Let's all imagine we are in a grocery store. As we shop around there are certain things that catch our eye or our attention. Certain ways that certain people are behaving have caused a pause and an attempt on our part to sort out just what exactly is up with them. Maybe it’s the way they are touching every piece of fruit, but not buying any fruit. Or perhaps it’s that specific personalized comment that they made, which stands out among the rest of our shopping conversations. Whatever it is, it’s hard to pin down, but one thing is for sure… they aren’t passing “the sniff test.” But what exactly does that mean anyway? It’s fluoroscopic of course! Unlike what many of us think this term is referring to (smelling food to find out if it’s still edible) the sniff test is an actual medical procedure that assists in checking in on a persons diaphragm contraction muscles in order to find out if they are breathing properly, mostly following a stroke. Ok, now we know.
So what does the medical sniff test have to do with that person of interest in the grocery store? Simply put, everything.
Luke 8:28 (ICB)
“When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him. The man said with a loud voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Please don’t punish me!”
In 2019 the LA Times spotlighted an article called “The working witches of Los Angeles just want you to be your best self” a phrased title that could have been used by any Christian author. In the article, writer Deborah Netburn interviewed a few successful witches making a good living by helping people relax, focus on positive things, be stress free, find peace in their busy lives. Oh, they know that they are ‘witches’ in the general sense, but really, they consider themselves to be healers and spiritual coaches (even suggesting they are as a rabbi or pastor). In fact, UCLA and UCBerkley have both been known to invite witches to lecture and lead workshops on their campuses, due in part to the great work that they do in helping people cope with life. According to an anthropological study for the Wiley Online Library, an examination of sorcery and witchcraft reveals that, “While witchcraft exists as a form of scapegoating and accusations—a method of explaining causation and healing, or avoiding, social rifts—other practitioners around the world actively seek to harness supernatural power in order to affect others or control the conditions around them.” The point being, for us, and just as 1 Peter 5:8 (NASB) phrases it we must, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” In most cases we imagine that the devil is out and about tickling our ears with lies, and we forget that his favorite tool to use against us (God’s people) is other people, willing (or unwitting) participants in his plans to mess with us. He’s been doing this for a long time, but God’s been doing His thing for much longer and ultimately, when up against God no one stands a chance.
A quick breath in (a sniff) for however many it takes, can successfully provide a trained medical professional all the information that they need in order to proceed with pinpointing a patient's diaphragmatic response time. See, and don't miss it, this test indicates how near or far in proximity to breaths, a person's muscles are to providing oxygen (life) to the entire body. In other words, a person's respiratory timing. Now imagine what this 'sniff test' would mean to a person on a spiritual level. If only we had something similar that we could utilize on the spot to get our own timing to line up with God's. Of course, we are being facetious with this pondering, because the TRUTH is that we DO HAVE this identical ability to find out where our proximity is to the Holy Spirit as we go about our daily lives and encounter things that seem a little suspect.
Isaiah 11:3 (KJV)
“And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.”
That is quite an arsenal that Jesus was given as this foretelling in Isaiah was directly referring to His anointing and by way of His resurrection has been passed on to all of us. The truly remarkable thing about the first phrase in this verse, “And shall make him of quick understanding,” is that in it's Hebrew form, this phrase is the word Ruwach and it means to smell, scent, perceive odor, accept. So it turns out that we have been provided a spiritual ‘sniff test’ by God in order to quickly understand and know what is happening, by way of the breath of God (aka the Holy Spirit). What an incredible providence from God Almighty who thinks of everything, because He knows all that what we need before we are even aware that we need it. So now is the part when we all think back to when Jesus quickly sniffed out the devil speaking through Peter's own mouth in Matthew 16, when calling him none other than satan himself.
Over the course of the last decade we have seen some pretty outrageous things happening in our world. We have spoken of some of these things many times over, things such as perversion becoming not only accepted, but forcibly accepted; we've seen other people call into question the very basics (gender, familial blueprints etc) of human existence and redefine it as inspired by the devil himself; a new, entire generation who has grown up in a world that disregards a human life prior to a human specified term (that has changed over time) as being safe to throw away as a weekend "pregnancy" mistake; social media and internet idolatry not only being accepted, but required to be a “normal” functioning member of western civilization, and including most churches (just to name a few). All of these things we know have happened, but lurking behind the scenes of every single upheaval of established truths (many of which were straight from God) as recognized by human beings since time began, is a spiritual driving force. Luke 9:55 (NKJ) “But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.”
As followers of Jesus we have had a responsibility to hone our own connection and understanding and knowledge of who God is and what He wants us to do in the world that we live in; instead, we have opted to build larger facilities, put butts in seats, get that polished weekly broadcast looking just as professional as the Today Show, create amazing community centers, convince our volunteers that as long as they are serving our vision they are doing all that they need to do as a Christian, change the rules as we go in order to adapt to the trends of our societies... do we need to continue? We all see it. We all go to church and we all understand what it's like in 21st Century Christianity. The only problem with all of these things, is that we have crippled ourselves to the point of becoming one of the most non-essential parts of the world we were once meant to be “in” but not “of”, for the sake of being enabled by God to supernaturally represent Him to those that are afflicted. 1 Corinthians 2:14 (AMP) “But the natural [unbelieving] man does not accept the things [the teachings and revelations] of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness [absurd and illogical] to him; and he is incapable of understanding them, because they are spiritually discerned and appreciated, [and he is unqualified to judge spiritual matters].”
Incase we haven't noticed it's as if mankind has been immersed into the middle of a spiritual war with principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, wicked spirits in heavenly places, thoughts, imaginations, reasonings and every high thing or mental fortress that exalts themselves against the knowledge of God. That is quite a long list that we don't readily think of off the top of our heads, but we are in this battle EVERY SINGLE DAY for our souls. The devastating part in all of this is that there are some people who have been overtaken by these very forces right under the collective nose of the church at large who has temporarily lost it's sense of smell. So what is our part? We need to be more aware of the battle, of the participants, of the consequences and casualties and ultimately of the conquest in order to help people who have been caught up in things they don't fully understand. We need to ask and receive by faith the activation of our spiritual sense of smell, which will appear as something like this: "I can't put my finger on it, but there is something bad/something wrong about this."
1 John 4:1-4 (NET)
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses Jesus as the Christ who has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God, and this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
Moving forward with purpose, as this stage of human history unfolds, we must be spiritually savvy enough to be fully armed with the entirety of our supernatural weapons of war. As the offsprings of God Almighty we are backed by all of the heavenly hosts, covered in the blood of Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, shielded by our faith, armed with the word of God and kept secure in our righteousness. God has commissioned us to make His presence known in the world, but not to be of the world, lest we end up compromised and ineffective or NONESSENTIAL. We were made for signs, wonders and miracles that are the most essential for such a time as this.
Of course this subject matter isn’t the most popular to dip our feet into, but this has never been about popularity contests or being the first and most effective at making God famous; NEWS FLASH: God doesn't need our help. This is about a God who created and loves His people and has been at work since time began to once again have an unlimited, undefinable and unstoppable relationship with them. This is about an equipping of these same people, who are not only armed to the teeth wherever they go; but who are equally ready at any given moment to sniff out all those who are up to no good all around us. We have such a gift in the Holy Spirit. He is actively speaking to us. He is actively guiding us. He is actively warning us. He is actively preparing us. He is actively revealing to us all that we need to know, to hear, to see and how to act upon all of it; the only requirement? WE MUST COOPERATE WITH HIM.
Increasingly clear is the fact that we aren't the only ones who are aware and active on the spiritual side of things, but we are the only ones who represent the TRUTH. Now is the time to breath in a few strong breaths and do what is necessary to line up with the Spirit of God. So the next time we catch ourselves looking for something wicked coming our way, we need to remind ourselves that wicked things already came, and as usual our Heavenly Father has already given us all that we need to put down such an audacious insurrection as follows:
Isaiah 54:17 "No weapon formed against you shall prosper..."
Romans 16:20 "The God of peace is crushing satan swiftly beneath your feet..."
James 4:7 "...resist the devil, and he will flee from you..."
1 John 4:4 "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world..."
Revelation 12:11 "And they conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony"