Day 19

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A Warfare of Rest – Day 19 – Neighborhood Watch

Imagine I told you that a thief was going to break into your house tonight but it wasn’t clear when or how – how would you protect your house?  Obviously, you would want to watch every possible access point – every door or window.  But in my house, that would be impossible for me to do alone. I have windows upstairs, on my main floor, in my basement, not to mention a front door, back door, garage door, and sliding glass door. For me to effectively watch every possible opening into my house, I would need a small army of family and friends to help me.

That’s the whole idea behind something called neighborhood watch.  Neighbours agree to watch out for any suspicious activity around each other’s houses as a way of preventing crime from happening in their area.   So let’s say that I’m working my front yard and a thief takes this opportunity to try to break in to the back of my house.  Well if my neighbour, Ed, sees him, he is going alert me and phone the police, the same as if the thief was breaking into his own house.   

Neighborhood watch is a great picture of how God has designed us to protect our spiritual houses as well.  We were never meant to live or function alone in our Christian walk,  we are meant to be part of a spiritual community.  The Bible says that we all see in part – that means I, alone, can’t see the whole picture of what God is trying to say.  And I also cannot watch or even know every possible access point where the enemy might try to get into my life.  I need my community, those  believers whom God has brought into my life – my family, my friends, my spiritual leaders – to also watch over my house with me.  That way, if a thief is sneaking in without my knowledge, they can alert and help protect me.

Another name for a spiritual neighborhood watch is corporate discernment.  So how exactly is corporate discernment supposed to function?

First, discernment is just another way of saying the witness or “knowing” that we have in our heart that God is speaking. Have you ever been in a meeting and heard a speaker say something and immediately your spirit leapt inside of you?  That was your spirit agreeing or witnessing that what it’s hearing is the Spirit of God.   When we get born again, our spirit man becomes alive to God’s spirit, we immediately have the ability to recognize the voice of God.  That’s why Jesus said in John 10 that we, His sheep, know His voice – the voice of the Good Shepherd - and so when we hear a strange voice (the voice of the enemy) we won’t follow it.   Not surprisingly, Hebrews 5:14 tells us that this discernment, the ability to distinguish good from evil, is something we get better at the more we practice it.  The more we become familiar with the voice of God, the easier and easier it is to distinguish Him speaking, even if the enemy is generating a lot of spiritual noise around us. 

So if we have this discernment, then why do we as believers sometimes get confused about God’s voice or accidentally let the enemy into our spiritual house, thinking that it’s God? It’s because rarely does the enemy come at us announcing who he is or showing himself in plain sight. Jesus said he’s the father of lies who likes to masquerade as an angel of light. 

Imagine you go to a costume party with your best friend, Bob, but when you get there, you realize there are two other people there, who are the same height and weight as Bob and are wearing the exact same fully body costume as him.  So when they are standing together, suddenly you realize you are having a hard time telling them apart.  Now the easiest way to figure out who is who would be to ask them each to call your name – because as soon as you hear Bob’s voice, you are going to know it’s him, right?    

But what if you happen to have a cold and your ears are plugged? Well that’s going to make it a lot harder to hear clearly and therefore a lot more difficult to figure out who Bob is.  But let’s say another friend of yours, Jim, who also knows Bob, is at the party.  Problem solved – you just ask Jim to come over, listen to all the voices, and help you decide which guy is Bob.

That’s exactly how corporate discernment works.  Our hearing isn’t always perfect.  Hurts, fear, unbelief and a host of other experiences can dull or plug up our spiritual ears, making it more difficult to hear the voice of God clearly.  It’s at time like this that it is such a blessing to have other believers to share with who can help us discern what is really the voice of God.  Or put another way “For by wise counsel you shall make your war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety. (Proverbs 24:6)

The concept of community is something we have lost in our fast-paced, internet-driven, individual-focused society.  100 years ago, everyone knew their neighbours and people looked out for one another.  Today, we drive out of our garages, talking on our cell phones, maybe giving our neighbours the occasional wave.    

But as believers, we belong to a different kingdom with different laws than the world around us and we are not supposed to be subject to the spirit of this age.   The Bible has a lot to say about us being part of a Body and the importance of unity in that Body.   And the enemy fights it tooth and nail, trying to blind us to this important truth, so he can weaken the kingdom’s advance and be able to gain more ready access to our spiritual houses.

Establishing a spiritual neighbourhood watch in your community of believers is one of the ways you can stand against the independent spirit of the present age and align yourself with kingdom truth.  If you would to ask the Lord to help you learn how to do this, let’s pray this prayer together: “Father, I thank you for the discernment that you have given me so that I can recognize Your voice.  Please teach me how to increase in my discernment so that I can be more finely tuned to Your voice in every area of my life.   And Father, I know that You have set me in a Body as it pleases You.  Please teach me more about Your Body and how to walk in it the way You always intended.  Father I want to see a spiritual neighborhood watch developed in the community that You set me in because I know this is a divine strategy to build and protect Your kingdom.  Please show me what to do and I will follow You.  In Jesus’ name,  Amen!”

On behalf of the Awaken Team

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