Although God has given every believer a degree of spiritual sensitivity which can be cultivated by the Holy Spirit (and through tools such as this book), some Christians have more acute spiritual receivers or antenna. They have the ability to sense in their spirits (know in their “knowers”) or in their feelings the spiritual state of meetings, people, and places—which can feel peaceful or troubled, full of life or empty.
A good friend of mine, Bruce, came to the Lord many years ago (1974) because of such spiritual sensitivity. Bruce was a “heavy” for a massage parlor and was also a drug dealer. He walked into a church one day and immediately sensed and felt the manifest presence of God. Bruce immediately knew God was real and gave his life to the Lord. Unfortunately, coming out of such a broken background, Bruce fell away from the Lord for seven years and lost this intimate contact with his heavenly Father—that is, until one day, at a church wedding, Bruce felt that beautiful presence again. When he did, in a matter of fact way he stated, “God is here.” Bruce’s wife,Lorraine, although having no understanding of God at that time, upon sensing the beauty of the Lord’s presence and hearing Bruce’s declaration that “God is here,” did what seemed natural to do—she began to look under the pews to see where God was! Coming off the street and straight into church without any understanding of the spiritual realm, Bruce and Lorraine could not understand why they could so clearly sense God’s presence, but not see Him. It took time for this couple to understand that they were connecting with God that morning in church, not just with their minds, but with their spirits. God was “in the house,” and they could feel it! Bruce soon came back to the Lord, was continually overwhelmed by God’s manifest presence, and he cried every Sunday morning in church for six months!
Unfortunately in our western society, where intellectual knowledge often trumps knowledge received through sensing or feeling with our spirits, just like Bruce and Lorraine, we all struggle to understand the unseen realm. All too often we try to relate to God with just our minds and not also with our spirits. Consequently, we pay too little attention to what we sense or feel around us. But, when we listen closely as people talk, we discover that many people don’t just live by what they think, but also by what they spiritually feel or discern.
Feeling Your Decisions
I remember very clearly an event that highlighted to me the lack of understanding in our culture about the use of the sensing/feeling gift as a legitimate way of doing life: I had taught my first class on this gift when a lady who was a trained counselor came up to me to discuss the lesson. “I just don’t know if I am a sensor/feeler or not. How can this material apply to me?” While I was distracted for a moment handing out the lesson page, a friend asked her a question about an upcoming event, “Are you going to come to the wedding reception?” I overheard the question and noticed my student’s puzzled look and long pause before responding. “Well?” her friend prodded. My student’s mouth opened a few times before spitting out the words, “To be honest, I just don’t know how I feel about it.” I pounced on the moment. “I thought you said you weren’t a sensor/feeler, but you were just weighing a decision about attending a wedding reception based on how you felt about it.”
My observation really caught her off guard. You see, she wasn’t sure what “feeling” information to base her decision on. She wasn’t going to the wedding, so should she go to the reception? Was that an acceptable thing to do? What did she feel about attending the reception and what would others feel about it? What did God feel about this question? It was important for my student to feel right about going to such a special occasion, and she wanted to enter into it the right way. My counselor friend is not alone in making decisions based on sensing/feeling as well as intellectual information. Many people, whether they realize they are sensor/feelers or not, often consider how they feel about their options when making major decisions involving the following:
• starting a relationship
• moving to a new area
• picking a school
• finding a church
This is obviously not a complete list, but I hope it gives you food for thought so you can consider whether you are also a sensor/feeler in such situations. If you are a person who bases decisions, such as those listed above, on your “spiritual senses,” then, if you stop long enough to take notice, you’ll probably realize that you live many other areas of your life based on what you sense and feel in your spirit as well.
Sensitive in Your Spirit
Someone who is a sensor/feeler does not just use the word feeling in regards to decisions, although that is often a tip off. Such people are often very sensitive to what they sense or feel when they are about their daily lives or associating with other people. Check out the list of scenarios below to see if any of them describe you or someone you know:
•You sense the presence of God descend in meetings during worship.
• You feel burdened by certain people’s situations.
•Sometimes, or often, you feel led to pray for others.
• You can sense tension in a room.
• You feel whether or not someone is at peace.
• You can sense when something is not quite right with someone regarding a teaching, a decision, etc.
• You can feel when a decision is right.
• You can feel the absence of the presence of God.
• You sense peace around people who walk with Jesus.
• Early mornings feel cleaner or more restful to you than the rest of the day.
• You can sense changes in spiritual atmospheres when driving from one part of town to another or from one city to another.
• At times, you can sense the Lord calling you to worship or read your Bible.
If you, as the temple of the Lord, have had any of the above (or similar) experiences, consider them to be an indicator that much more is going on inside of you than meets the eye. You have had an invitation from the Lord to talk with Him about what was on His heart and what He wants to do through your gift of sensing/feeling.
You’re Not Crazy!
It’s also important to recognize that if you identify with the above check list, you are actually a normal, spiritually sensitive person! Believe it or not, many people who are spiritually sensitive often wonder what is wrong with them. They wonder why they are so emotional, or why they feel overwhelmed around groups of people. A sensor/feeler may wonder, “Why doesn’t everyone else feel the same way I do about this (meeting, person, relationship, decision, part of town, etc.)?” Unfortunately, when spiritually sensitive people don’t have tangible proof to substantiate what they are sensing and feeling, a strong inner critic often develops inside them. This critic makes statements like, “Maybe I’m just making stuff up,” or “What is wrong with me? I need to get it together,” or “Why am I so judgmental?” This kind of inner struggle is a common experience for people who are gifted with strong spiritual discernment. It will just take you some time to learn about what you are experiencing, what to do about it, and how you can live a joyful, overcoming life with the wonderful gift God has given you.
New students at Samuel’s Mantle (a prophetic training school I founded in 2000) often breathe a collective sigh of relief when they learn about the “symptoms” of spiritual sensitivity, saying, “I finally feel normal!” You see, when students learn about this special gift and rub shoulders with others who sense and feel in the same way, they realize that they are part of a community of like-gifted people, and that, not only are they not “making stuff up,” but they are being led by the Holy Spirit for a purpose. The joy and relief people find at this discovery is hard to describe in words—it is as if lead weights of guilt and condemnation fall off their backs and they finally find rest. Just as students of Samuel’s Mantle begin to feel relief and joy as they recognize how normal they are, I believe you will as well, as you make similar discoveries about your spiritual sensitivity throughout this book. In these pages, gifted sensor/feelers will learn about the true spiritual reality they are experiencing daily, as well as receive training on how to function in this reality in an effective, Jesus-centered way. Others who make decisions more by information than by what they sense or feel will also learn how to develop their spiritual sensitivity, so that they too can be effective stewards of the Holy Spirit’s presence in everyday life. So, if you can sense and feel in the spirit, or are developing this spiritual gift, you have a profound call of God on your life to be a keeper of the Lord’s presence and release the His presence wherever you go!
To understand how this sensing/feeling gift functions and be able to release the presence of God in various life situations, we need to learn how to:
• live in God’s presence,
• release God’s presence,
•understand the gift of discernment,
• deal with personal wounding,
• learn how to wash off the effects of a sinful world,
• effectively practice burden bearing,
• reflect the glory of the Lord.
Finally, and most importantly, as we develop a lifestyle of practicing all of the above, we learn more and more how to
• bring joy to God’s heart.
To help you mature in your spiritual sensitivity, I will discuss each of the above, one topic at a time. In each section you will find “Filling Stations”— activation exercises to help you practice and apply what you have learned. I hope that in this way, the book will function as a guidebook, or road-map that will assist you as you develop your spiritual sensitivity and learn to live in the presence of God no matter where you are or what you are doing. It is my strong desire to see you be transformed from someone who is aware of your spiritual environment to someone who can do something about it—that is, to be able to bring God’s presence into that spiritual environment as a keeper of God’s presence.
In the next chapter, we will begin by focusing on the sensor/feeler’s primary point of reference—the presence of God.
Go HERE to purchase ‘Keepers of the Presence’ by Murray Dueck