We are all familiar with the five physical senses of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting. These senses allow us receive information and learn about the world around us. We use this information everyday to navigate through life. God has also given us spiritual senses to help us to navigate through spiritual realities that we may encounter. These senses are the same as the physical senses. We can see, hear, feel, smell, and taste spiritual realities if God so chooses. At first these awarenesses may seem strange or disturbing because we are not used to them. However, if we realize that our spirits are perceiving a normally hidden reality, we will not feel so disoriented.
Why does God give us these senses?
God is Spirit (John 4:24). He lives in the realm of the spirit. He communicates with us through our human spirits which He, Himself gave us so that we could have fellowship with Him (Zech. 12:1).
When we open our hearts to having a relationship with God, He comes. He desires intimacy with His people. One of the ways He accomplishes this is by awakening our spiritual senses so that we may interact with Him more completely.
How are they used?
Just as we have many uses for our senses in the physical world, our spiritual senses also have many uses. For example we can use our gift of physical sight to know where objects are placed in a room, to recognize a person, or to appreciate beauty. There are other ways we can use our gift of sight as well, but you get the basic idea. Our senses reveal the world around and allow us to navigate through life. Our spiritual senses are given for the same purpose: to have greater understanding of God and the spiritual realm in which we live.
Here are some examples from Scripture about how God uses our spiritual senses.
Elisha’s servant’s eyes being open (2 kings 6:15-17)
15 Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16 So he answered, “Do not fear, those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Four Lepers and the End of a War (2 Kings 7: 3-7)
3 Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, “Why do we sit here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We will enter the city,’ then the famine is in the city and we will die there; and if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us go over to the camp of the Arameans. If they spare us, we will live; and if they kill us, we will but die.” 5 They arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Arameans; when they came to the outskirts of the camp of the Arameans, behold, there was no one there. 6 For the Lord had caused the army of the Arameans to hear a sound of chariots and a sound of horses, even the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us.” 7 Therefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents and their horses and their donkeys, even the camp just as it was, and fled for their life.
Healing of a woman with a hemorrhage (Mark 5:25-34)
25 A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, 26 and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse— 27 after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. 28 For she thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” 29 Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. 30 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” 31 And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’” 32 And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. 33 But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.
The Aroma of Christ (2 Cor 2: 14-16)
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us thesweet aromaof theknowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?
Eating the Scroll (Ezek 2: 1-2, 8-10; 3:1-4)
(In this vision multiple senses are used.)
1 Then He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet that I may speak with you!” 2 As He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet; andI heard Him speaking to me…. 8 “Now you, son of man, listen to what I am speaking to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.” 9 Then I looked, and behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll wasin it. 10 When He spread it out before me, it was written on the front and back, and written on it were lamentations, mourning and woe.
1 Then He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and He fed me this scroll. 3 He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your body with this scroll which I am giving you.” Then I ate it, and it was sweet as honey in my mouth.
As we grow in our relationships with God we should pay attention to the many ways He communicates with us. Does He announce His coming with His Fragrance? Perhaps we perceive His touch or feel our hearts drawn to His. Does he give us dreams and visions? Maybe He speaks softly into our hearts. As we learn to recognize Him in this way, we become more able to respond to His leading and more effectively minister to the needs of the Body.