“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV)
My stepdaughter (Kati Schmidt Woock) has a master’s degree in American Material Culture. I don’t know a lot about her field of study, but I am keenly aware of the fact that she has developed a discerning eye to appraise American antiquities with precision. For what I might accurately perceive as an old piece of furniture, she can ascertain the date, the condition, the historical cultural roots, and current value if the piece were to be sold. My assessment is foolish in comparison to hers. She did not search within herself and find these abilities. She did not will herself to have these abilities. No, these abilities were received from outside herself as she worked hard, studied, and learned all the necessary skills.
Spiritual truths come to us in the same way. They are not discovered by searching within. The ability to discern spiritual truth is not willed into existence. Spiritual truths are communicated by the Holy Spirit into the heart, mind and soul of the one seeking through God’s word. God uses His word as the vehicle to communicate those spiritual truths. In a very real sense, the Holy Spirit is our professor. The more we are in God’s word, the more developed our ability to discern and appraise spiritual truths will become. We must continue to develop our relationship with the Holy Spirit so that we discern and appraise truth (the way God sees things) properly. Truth by definition is that which describes reality the way it is. God alone has such a view and understanding of what is truly real. We therefore, in order to discern truth, must have the help of God’s Spirit.
As believers in Christ who want to understand the real nature of truth, may we rely on the Holy Spirit speaking to us through God’s word of truth.