Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
Many of the “thoughts” that pass through our minds are not from our hearts; they are instead the thoughts of spirits of this age that we are discerning to be near us. I have seen many of God’s people tormented with guilt and shame because they discerned the presence of some wicked spirit and then feared that the thoughts they discerned were from themselves. Struggling with fear and shame, they drove themselves half-mad trying to repent for something they never did.
When a person begins to embrace God’s righteousness, he begins to discern what is not righteous, even invisible things (they do exist!). By enabling a person to feel those unclean spirits, Jesus is helping that person find the way of true holiness, and part of that process of discovery is realizing the wicked spirits that are around us all, all the time.
Discerning spirits is not a problem; it is a blessing, a gift from God for our salvation. The problems arise only when we do not realize that those “thoughts” are not our own, for when we have vain, wicked thoughts enter into our consciousness, and we fail to understand that we are discerning something that is outside of us, we often begin to behave and talk as if those “thoughts” are our own. Then, we really do have something to repent for.
The liberty of Christ comes with the knowledge of the truth, and the truth is that we have not sinned just because we have discerned unclean spirits around us. We sin when we ignorantly assume that those thoughts are ours and then follow the ways of those spirits instead of following after the Spirit of God.
Solomon said, “Commit your ways unto the Lord, and your thoughts shall be established.” This means, make up your mind to serve God, no matter what you think or feel. (A made-up mind IS the victory.) If you will do that, God will cause you to know the source of the thoughts you have, whether He has given them to you, or when you are simply discerning some spirit that is around you. Then, you will become a stable, happy person, unmoved by any of the multitude of spiritual breezes that blow and confident not only in God but also in yourself.