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1 Corinthians 9:11
"If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you?"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relationship With Jesus
The Key To Effective Ministry

Section 4, Chapter 9

Walking in the Spirit As
Related to
Discipleship

Page 1 of 2, 3
Study Questions

WHEN FEELINGS ARE A
BASIS FOR DISCERNMENT

In the past several chapters we have been talking about what it means to walk in the Spirit and how this relates to principles of discernment. In this chapter we want to talk about principles of discernment or walking in the Spirit as related to discipleship; that is, how to know when feelings are a basis for discernment. We also want to talk about the place of trials in our walk with Jesus and how this also relates to walking in the Spirit and being Jesusí disciple.

In the last chapter we asked the question, "If we are no longer under the Law, how do we know when we are being led of Jesus and walking in His will or not?" The first answer we gave was by whether or not we were experiencing the fruit of his spirit of love, joy, peace, etcetera. The first thing we want to discuss in this chapter is when feelings are a basis for discernment and when they are not.

When we first come to Jesus with a need or clarity of direction, when we get an answer, after making sure it is not contrary to His Word, our first and final basis for determining Godís will, one of the principles of discernment we want to look for is whether or not the answer is accompanied by Jesusí love, joy, and peace. This is one of the trade marks of the Holy Spirit and how we know we are being led of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Feelings in themselves though are not the only basis for discernment because feelings can change. We can be right in the center of Godís will and be depressed.

This brings up the question, "How do we know when feelings are a basis for discerning Jesusí will for our lives and when they are not?" There is only one time when feelings are a basis for determining Jesusí will for our life. That one time is the first answer we get in prayer about a matter taking all other factors into consideration that will be discussed in chapter 13 of this section of the textbook. Jesus said in Matthew 7:9-11

"Or what man is there among you when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"

When you go to Jesus with a need, whatever answer you initially get is Jesusí answer to you and will always be accompanied by his love, joy, and peace. The first time you get Jesusí answer to your prayer is Jesusí answer and will be accompanied by the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, and peace as confirmation. If an hour, day, week, month, or year later you get another answer with different feelings, reject it. It is not coming from Jesusí. Jesus said if you asked him for a fish he would not give you a snake. In other words He will not allow you to be deceived but will give you what you ask. That is His promise to you. The only time Jesus might allow deception to creep in is after you have come to him the first time and he gives you an answer, you come to him a second time because you did not like the first answer. Under that condition and attitude it is possible to be deceived (See the story about Balaam in Numbers chapter 22). Otherwise, Jesusí promise to you in Matthew 7:9-11 is that the first time you come to him about a need He will not allow you to be deceived in His answer to you. He does not promise it the second time if you know that you know already His answer the first time. His answer the first time will be accompanied by the fruit of the Spirit of love, joy, and peace. Once you have Jesusí answer the first time about a matter you have sought him in prayer about, after that forget about feelings. Feelings no longer play a part in discernment after the initial answer.

Once Jesus has established his will in our lives in a matter it does not change regardless of what our feelings may tell us later. The Bible tells us in Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8, "For I am Yehovah, I do not change;" "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever." The Apostle John speaking for the Lord states in Revelation 3:2-3,

"Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. Remember therefore what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you."

In Matthew 24:35 Jesus states, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away."

Once Jesusí will in your life is established and you make a commitment to do His will, the quality of that commitment will be tested. When you first become a Christian, for a period of time Jesus will bathe you in his love and presence to let you know that you are truly forgiven, born again, loved, and truly a part of the family of God. But there comes a time when the honeymoon is over and the work must begin. At first, Jesus begins to reveal his specific will and direction for our lives. He will confirm this to us by bathing us with his love and support, but a point will come when He will withdraw the sense of his presence because he wants you to mature and learn to choose to do his will because it is the right thing to do, not just because you feel like you are in his will.

The time in my life when I first began to understand this principle of choosing to do Jesusí will, not just because I feel like doing it, began with me when I started a two year degree in electronic technology in a junior college. Jesus showed me plainly that He wanted me to go through this two year degree. As I began the semester he bathed me in his love, helped me to establish a schedule and routine. He did this for the first couple of weeks of school. Then one night while studying I did not sense his presence as in previous nights of study. At first I thought something was wrong. I prayed, "Jesus, is there some sin in my life which is blocking your presence?" The answer I got was not what I expected. He brought to my mind the passage Philippians 2:12-13,

"So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure."

Paul in this passage is talking to the Philippians. He is telling them that when he is present they want to impress him, make him think they are spiritual by doing the right things. Paul, though, as he writes this letter is no longer present with them. He is no longer present to motivate them to do what is right so he is telling them to choose to walk in the right way now that he is gone. As I read this the Lord said to me,

"Dale, I have bathed you in my presence and peace to confirm and establish you in my will. Nothing is wrong. I have withdrawn the sense of my presence because I want you now to continue in my will by choosing to do so whether you feel my presence or not. As you do I will be with you, helping you as you go."

Jesus was telling me He wanted me to grow up and not just do his will because it felt good but to do His will even when it did not feel good. As I did choose to do his will he promised that He would be with me and would empower me to see it through. "For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure."

James 4:17 states, "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin." Godís will for my life at that point was clear. I knew what it was and what I needed to do. Since I knew it clearly, Jesus was saying to me, "Okay Dale, now you know what my will is. It is now up to you to choose to do it."

Jesus tells us in John 14:21 that it is the one who obeys his commands that love Him and that He loves. He also states in this passage that He will only reveal Himself further to the one who does obey him.

"He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him."

Revelation and blessing come only as we choose to obey, not the opposite.

The quality of our commitment to do Jesusí will though will not only be tested by a sense of the lack of his presence. Historically and theologically this is called the dark night of the soul. The Bible also teaches us that the quality of our commitment to do His will will be tested by many other trials and tribulations. Jesus said in John 15:18-20,

"If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ĎA slave is not greater than his master.í If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also."

There is a cost to be Jesusí disciple and to truly walk in his will. I guarantee the reader who chooses to walk in the path of the principles of this textbook that you will suffer persecution and the rejection of men. One time when I was feeling sorry for myself because of things I had to endure to walk with Jesus in total obedience, the Lord said to me,

"Dale, if you want to really walk with Me then you will always be attacked by men who do not want to walk with me. If you really want to walk with me I can only promise you that from time to time there will be rejection and persecution from men."

Jesus was telling me that I did not have to walk with him. It was my choice and decision; but that if I was going to walk with him and do his will then I had to accept the fact that there would never be a place or time where there were not men who would try to impede and destroy His work and walk He had for me. "If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you."

Study Questions
Continued on Pages 2, 3
Bibliography & Notes
Section 4 Chapters
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