man who has a dedication to do God's will wrought within his spirit will know. The capacity to know is based upon the dedication of Spirit.
This explains why some people who do not know very much about the Lord are able to come into this understanding easily, whereas Bible scholars and ministers with a great deal of training and knowledge of the Scriptures usually miss it.
The seemingly wise scholar does not receive the understanding. This is according to the Word: "Father I thank You that You have hid these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them unto babes" ( Luke 10:21 ) .
The wise and the prudent sometimes do not have a will to do His will. They may have a great mental grasp of many truths and doctrines, but they do not have the dedication to do His will.
So we see that the faculty of spiritual understanding is based upon spiritual dedication. To him that hath shall more be given ( Mark 4:25 ) .
This great God~given faculty to know the truth should be guarded very carefully. Always be obedient to every truth that God brings.
In the days of the New Testament, the Jewish people were the first to receive the light. Afterwards the message went to the Gentiles.
The Lord came first to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. They received a measure of truth.
Jesus said of them, "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they would not have had sin; but now there remaineth no covering for their sin" ( John 15:22 ) .
No one could understand that. The most spiritual of people were brought face to face with the truth, and suddenly darkness engulfed them as a nation, and they stumbled.
Paul called it a veil ( II Corinthians 3:14-15) . He said that a veil had come over them and over their understanding; and that veil remains to this day.
They are so veiled that even when they hear the Word preached and the prophets read, they do not perceive what it means. Their spiritual understanding disappears.
They come face to face with the truth, but there is no dedication in their spirits to walk in it.
The most dangerous thing that can happen to a person's faculty of spiritual understanding occurs when he comes face to face with the knowledge of the truth and then backs away from it.
When that happens, the entire ability and capacity to know and understand the truth of God is injured and damaged.
There is a limit as to how much light you can sin against, before the capacity to see light is lost entirely. That sounds very serious, and the Scriptures are full of these warnings.
For example, notice this amazing passage in John 8:31-32:
Jesus therefore said to those Jews that had believed him, If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make thee free.
This Scripture is often quoted, but rarely understood. Many are saying, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free," but who is going to know the truth?
A man may be told the truth, but he does not have a capacity to know it unless he has fulfilled the condition: "If you abide in My Word, then are you My disciples, and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
Those who abide in His Word are really his disciples; they will know the truth. Others do not know the truth even when they hear it.
No matter how many courses on logic or inductive reasoning a person may take, he still will not know the truth, unless he fulfills that first condition of abiding in God's Word.
Then he will truly be His disciple and know the truth. He will be able to discern what is the truth and what is not the truth; and the truth will make him free.
Hoe does fuller revelation and understanding come? By continuing and abiding in God's Word, by opening your heart to the truth when you receive it.
Then you will have a capacity to know the truth when the next revelation comes to you. If you turn your back on it, suddenly all revelation ends.
When Christians begin their walk with God, they receive certain revelations and truths. Then when deeper truths come, which constitute a cross upon which they must die, they sometimes turn away, for they love the self-life more than the cross-life.
In time it becomes evident that even the first truths disappears, and progress in revelation ends.
Being able to follow on to know the Lord is a tremendous God-given capacity, which should be nourished and cherished very carefully.
When it is lost, people continue on in the same old rut. How many Christians are in that rut?
Every Sunday they go to church, hear the same line of truth, the same warmed-over message viewed from another side, without new expression or depth from the Word.
They hear only the same old line of approach. Why is this?
In spite of the fact that they seem to be dedicated Christians, somewhere along the line the Holy Spirit has ceased to bring new revelation to their hearts.
The day the believer no longer receives new understanding and revelation out of the Word is the day he should get on his knees and repent, because at some point he backed away from what God was saying, from what he was putting His finger on in his life, or from some truth in which he was to walk.
The pulse of this great walk in the Spirit can be tested by the evidence of a continuing and unceasing progress in revelation, understanding, and truth.
If any man willeth to do His will he shall know the truth; but even more than that- he has a capacity for further truth.
His understanding keeps opening up and God keeps showing him more and more. Carefully guard that capacity for spiritual understanding.
Whenever a person sits in a service and finds the message is going over his head because he does not perceive, suddenly he is aware that he has no spiritual perception.
When God is moving, he does not sense what is going on; he has no understanding of what God is saying. He hears the prophecies, but they are not a word to his heart.
He hears the sermons, but they are not alive to him. It is time for that individual to have ministry. Something very basic is lacking.
The problem is usually not that he has committed some heinous crime or sin; it may be that he needs someone to lay hands upon him and impart to him ears to hear and eyes to see.
How often the lord spoke of the ability to hear. Blessed is he who has ears to hear ( Matthew 13:16 ) .
If any man has ears, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches ( Revelation 3:22 ) . Such spiritual ears are necessary. Spiritual perception and understanding is God-given and absolutely necessary.
Spiritual perception and understanding is God-given and absolutely necessary.
What will happen if you do not open your heart to the Word of God or to the truth when it comes to you?
What will happen if you fail to walk in the truth? What will happen to the spiritual understanding that you have?
Romans 1:18-19 gives the answer. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness ( the margin, as well as the King James version, reads, "who hold the truth" ) ; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them.
The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against anyone who knows the truth and does not walk in it, but walks in unrighteousness.
Verse 21 says that they are without excuse, because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasoning's, and their senseless heart was darkened.
This is just another way of saying that their understanding and their capacity to know have been taken away from them. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. Romans 1:22.
This first chapter of Romans tells us what is behind sexual perversion, and why men burn in lust one toward another and leave even natural use of sex for that which is totally perverted.
And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God... Romans 1:28-30.
What a list of iniquities and sins is found in this chapter!
It all starts because people refuse to have God in their knowledge; then God turns them over to a reprobate mind.
Wherever there is an expression of the reprobate mind, or of perversion of anything that God has brought forth in this world, there is some sin against light or truth which causes the thinking to become reprobate.
God turns them over to it, so that in the eyes of all the world they become a mockery, a symbol of all their wickedness, and a sign that they have held the truth in unrighteousness.
This is why these sins exist in Hollywood, and why we have this perverted manifestation in society today. It is God's sign that America has held the truth in unrighteousness.
When they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, neither were they thankful; so God turned them over to these things.
Why is America turning to scandalous books, magazines, and videos that are dedicated to sexual perversion of every form?
This is happening for only one reason. It is a sign that America once knew God ( for America has heard the gospel preached ) , but they did not want to retain God in their knowledge; so God turned them over to this reprobate mind.
This has taken place on a worldwide scale and is even taking place within the churches. Christians who turn away from the truth get things so twisted up in their minds that they cannot even think straight thoughts concerning the Bible.
Why is this strange thing taking place? Whenever people refuse to walk in truth they have held, then the capacity that God created-that delicate mechanism of spiritual understanding-is tampered with and becomes defective.
It works the same way in the church and in the world.
II Timothy 3 speaks of these present days, and gives the signs of the times. Verse 7 speaks of those who are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of truth.
There is no tragedy greater than to have a mind filled with curiosity to learn and to study, and to have a desire and a hunger to know, but to have no capacity to perceive or to understand what one has learned.
Such a person is ever learning and never able t come to the knowledge of the truth. What a tragedy!
Man is a delicate creature, and as far as spiritual things are concerned, his mind does not function unless his heart is set to do God's will.
It is with the heart that a man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth, man confesses ( Romans 10:10 ) . It is the heart that is to be fixed on God.
We are to worship and serve Him with all our heart and soul and mind and strength; but whenever the heart is not truly set to serve God, something happens to this understanding, this great capacity for spiritual perception.
The greatest preparation for a walk with God of revelation and discernment, for the things of God to be made very real, will be found upon your knees as you let God's Spirit search your heart unti lthere are no reservations whatever, and you are walking on with God.
When a man's heart is set to do God's will, he will know this word to be true: If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it s of God, or whether I speak from myself. John 7:17.
He will never be in doubt; he will never be deceived.
The only people who are deceived are those whose hearts are not set to walk with God. Many Scriptures confirm this fact-Scriptures speaking of blindness, deafness, and dullness of hearing.
This principle is found in Christ's teaching in Matthew 13. It was given in parables so that the majority of the people who heard might not understand, because God had already taken away their capacity for understanding.
Only the people with spiritual understanding would understand the Word; the rest, though they heard it, would not even know what it was all about.
I would like to give understanding to every man in the world, If I could, but God says that if he knows the truth and does not walk in it, He will cut off the light from him and he will receive no more light.
To those who walk in the light, the Lord will continue to give more light. It is very essential that we receive every truth that God brings forth, and that we purpose in our hearts to receive it, not as an idea or a doctrine, but as a truth which we purpose to walk in.
We must be dedicated to this. Let our cry be, "Lord, what You teach us, we will walk in. What You show us, we will absolutely do."
This will guarantee that no matter how great the experiences and blessing, we will have the perception to know what is of God and how to enter into it individually.