by Donna J. Kazenske
Written February 23, 2002
As I have traveled and ministered in various nations all over the world, I have discovered a great deficiency of spiritual perception and discernment within the body of Christ. If we truly desire to be on target and sustain revival, we must be able to accurately discern and perceive what is going on around us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I have also been amazed at the lack of spiritual perception and discernment in those who are in leadership positions within the church. How can a leader “miss it?” Why are spiritual leaders today having such a difficult time discerning the difference between a demonic spirit and the Holy Spirit? Are they afraid of casting out demons in church or could it be they fear man more than they fear God? Whatever the case may be, they must learn to come up to a higher level and be able to move and function in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They must be able to discern and perceive what is going on in the church, so that the church can be protected from wolves in sheep’s clothing.
What is perception?
Perception is insight or knowledge gained by perceiving. Perceive means to discern; to be aware of your surroundings (what’s going on around you), deep mature understanding.
How many times have we gotten ourselves into trouble because we did not correctly perceive a person or situation?
Genesis 2:15-17– Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.
We must understand that Adam and Eve were walking in a high level of spiritual perception when God placed them in the Garden of Eden. The enemy knew he would not be able to overcome them unless he could cause them to come down to his carnal level of knowledge and understanding. So, he began to work against them in deceptive ways.
Genesis 3:1 – Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die’.“ Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
The enemy said, “Your eyes will be opened.” This was a partial truth statement. When Adam and Eve sinned against God by partaking of the forbidden fruit, they fell from the high level of spiritual perception (which comes by the Spirit) to a lower level of carnal or natural perception (which comes by learning and experience). Their eyes were opened on a carnal level and they were able to see for the first time that they were naked. They couldn’t see on this level before because they had been walking in “spiritual perception.” The enemy had succeeded in bringing them down to his level. He had deceived them and caused them to lose their rightful place and position in God.
We must always be on guard against the devices, schemes and wiles of the enemy. His plan is to destroy the body of Christ and Christianity as we know it today. This is not something new, as this has been his goal from the very beginning. We must learn to stand firm, fixed and steady in our positions of spiritual authority and not allow the enemy to have any place in us.
There are two kinds of perception:
1) Spiritual perception - knowledge which comes by the Spirit.
2) Carnal perception - knowledge which comes by learning and experience.
We can choose to walk in spiritual perception or we can choose to walk in carnal perception. We can go back out in our boats after fishing all night as the Spirit of God directs us, and throw our net on the right side of the boat and make a haul, or we can fish all night and catch nothing. He who perceives will receive.
In 2 Kings 6:8-17, we see that the prophet Elisha walked in a very high level of spiritual perception. He knew the plans that the king of Syria was making against Israel and was able to share this information with the king of Israel. His ability to discern and perceive by the power of the Holy Spirit saved Israel from sudden destruction and death.
In Luke 7:36-39, we read the story of the sinful woman that came to Jesus at the Pharisee’s house. She washed the feet of Jesus with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. She also took a flask of fragrant oil and anointed his feet with it. When the Pharisee saw this, he spoke to himself saying, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”
Jesus “knew” what manner of woman was anointing and washing His feet. He perceived her by the Spirit, and He saw that her heart desired forgiveness from sins that she had committed. Jesus also perceived the evil thoughts of the Pharisee and began to kindly rebuke him for his judgmental spirit. He then turned to the woman and said, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”
We must not judge those in our midst by outward appearance. We must learn to perceive them by the Spirit and act accordingly.
The Lord is calling every one of us to walk in a higher level of perception and discernment. We must not draw back from the nudging of the Holy Spirit, but we must press in to Him, seeking to know more than we now know. None of us have “arrived” regarding the things of God. We all have a long way to go. We must not perceive with carnal knowledge, but with spiritual knowledge that comes from above.
I have been watching you, saith the Lord, and all that concerns you. This is not a time to give up or a time to give in, but it's a time to continue. Continue on in Me and what I have called you for. Continue to see My will and My purposes for your life. Continue and do not allow the enemy to press and push you backwards for this is not My plan for you, saith the Lord. Continue in My word so that you can grow spiritually and be a blessing to others. Continue in prayer, that you will be strengthened and that I may use you mightily for My glory. Continue to speak the truth in love to those who need counsel and understanding. Continue to minister before Me in My holy presence, so that I may be able to pour out My blessings upon you. This is not a time to give up or give in, but this is a time to press in and believe that what I have spoken to you, I will perform it. Do not allow the enemy to rob from you what I have specifically given to you. Stand your ground and remain steadfast in Me, saith the Lord. Do not allow Him to take ground that I have not given to him. Resist him in the faith and stand strong in Me, saith the Lord, and I will give you the strength that you need to persevere and rise up to fulfill the call.