God is an emotive God and every dimension of the fruit of the spirit is distinctly filled with emotions. So, it is important to approach emotive discernment with balance, understanding, and revelation concerning the realm of natural and spiritual senses.

Hebrews 5:13-14 says, “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”

One of the things that I always highlight about this verse, is that it doesn’t say good versus evil, but that the mature have the capacity to discern good and evil.

Some people shy completely away from the emotive realm of the Spirit. And it’s true, we are not to be led by our emotions.

As we all know, infants drink milk and as they mature, they move on to solid food. They progress from baby food to peanut butter sandwiches to steaks and hopefully broccoli. But even adults like to wash down their cookies with a glass of milk.

In the same way we learn to chew on the solid food of the kingdom of God, we wash it down with the basic truths of the gospel. Now, from time to time, we need to review these basic truths, don’t we?

Practicing the Fundamentals

ABC'sIf you are a professional in any field, it is vital to maintain what you have obtained. You practice the ABC’s of your profession over and over again.

In professional sports, they rehearse the fundamentals. In music, the fundamental techniques are rehearsed over and over. The same is true for me when I write. I go back to the elementary principles of Christ over and over and over. Why?

Because I can never assume that my audience has the ABC’s down.

You never advance past the fundamentals. In fact, to the degree you keep the fundamentals in place, will be the degree you continue to advance.

Solid food is for the mature who, because of practice… In other words, there’s no perfect start. There is always room for growth, and there’s always room for practice sessions.

There is always room for growth — NOT because there aren’t perfect gifts, and NOT because there’s not a perfect Gift Giver — but because the gifts get filtered through imperfect people like you and me.

And we are constantly on learning curves. You must identify the hindrances that are in your way and learn to operate in your gifts in a way others can optimally receive them.

Solid food is for the mature because of practice, have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Natural and Spiritual Senses

We all have five natural senses. We also have spiritual senses that correlate to the natural senses.

And I believe there are six, not just five:

  1. Eyes or Sight: This is corresponding spiritual sense is seeing spiritually and involves the realm of visions, dreams, and things of this nature.
  2. Ears or Hearing: This involves hearing voices, sounds, and the voice of God.
  3. Touch/Heart or Feeling: This is sensing, feeling, and knowing that’s another dimension. It involves getting in tune with the emotions and the feelings of the Holy Spirit and the heart of God.
  4. Tongue or Taste: This involves discerning good and evil.
  5. Nose or Smell: This also involves discerning good and bad. And I could go through, but I do in the discerner book, but in the feeder, I build on the discerner and I then I take us then in a specialized way into the emotive dimensions of God and the Holy Spirit.
  6. Mind or Knowing: This represents divine knowings. You now have the mind of Christ. And there are sometimes things that you know that you know that you know. You may not know how you know. But you know that you know it. It might be a gift of faith, but it’s an unction. It’s a knowing. It’s a divine insight.

Solid food is for the mature who, because of practice, have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Years ago, I learned from John Wimber, the late leader of the Worldwide Association of Vineyard churches, that we are to give expression to the impression.

You are meant to learn how to interpret the messages or impressions that come to your mind and heart via both your natural and spiritual senses.

You can mature in knowing what even the slightest impressions indicate, and in knowing what to do with them. After all, messages from God do not always come from lightning bolts. In fact, they rarely do.

Surrendering Your Senses

SurrenderMost of the time we receive slight impressions. And as you learn to surrender your senses, all of them — natural and spiritual alike — to the direction of the Holy Spirit, you can give a comprehensible expression to them.

It is a process of learning from doing. Your practice is like experimentation.

Romans 6 says that if you present your members to sin, they become a slave to sin. But if you present your members to righteousness, they become a slave to righteousness.

So let’s change the word from “slave” to “servant.”

If you present your eyes as a servant to righteousness, they’ll become a servant to righteousness. If you present your ears, if you present your feeler, your heart, your emotions unto righteousness, they’ll become servants to righteousness. And your senses will be become naturally supernatural senses.

And so, we present or surrender these senses to the Lord to receive cleansing. Then we identify the hindrances that are in the way we can receive healing. So, there is presentation, there is surrendering, there is cleansing, and then there is identifying hindrances that are in the way.

That is solid food for the mature that brings healing to the soul, the mind, the will, the emotions. And we allow the Holy Spirit to bring healing into every one of our senses, our eye gate, to our ears, to our smell, our taste, our touch, our heart.

You need the empowering of the Holy Spirit in each of these realms.

Because scripture says in Proverbs 3:24, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

So, let’s personalize this promise. God will cleanse your heart so that you can continue to walk in newness of life and in the power of the Holy Spirit, and he will guide you into truth. God loves you and has called you to serve him obediently with great joy.

Let’s pray together.

Prayer from a Passionate Heart

Father, I surrender my senses to You, and I desire to glorify You in all things. Therefore, I present and consecrate the members of my body for Your purposes and use. I give You my heart so that life may flow into it. I ask that You release the power of Your Spirit upon me and grace my sense of touch, my feelings, and my emotions with Your presence and Your power and Your gifting. And give You all the glory in Jesus’s magnificent name. Amen and amen.

God is emotive. You were created in His image. So, with practice, your human emotions and your natural and spiritual senses can beautifully reflect to those around you the emotional qualities of your creator.


James W. Goll

This article references content in Chapter 2, “Your Natural and Spiritual Senses” in James W. Goll’s book: The Feeler: Discovering How Sensitivity Helps You Discern and Act on God’s Voice.

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