Long before I started having dreams that showed the spiritual state of places, people and revealing some things that would happen, as a child, I remember one of my favorite books was the interactive scratch & sniff book, “Little Bunny Follows His Nose” by Katherine Howard. Recently, someone told me my gift of discernment (which up until that point I had described as antennae, which I thought had more to do with feeling) is like the nose of the body of Christ. That opened up a whole new perspective for me as an artist and a peacemaker who loves unity. As an artist, I do not know and have not studied the body as some folks do who go into the sciences and work as physicians in various fields, who better understand how the parts of the body interact with one another. However, I believe we have a lot to learn from the physical and visually available through illustration, of how the physical body parts and systems interact with one another to better understand the spiritual body of Christ and how we can better interact and understand one another.
Shawn Bolz, a very insightful and respectable brother in the Lord, recently wrote a book called: “God Secrets”. I bought and have been reading the workbook that vulnerably relays the challenges and blessings to the rest of believers of the particular gifts of word of wisdom, prophecy but mostly word of knowledge. It is well written and gives insight to the ears of the body (Not that the mouthpiece is not incorporated in, as when you receive a word, then you speak life to the person). It got me wondering, how, as a prophetic heart and someone of discernment fit in to the body. It troubled my heart when someone (in this case Shawn) had made and makes a point that people need to move past or beyond discernment. Such a statement made me feel unwanted and unneeded in the kingdom and the body, even though that is far from his intention revealed in his written publications, though many do not use wisdom or compassion on folks like me. Still, the statement bothered me and I had a struggle to understand why inside.
What would happen if the body didn’t have a nose? Not only would it look very strange on the outside, on the inside, there would, as I have started to research, be no interaction between the nose and the ears. Romans 10:17 NKJV tells us, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So, we trust by what we hear–Not only words spoken, but the contextual tone accompanying what is spoken. The ears, the eyes, the nose all relay things to the mind, interacting with it, which we are told to guard, along with our heart, in scripture, since we are told that:
We are to love the Lord with all our heart, soul and strength, (which NKJV has as ‘mind’) (Duet 6:5/Matt 22:37 NKJV)
We are to keep our heart with all diligence, because the issues of life spring out of it (Prov 4:23 NKJV)
The mouth speaks out of our heart’s abundance (Matt 12:34 NKJV)
That peace of God (which comes through prayer) will guard one’s mind (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV)
I see a whole lot of interaction going on in these verses, despite the church’s love for simplifying things into often incomplete dichotomies. Love requires interaction with the heart, soul and mind. The heart interacts with issues. The heart and mind are interconnected. The mind connects to God through prayer, interacting with His peace that passes understanding through conversation. The mouth interacts with the heart. It is fascinating! And all this interaction and more is introduced internally through the five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Our Savior didn’t desire that we only taste that He is good. He didn’t want us to just see that He is good. King David expresses the calling in his heart for others to share both tasting and seeing that the Lord is good in Psalm 34:8.
The New Testament draws attention specifically to the need for parts of the body not to feel or say/think that they are not needed because they are not another part of the body (as if this other part is more glorious than they are.) Yet, since those words were written, the body of Christ has been behaving antithetical to that very scripture. Shawn Bolz’s Book (God Secrets) is just a beginning to understanding other parts of the body of Christ and how others spiritual giftings work, as openness of expression in a newer generation where speaking about the spiritual is no longer squashed, that I am encouraged to read. I watched my own mother, who had spiritual gifting, deal with the terrorizing threat of being committed to an institution, because those around her who could’ve sought to did not understand her, God or that He works supernaturally, rather than merely our religious theological thought.
Therefore, I have begun my search in how I, as a nose, interact with the body of Christ, seeking an explanation of why certain people with certain giftings would come into my path and others did not stay. In the physical body, the nose is connected to the ears through a very thin, very short tube. It is called the Eustachian tube. Smells through the nose can affect the mind very, very strongly. These days one can tend to hear how soldiers dealing with PTSD will be brought back through a traumatic trigger, sounds and smells of a past event in a negative sense, but smells are also very powerful positive reminders of memory. I lived in San Jose for 7-8 years on my own, and one day I took a new route to the bus to go to school. I stopped. I smelled something extremely familiar. A smell that caused me to remember feeling loved, but I couldn’t place it. I used my eyes then to scan if I could place the smell to a visual. It took a few minutes of deep inhaling and circling around (probably looking a bit strange to any observer) but I finally placed it. The house I was going past had the same patio stone as was in my grandparent’s backyard patio. I always knew and felt loved and safe at their home.
Although the Lord doesn’t limit our giftings, if we had all the gifts of the Spirit, I think we would be too much like God, get too big for our britches. We would miss out on interaction, appreciation of variety and fellowship of interaction. I have often wondered why God made me a nose in His body. People so often have negative association with discernment, yet it is needed to protect us. If we cut off Jesus nose, we mess with the interaction in connection to the memory and to the ears, which, scripturally, trust comes through hearing. If we trust everything or anything, there is no distinguishing intention.
Remember I mentioned the Eustachian tube? Although it is not openly connected to the nose, it is most often affected by ear infections and altitude (which interaction by the mouth yawning can loosen up pressure). The nasopharynx is on the other internal side of the Eustachian tube, and best I can understand assists at protecting the ears from mucous which can cause infection. When we think of the nose when it comes to sickness, the first thing I think of is how efficient the nose is at draining mucous. The nose has hairs to protect the bad from coming into the body, which in turn affects the ears, throat and lungs and in turn our bodily energy level. When we are sick, the mucous thankfully doesn’t primarily go out through our mouth. That would cause even more of a challenge to our lungs, though we do physically hack mucous from our throat that was trapped on/in our lungs when very sick, it is our nose, most often that runs. Spiritually, the nose drains teaching that is sickly and not from the Savior. Expelling spiritual mucous is never an attractive thing, but if that mucous stays inside the body of Christ, the body experiences illnesses that the blood cells and other parts are not equipped to handle unfiltered
At first glance, whether in physical illustration or spiritual encounter, the nasal cavity can appear uselessly empty—usually a cavity of absent unfilled space appears that way to the eyes. But one needs to take a closer look. Anyone who has seen someone put a spaghetti noodle through their nose and pull it out their mouth, in a high school “talent show” knows the nose has contact with the mouth part of the body and extends with the vibrations in the ear through the Eustachian tube. We don’t often think how we breath, but as I sit writing this article, I note that I don’t sit here straining to open my mouth or to keep my mouth open to remember to breath. Even though at night I breath through my open mouth, a dentist noted because how my teeth and gums are years ago (it amazes me how they can note things like that), I sit here consciously, awake, comfortably breathing through my nose only. This article was an eye-opener (no pun intended) on how much air the nose “filters” to the lungs: “In an adult, 18,000 to 20,000 liters of air pass through the nose each day.” http://www.entnet.org/content/your-nose-guardian-your-lungs.
As someone who has battled many years in spiritual warfare, this amazes me. The nose, essentially is component in atmospheric warfare. The atmosphere is what is around you. The mouth, larynx and lungs play a part in expelling praise in TO the atmosphere to push back the voice and darkness of the enemy, but the nose protects what is inhaled from the atmosphere of the soldier bride of Christ. In reading further in this article, and what it has to say about the inhalation of the lungs of dry air, and how the nose (from best I can tell) keeps things moist, as an artist I find that intriguing. Why? Simply, because for years, I have witnessed a dryness spiritually when it comes to the arts. Not that teaching is not important, or less important. It is just that there in the Christian church has long reigned a teaching that feels threatened by being questioned by the congregational students, a teaching threatened (as noted in Creative Church Handbook by J. Scott McElroy) by what congregants will attack the teacher for allowing artistically into worship, when Jesus taught his disciples and we have not followed in praying nor teaching, “On earth as it is in heaven” with such variety and flavor and personal testimonial song and art how God has worked in people’s lives and the beauty of how God alignedly works in the cultures the church has pushed out.
One article I looked at in researching the importance of the nose, made an interesting point. I often wondered growing up why I was so sensitive. I was upbraided for being so sensitive. Unlike the ears where bacteria has to crawl to create infections exposed to be the air or fingers, the eyes and ears have a more direct and immediate doorway to the outside. If the body didn’t have a nose, I can only imagine how much more the eyes would hurt if one was punched in the face. I know for my own physical self, winter is an especially hard season for me and if my nose gets too cold, it hurts acutely. Not only am I anemic, I deal with the challenge of my lungs being able to breath well exposed to cold air for any extended time. The nose, also having a prominent outside presence sculpted on the body exposes it to judgement. Physically, eyes assess facial proportion and alignment judging sexual attraction. Spiritually, discerners are judged for negativity untempered with wisdom and/or love.
Sadly, alarmingly, and probably often enough unwittingly, the theology, the teaching, if you will, emerging in the body of Christ now is a love without accountability or repentance; acceptance first, sorting procrastinated. It is popular to teach and accept that parts of the body cannot, nor should they interact or coincide. That they were not designed to interact. That one is more important than the other. Exactly what Paul spoke against in 1 Corinthians 12:14-26. The body of Christ is emphasizing the need these days, ever increasingly, for the pure milk of the word, not taking into account that milk, although good and right for babies in Christ, is good only for babies and there is humungous lack in discipleship that will help these babes become soldiers. An army of infants against a dragon is a preposterous picture to our adult logic, because even numbers in that case would not possess the wherewithal in stature or brain development to succeed against a full-grown reptile that gorges on blood and meat. Milk (being a dairy product) is in increasing demand for the body of Christ in the spiritual sense, not unlike in nature to what happens in the physical, increases mucous in the body. Although mucous is at normal levels is a means of protection, if it gets too thick it can hinder function and productivity. Thus, it ought not to be a surprise that the nose in the body of Christ, that people with nasal gifting are working overtime to expel, to blow the nose spiritually. Does it sound pleasant? Is mucous attractive? No and no. But it is what is being brought in and that is what God designed the nose to do. So, don’t get upset for it functioning properly and dealing with what the mouth, ears, etc. are bringing into the body.
If the nose had no ears to interact with, we wouldn’t know vibrations and we wouldn’t be able to smell the aroma or stench the speaker sending something to the ears, to know what they themselves surround and fill their heart with. If the nose didn’t have the eyes, we might be able to smell something pleasant or disgusting, but we wouldn’t be able to see and associate whether the object or person emitting the smell was as their smell. The eyes are the window to the soul, and the nose cannot see another’s eyes or hear to distinguish intent in their soul. Not that we are all earless, because trust comes through hearing God’s word. But, like I said, not one person has all the gifts at the same capacity. Otherwise, we would be the Holy Spirit, who has all those gifts. Thankfully, we are not the Holy Spirit, but thank God that He resides in our hearts, giving comfort and wisdom.
This is not an article to glorify how the nose and those gifted with discernment is/are so much more important than the other members of the body of Christ, but an article on the importance of interaction and how the enemy attacks the nose in particular and in turn other parts of the body suffer as well. This is an initial article to get thought flowing on your own Holy Spirit primary gift and how you affect other parts of the body of Christ and how you are designed by God to bless them. I will continue to pursue understanding of my own functioning in the body and how I affect others, and I hope you will do so too. I want to leave off with this fascinating quote I found from an article about noses and the beauty (from a non-evolutionary perspective) of how Creator designed us:
” ….In 1961 biologist Knut Schmidt-Nielsen of Duke University discovered that a rat’s maxilloturbinals are the trap. As the animal exhales warm, moist air from its lungs, the moisture condenses onto the cool surfaces of the turbinals. The next breath of cool, dry air from the outside world cools the turbinals again and also dries them, carrying water vapor back to the lungs.
When biologists discovered that other desert mammals, such as camels, also conserve water in this way, they concluded that maxilloturbinals had evolved specifically as an adaptation to life in dry places. But there is a flaw in that hypothesis, says Hillenius: almost all mammals have intricate maxilloturbinals, whether they live in deserts or not. On the other hand, no reptiles have them–not even desert reptiles….”
~Coral Tulle Hahn