WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 22, 2023
TOPIC: CULTIVATING SPIRITUAL SENSITIVITY
BY T. O. BANSO
“Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him” (1 Samuel 3:7 New International Version).
According to the Dictionary of Bible Themes, “Spiritual sensitivity is the ability to perceive and respond to the call of God or the spiritual demands of the moment.” It adds that oversensitivity and lack of sensitivity are extremes to be avoided. Every child of God needs to develop or cultivate spiritual sensitivity. It’s not automatic because someone is born again.
In 1 Samuel 3, when God wanted to speak to Samuel, the first three times He called him, Samuel, on each occasion, went to Eli, the priest under whom he was serving, not knowing that God was calling him.
1 Samuel 3:4-5 says, “Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, ‘Here I am.’ And he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ But Eli said, ‘I did not call; go back and lie down.’ So he went and lay down. But Eli said, ‘I did not call; go back and lie down.’ So he went and lay down” (New International Version).
This happened two more times and Samuel went to Eli. After he had gone to Eli the second time, verse 7 says “Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord: The word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him” (New International Version).
The third time he went to Eli, he perceived that the Lord was calling Samuel and, therefore, told him that he should go and lie down, and if He called him again, he should say “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” When he heard God calling him the fourth time, he did as Eli had told him, and God spoke to him about the house of Eli. Samuel wasn’t able to quickly perceive and respond to the call of God or the spiritual demand of that moment because he had not yet known the voice of the LORD. 1 Samuel 2:18 says he was a child, ministering before the LORD (under Eli) (1 Samuel 2:18).
Every child of God should cultivate spiritual sensitivity. How can this be done?
1. Be a person of the Word. Study and meditate on the Word of God daily, and obey. The Word of God is the will of God. A heart filled with the Word of God is more attuned to the Spirit of God. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8 New King James Version).
Psalm 119:148 says, “My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word” (New King James Version). God’s Word is God’s will. When you know the Word of God, you will be sensitive to His guidance or leading. The Holy Spirit does not lead anyone contrary to the Word of God.
Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (New King James Version). The Word of God you study and meditate on will renew your mind. This will help you to think thoughts and take decisions that are in line with the Word of God and the will of God. And when you regularly obey the Word of God, it helps you to be spiritually sensitive.
2. Practise solitude and silence. Spend time in private prayer. The Bible records that Jesus, rising early in the morning, left for a solitary place and there prayed (Mark 1:35). Also, Luke 6:12 says He went out to the mountain to pray and continued all night in prayer to God.
Peter was in private prayer when he saw a trance where God told him to go to the house of Cornelius. Talking about this event that happened in Acts 10, Peter said, “I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw a vision, an object descending like a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came to me” (Acts 11:5 New King James Version). He went further to explain what the trance was about, which made him honour Cornelius’ invitation.
Also, Paul said in Acts 22:17, “Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance” (New King James Version). He explained further the trance and said the Lord told him to depart, for He would send him far from there to the Gentiles. Paul was able to perceive and respond to God’s call to him.
God communicated to people in the Bible through trances, dreams, and other means. He still does that today. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Romans 8:14). Those who are spiritually sensitive perceive and respond to the call of God or the spiritual demand of the moment.
Fasting and prayer helps you to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit. However, you must note that not every spiritual communication is from God. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. Many people have mistaken Satan’s revelation for God’s revelation. God determines how He will communicate to you; yours is to pray (Matthew 7:7-8). “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14 New King James Version).
Practise solitude and silence. Learn to be quiet or silent before God and as you go about your activities. Even when you pray, learn to be silent. “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong” (Ecclesiastes 5:1 New International Version).
Prayer is not a monologue. As you pray and after you’ve prayed, listen to the Holy Spirit for what the Lord may be saying. Listen to impressions. If you talk too much, you could be spiritually sensitive. Psalm 46:10a says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (New King James Version). Sometimes God can only be heard in whispers, as seen in 1 Kings 19:12 where God spoke to Elijah in a still small voice. God was not in the great and strong wind that tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces. He was neither in the earthquake nor in the fire that followed it. Then, there was a still small voice after which a voice came and spoke to Elijah. Learn to be silent and listen to what God is saying to you.
3. Make enquiries from God. This is related to the last point. Engage in enquiry. That was the hallmark of David. He enquired of the LORD. 1 Samuel 23:1-5, 30:8 and 2 Samuel 2:1, 5:17-19 record such occasions when David enquired of the Lord before taking an action. David wanted to hear from God before he moved. This contributed to his exploits. But on some occasions, in Bathsheba’s case and the census he conducted, for example, he didn’t enquire of the LORD to know His mind. Proverbs 3:5-7 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil” (New King James Version).
4. Live a holy life. Avoid sin. Without holiness, no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). Sin makes you spiritually dull and insensitive. God bypassed Eli and started talking to others (a man of God and Samuel) about what He would do, the impending judgment on his house because God was not pleased with him for honouring his sons more than Him (1 Samuel 2:27-36; 3:11-14).
5. Patiently pay attention to uncommon or strange signs and occurrences. If you don’t patiently pay attention, you’ll miss the divine signals you’re supposed to pick. Balaam was in so much haste to receive a reward from Balak that he was insensitive to the refusal of his donkey to go forward. He kept beating it until God opened the mouth of the donkey to speak like a human being and also opened his eyes to see the danger before them on his desperate journey contrary to God’s initial command (Numbers 22:21-34).
Psalm 32:9 says, “Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you” (New King James Version). They will not act unless they are forced. Don’t let God use force to keep you under guidance. Patiently pay attention.
Pay attention to uncommon or strange signs and occurrences but don’t be oversensitive. As we have seen earlier, Balaam demonstrated a lack of spiritual sensitivity with the strange behaviour of the donkey he was riding on its refusal to go forward and even the opening of its mouth to talk like a human being. But Moses was spiritually sensitive, for he paid attention to the burning bush. He moved closer to see how the bush was on fire but it did not burn up. It was strange. He didn’t see it and just walked away. “And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, ‘I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn’” (Exodus 3:2-3 New King James Version).
When the LORD saw that Moses turned aside to look, He called his name from the midst of the bush and spoke to him. That’s how he received his call to return to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from 430 years of slavery
Pay attention to uncommon or strange signs and occurrences. There could be more to what you’ve seen. When you seek to know, then you shall know.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will help you to be spiritually sensitive all the time.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to be spiritually sensitive all the time. Father, deliver me from spiritual, blindness, deafness, and dumbness. Let me be able to see, hear, understand, and obey.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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