How Can We Sense Spiritual Realities in Daily Life?

November 30, 2017
Faith-based, Spiritual Intimacy

Humanity began in God’s desires and thoughts. He designed us, every person, as a combination of three different components that contribute to the function of our whole being. We have an outer visible body and two unseen components—our human spirit and conscious soul. While our body links us to the realities of the natural realm, our spirit links us to the realities of the spiritual realm and God Himself.

Scripture is very clear: every person has a measure of God’s Spirit as part of our basic human makeup. It is good to realize that we sense spiritual realities more often than we realize. We often infuse eternal qualities into our life situations, not realizing that’s what we are doing. All Believers, whether we attend church or not, are considered “religious” or not; can sense the Presence of the Spirit of God in daily life.

We sense spiritual realities more often than we realize.

Our life begins with our five senses responding to the variables of the natural environment. Scripture verifies our natural awareness and understandings are appropriate first experiences.

The spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual…Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly (1 Corinthians 15:46, 49).

Our first developing awareness deals with the natural side of life. We instinctively utilize our five natural senses to learn how to eat, walk, relate, dress ourselves, etc.

Making Sense of Our Experiences

We all have tools that help us observe and relate to each of the realities we encounter. These tools are generally referred to as our five senses. Our sense of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing assists our interaction in the natural environment and with each other. For example, our eyes sense light waves, our ears sense sound waves, while our nose senses tiny particles in the air. Our senses are truly remarkable.

For this article, I will focus heavily on our remarkable natural senses in order to shed more light in my next blog on how our spiritual senses function. Realizing the intricacies of our physical body with its accompanying senses is crucial for comprehending how we use our spiritual senses.

Without always being aware of it, we are all natural and spiritual beings. We encounter and experience both realms simultaneously. Consciously pondering what we so often take for granted gives us a sense of the magnitude of creation, and of the way God intends us to function. So, let’s briefly examine each of our natural senses. Perhaps this will help you recall some things you’ve learned previously.

As natural AND spiritual beings; everyone encounters and experiences both realms simultaneously.

Five Natural Senses

Sight: The human eye is a truly amazing phenomenon, collecting 80% of the information received from the outside world. 130 million rod-shaped cells within the tiny retina detects light intensity and color variation in order to transmit impulses to the brain.

The eyes can handle 500,000 messages simultaneously! And if this isn’t amazing enough, ducts produce just the right amount of fluid with which the lids clean both eyes simultaneously in one five-thousandth of a second.

Hearing: The human ear is composed of three main parts: the outer, middle ear, and inner ear. Only partially visible without special instruments, the outer ear includes visible cartilage, the auditory canal, and the outer layer of the eardrum. Next, the hammer, anvil, and stirrup—the smallest bones in the human body—are found in the middle ear.

Completing our ability to hear, sound waves are converted to fluid waves in the inner ear that stimulate 30,000 hairs in the cochlea. From there the various frequencies are transmitted to the brain where they are processed and interpreted. The sensitivity and function of the ear is remarkable.

Taste: What would life be like if we had no ability to taste? Thankfully, the gustatory system provides us with our five main kinds of taste sensations: bitter, sour, salty, sweet, and savory. Strategically situated on our tongue are 8,000 to 10,000 taste buds, all of which are replaced about every two weeks. Do you find this as mind-boggling as I do?

Our human taste can serve as a warning system, which keeps us from ingesting harmful substances, or it can provide positive feedback on desirable delicacies.

Touch: Producing a myriad of sensations, our sense of touch enables us to experience hot, cold, pain, pleasure, smooth, rough, wet, dry, and so on. Five million nerve receptors are located on the surface of the skin, with additional sensors located internally. As with taste, the sense of touch can warn us of danger and it can also stir feelings of connectedness.

Smell: Last, but certainly not least, the human sense of smell is astonishing. The nasal cavity, where our sense of smell is located, contains over 40 million olfactory receptors with tiny cilia projections that increase the area available to sense odors.

There are upwards of 1000 very specific odor receptors, and some people can differentiate about 2000 different odors. (Imagine being tested for this!) When we breathe or sniff, a chemical reaction takes place when outside particles come in contact with smell receptors. Impulses are then transmitted to the olfactory cortex of the brain for interpretation.

Our five natural senses are amazing. They equip our physical body with the unique ability to relate and interact with the natural environment and each other.

Spirit Realm Perceptions

Beyond the five natural senses just described, many speak of a sixth sense. The ability to sense something more than natural realities is often called ESP, which is short for Extrasensory Perception. Rather than having a sixth sense, Scripture reveals that our five senses have a spiritual side to their function.

Scripture reveals that our five senses have a spiritual side to them.

As I’ve noted, we sense spiritual realities more often than we realize. When we observe a person’s character, attitude, or personality, we are not just observing them with our natural eyesight. Rather, these expressive features are perceived by the sight sense of our spirit. In another example, the feeling of love that we experience begins with an inner exercise of our spiritual senses. Love, as most of us perceive, is much more than a physical experience.

Stay tuned for my next blog to learn how our spirit enables us to grasp what is hidden to our natural senses!

Keith Carroll, Relational Gospel Founder

More resources about our relational God:

How Can We Sense Spiritual Realities In Daily Life?How Can We Sense Spiritual Realities In Daily Life?

Created to Relate, Insights Into Our Design and Purpose, and The Christ Culture, A Way of Life Like No Other are available for purchase on this site, by request in bookstores, and on  Folks are finding them to be insightful and stimulating. Get your copy today!

They are excellent for personal understanding, for new believers, and to share in small groups. We provide a Leader’s Guide to facilitate discussions and a “free” study guide that can be downloaded as a pdf.

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