In Hebrews 5:12-14, the author identifies mature Christians as “those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Christian maturity is the result of constantly exercising our spiritual senses.
The human body has five senses—sight, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touch—which act as inputs to the brain. These five senses are constantly feeding the brain with information that the allows the brain to make decisions. As a child grows, these senses are constantly being exercised and the brain is training itself to respond to different combinations of inputs from these senses. Over time the child can respond to various sets of inputs without even thinking because the brain has already learned how to respond because of the constant exercising of the senses.
In like manner, our spiritual senses need to be exercised so that our spirit can make the right choices when necessary. Exercise involves repeated or regular use of proper technique or methods. If exercise is done using wrong techniques it can result in damage or produce the wrong results.
As Christians we mature by exercising our spiritual senses with the purpose of discerning between right and wrong. The Holy Spirit is our coach who is constantly teaching us whether we are using the correct procedures. As the Holy Spirit corrects our “technique” we should make those changes in future exercising of our senses. Unfortunately, many of us are not listening to our coach or if we listen we fail to make the changes and continue to exercise using the wrong “technique.”
We should also be thankful that the Lord gives us plenty of opportunities to exercise our spiritual senses. For example, many Christians ask the Lord to give them more patience. The Lord is faithful to answer these prayers by allowing us to go through several situations each day that cause us to exercise our patience.
So rather than being frustrated by the next challenging situation you face, thank the Lord for giving you yet another opportunity to exercise your patience. This attitude will also give the Holy Spirit, our coach, the opportunity to teach us the right “technique” to use in responding to that challenge.