COME TO YOUR SENSES!
This study entitled ‘Come to your senses’ is exactly as the title implies. I want to take us on a journey through our five senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight. Physically we have these senses and it’s through them that we relate to the world around us, without them we would find it difficult to function. If one or two are missing then our experience of everyday life would be limited. It’s the same with the Spiritual senses, if one or two are missing our experience in our Spiritual lives would be limited too.
We are created in the image of God, therefore God has blessed us with the same senses that He has. He created our senses to be used for His glory. It’s important that we look at the Spiritual aspect of these senses, and find how they can help us function in our Spiritual lives. and how they can be used in our relationship with God.
TASTE - Psalms 34:8 (NIV) 8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
SEEING - Ephesians 1:18 (NIV) 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
HEARING - Romans 10:17 (NIV) 17Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
TOUCH - Luke 24: 39 (NIV) 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
SMELL - 2 Corinthians 2:15 (NIV) 15For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.
We probably go through every day life without giving much thought to our senses as we are so used to using them, but perhaps it would be no bad thing if we were to raise our awareness of how the devil can use our physical senses to cause us to sin. The temptation to sin is usually presented through one or more of the five senses, therefore it’s important for us to recognise this and take steps to prevent us falling into the devil’s snare. When Christ lives in us, He helps us to develop all these inner senses that are within us. Heb. 5: 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Basically this verse is saying that our spiritual senses of hearing, tasting, seeing, smelling and touching can be trained to discern between good and evil.
In many ways our five senses work with each other. If I began to peel an orange out of sight in the room, it wouldn’t be long before you could smell it. With the smell you could picture in your mind what it looked like, and perhaps it would make your mouth water in expectation of tasting it. Your sense of smell instigates your thoughts and imagination, therefore it comes as no surprise that the devil can use that against you. When using the Spiritual senses it would change it around so that your thoughts would centre on the will of God and serving Him. Your hunger and thirst would be for the Word of God, in fact all your desires would become focused on God.
All our senses are valuable tools for learning, but the devil can also influence them. The senses of hearing and sight are the main target for the devil. Sin begins with the senses, and the devil will put tremendous pressure on our senses. It may be interesting to note that Jesus endured the same pressure and we can draw comfort from His example. Hebrews 4:15 (NIV) 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.
Jesus understands all about temptation and will sympathise with our weakness. Remember how Jesus faced temptation in the wilderness. Even with the Lord, the devil focused on some of the physical senses during this time. Matthew 4:1 - 4 (NIV) 1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” 4Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
The devil was exploiting Jesus sense of smell and taste. Can you imagine what Jesus must have felt like? He had fasted for 40 days and nights, and the devil comes along and suggests he turns stones into bread! Just like us, he would automatically think and recall the aroma and flavour of freshly baked bread. Yet, He didn’t give in to temptation, instead He stressed the importance and value of spiritual food to sustain Him.
Over the next few weeks I want to look at the five senses in a spiritual realm. We know how to use our senses in a natural realm, but as women of God we need to know how to use the five spiritual senses God has given us, which enables us to grow in Christ. We will go into the detail of these senses in greater depth each week, but for now we’ll look at the broader spectrum.
If you have any doubt about having 5 spiritual senses, then consider the words of A.W.Tozer. “The same terms are used to express the knowledge of God as are used to express knowledge of physical things. "O taste and see that the Lord is good" (Ps. 34:8). "All the garments smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia, out of ivory palaces" (Ps. 45:8). "My sheep hear my voice" (Jn. 10:27). "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" (Mt. 5:8) . . . What can all this mean except that we have in our hearts organs by means of which we can know God as certainly as we know material things through our familiar five senses?”
I believe that Tozer is saying that God will use all our senses in building up our relationship with Him, but I also think that God will use our physical senses in our service to Him too. Moses is an example of this as He led the people through the wilderness. Moses used all the five senses to teach people to trust in God. Moses spoke to them so they could hear God’s direction for them. Exodus 14:13 (NIV) 13Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.
Again in Exodus 16 he uses their hunger. The manna involved their sight - Exodus 16:14 - 15 (NIV) 14When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat. It also involved their sense of smell - Exodus 16:19 - 20 (NIV) 19Then Moses said to them, “No-one is to keep any of it until morning.” 20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them. And it also used their sense of taste - Exodus 16:31 (NIV) 31The people of Israel called the bread manna.£ It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.
Moses also warns them about the sense of touch - Leviticus 11:8 (NIV) 8You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you. This verse also shows us that as in every other sense there is good and bad. This is where our spiritual senses should kick in, and alert us to seek God and not be led into temptation. Therefore it’s important that our spiritual senses are all in good health and working effectively. We know that it we have a cold it affects our ability to taste, we can’t taste some food. Our nose gets blocked and we can’t smell anything. Perhaps we also get earache, our ears get blocked and we don’t hear as clear as we should. Our eyes water constantly from the cold and our vision is watery and unclear. We may be so ill that we can’t touch food, and if we starve ourselves for a long time it will affect our nervous system. The same can be said for our Spiritual senses. If we are spiritually sick or deprived of nutrition then all our senses will be affected. Therefore we need to keep these senses in tip-top condition if we want to function effectively in our Christian lives.
In our spiritual life all these five senses are brought together into what we see to be the indwelling of God, and God will flow through these areas. The spiritual senses are the vessels that God uses to exchange information between us and the Holy Spirit living in us. Therefore we have a responsibility to maintain them so we receive clear information to enable us to act upon God’s instruction.
Each of our five external senses- taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight-has a link to one of the spiritual senses. . . . In researching this subject it seems to be widely acclaimed that we can link the sense of touch to the love of goodness; the sense of taste to the love of knowing; the sense of smell to the love of perceiving; the sense of hearing to the love of learning, and also to obedience; and the sense of sight to the love of being intelligent and wise. In other words Touch signifies love; taste signifies affection or discernment; smell signifies perception; hearing signifies obedience; and sight signifies understanding or wisdom. So to study the 5 spiritual senses perhaps isn’t as far-fetched as we think it is.
I’m not saying that we have to open up our senses to feel God in our hearts, because all our emotions are experienced in our minds and spirit and occasionally in our physical bodies. Yet God asks us to give Him our all, and in doing so, we can experience His senses in return. Someone asked me recently how I knew when God was speaking to me? Well, I know, because I know, because I know, because I know! But occasionally I know because of the tingling I feel in my body from head to toe, or a warm feeling like a hand on my shoulder or head. Sometimes I feel the comfort of a Fatherly hug, or a heavenly kiss, or the loving gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps once or twice in my Christian life I have heard the audible voice of God, but this has been at times when I was going through valley experiences and I needed to. I have never seen a vision of God, though He does speak to me through dreams and visions. These are personal experiences that I treasure, but most importantly in my day to day walk with Him I rely on His Word and His promises, and trust Him in every sense, physical and spiritual.
Our senses are part of our lives both in the natural and in the spiritual, but I believe that many of us need to become more aware of our spiritual senses if we want to move deeper into God’s plan and purpose for our lives – it makes sense! What is God asking us to do? The answer is simply this..... “Come to our Senses.”
1. In everyday life we use our five senses constantly without giving them much thought. Can you think of any ways in which we would use our five Spiritual senses?
2. Heb. 5: 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Is it possible to train and exercise our Spiritual senses?
3. The devil can influence our senses, and his main target would be our hearing and sight. Can you think of ways that our hearing and sight would be influenced by the devil?
4. The devil used the senses to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. How did Jesus respond to this, and what lessons can we learn from it?
5. Our spiritual senses will react and alert us when temptation comes our way. How can we recognise this warning signal and how does it help us to identify the enemy is at work?
6. Why are the five senses so significant in our relationship with God?