“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things… But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” 1 John 2:20, 27
We live in a time when we have so much artificial intelligence. We have intelligent handheld devices, cars, machines, planes (drones) etc. In the workplace, employers are not only looking for people with mental capabilities but also those with emotional intelligence, people who possess leadership and interpersonal skills and can work with teams. Generally, the intelligent person almost always has an advantage in any competitive situation.
What is intelligence? Dictionary.com defines it as “manifestation of a high mental capacity; knowledge of an event, circumstance, etc., received or imparted; news; information.” In security circles it is “information about an enemy or potential enemy.” Simply, intelligence is the ability to know things. Spiritual intelligence therefore is knowledge that is gained not by the natural senses but through the Holy Spirit. This presupposes that not everyone has access to this kind of intelligence.
God made man originally intelligent. However, man’s intelligence was not derived only from his natural senses. For instance, how was Adam able to know that Eve was made from his rib? (Genesis 2:21-23). Also, how was he able to name all the animals? (Genesis 2:20). Adam was able to do these because he possessed spiritual (supernatural) intelligence. This is not surprising because at the beginning when God made man, He endowed him with His Spirit: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7. It was the presence of the Spirit of God in man that made him intelligent. “But there is a spirit within people, the breath of the Almighty within them, that makes them intelligent.” Job 32:8 (NLT)
Man only became dependent on his physical senses after the fall. However, when a person is born-again the same Holy Spirit comes to take residence in him. The Holy Spirit imparts supernatural intelligence to believers. The Holy Spirit is the highest spiritual ‘Resource’ available to a Christian.
John was writing to Believers and said to them, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.” The ‘anointing’ here is a reference to the Holy Spirit. In this particular instance, there were people (Gnostics of the first century) who were teaching false doctrines. They denied the deity of Christ. John referred to them as antichrists and was assuring Christians that the Holy Spirit will give them knowledge of what is true. Holy Spirit is the ‘KNOWER’ within the Christian!
Jesus had earlier promised, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” John 16:13. Furthermore, John went on to say “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” The Holy Spirit enables us to discern between what is true and what is false.
John affirmed that the Holy Spirit lives in the Christian. “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” 1 John 3:24. He is our God-given Helper against deception especially in these last days.
One of the privileges we enjoy as children of God is being led by the Spirit. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Romans 8:14. One way the Holy Spirit leads us is through the inward witness. “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans 8:16. This is available for every Christian, not only those who possess special spiritual gifts! Many times, the Spirit is ‘witnessing’ in us but we may not understand or pay attention.
Paul talked about an experience he had when he got to Troas: “Yet my spirit could not rest (relax, get relief) because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave from them and departed for Macedonia.” 2 Corinthians 2:13 (AMP). One of the most common ways the Holy Spirit draws our attention is through unease within our spirit. How often do we feel a restlessness within us but fail to recognise that it is a foreboding of something about to happen?
For example, someone may come with a business proposal that looks very sound on the surface but you feel uneasy in your spirit. It might be that the Holy Spirit is perceiving something that the natural senses do not know. Many people have been delivered from the hands of conmen because they paid heed to the witness of the Spirit within them.
I remember attending a meeting with a friend several years ago. As we listened to this teacher speak on what he called ‘mysteries’ I became uncomfortable in my spirit. I signalled to my friend that I wanted to leave the hall. Apparently, he too was feeling the same way but was concerned about the ethic of leaving while the meeting was in session. I told him that I felt the Lord wanted us to leave so that others would have courage to do the same. It so happened that as soon as we left the hall, there was a bandwagon effect, other people started trooping out too. I believe that our leaving that hall broke the spell that held the people. The Spirit of truth inside us insulated us from the error that was being taught.
Recently, a sister left home for her business. While she was midway there was a strong urge in her spirit to return immediately to her house. She struggled with it for a while but the urge kept increasing. Eventually, she returned home to find that her neighbours were straining to open her door because smoke was coming out from her kitchen. Apparently, the cooker was left on and the pot had burnt down. Had she delayed any further, the entire house would have been on fire. The Holy Spirit was giving her information that she couldn’t interpret but thank God she obeyed.
Many times, spiritual intelligence can make the difference between safety and danger; between success and failure; or even between life and death. A brother was standing at a bus stop with a crowd waiting for the bus. Suddenly, he began to feel uneasy. He felt a strong urge within him to quickly move away from the crowd. He responded and moved away. Within minutes, an oncoming trailer failed brake and ran into the people, crushing many of them. Imagine what could have happened if he had failed to act on the impression he received.
I wonder how many people have died who shouldn’t have died simply because they didn’t understand the witness of the Holy Spirit to them. When Paul was on his voyage to Rome as Caesar’s prisoner, he warned them by “saying, “Men, I perceive that this voyage will end with disaster and much loss, not only of the cargo and ship, but also our lives.” Acts 27:10. The Spirit had downloaded useful information to Paul that could have saved them from the disaster ahead. However, like many people today, “Nevertheless the centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship than by the things spoken by Paul.” Acts 27:11. The consequence was disastrous.
My daughter related to me an experience that happened in her secondary school several years ago. Some boys were playing football and all of a sudden, one of them fell and passed out. Meanwhile, just before that moment, the father had felt very restless in his spirit and had begun to pray for his children. So, while the school was doing everything to revive the boy, the father was making supplication to God. The boy eventually came to, but it was mostly because someone responded to divine prompting from the Holy Spirit. This is quite instructive to parents, we must be sensitive to the intelligence the Spirit is bringing concerning our children and take appropriate action. This can save us from needless sorrows.
HOW DO WE GROW IN SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE?
In the natural, Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is the measure of a person’s intelligence. People can have high or low IQ. This is also true regarding Spiritual Intelligence Quotient (SIQ). Some people seem to have greater SIQ than others because they have developed their ability to receive and respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Hebrews 5:14. Their spiritual intelligence (senses here means ‘organ of perception’ in the Greek) has been developed through practice. Even if a person has the natural IQ of a tadpole, he can still manifest the SIQ of an elephant! It’s a question of spiritual development.
First, we must constantly affirm that the Holy Spirit is in us. A person who has the Holy Spirit living in him should in no way be disadvantaged in this life! We must recognise that He is present in our lives to do us good. He is our resident Helper in this life (John 14:16-17).
Secondly, we must learn to respond to Him. How we respond when He speaks to us will determine whether we will grow in our relationship with Him or be stagnant. From the beginning, God had said “… My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh….” Genesis 6:3. When the Holy Spirit tries to pass a message to us and we do not obey Him, He won’t force us, but there comes a point when He leaves us to our own desires.
Thirdly, God’s pattern has always been to reveal things to the childlike, “At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!” Matthew 11:25-26 (NLT). We must maintain an attitude of humility and dependence on the Holy Spirit.
Fourthly, as we grow in intimacy with the Holy Spirit it becomes easier to discern His leading or witness in us. We deepen intimacy through communion with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14). We should always acknowledge His presence in our lives and thank Him for every guidance we receive from Him. Also, as we spend time in worship and prayer, we are able to sense His leading more accurately. Worship increases our spiritual sensitivity (Acts 13:1-3).
Fifthly, we need to pay attention to our waking thoughts and the first thought that occurs to us after a vivid dream.
Finally, we need to cultivate the art of listening. We must intentionally create interludes in our daily routine to ask, “Holy Spirit, is there something you want me to know or do?” We daily face a barrage of issues that distract us, but we must deliberately ‘dial down’ to hear what He wants to say to us.
I imagine that some wife or husband, after reading this piece and remembering the uneasiness they felt before their wedding, may say “If only I’d paid attention to the restlessness I felt in my spirit, I wouldn’t have said yes to this man or woman!” There could be others too who look back at the decisions they have made in life that have caused them much pain and sorrows because they ignored the inner witness. Whatever is your case, know that there is no situation that God cannot redeem. But thank God also that there will be some for whom an understanding of spiritual intelligence will be ‘a stitch in time (that) saves nine.”