My post today is on the subject of Discernment. I am persuaded that the days we are living in has called for an optimized level of discernment. This has always been the way God wanted us to do life. Walking by the Spirit. So this is God saying to us – this has to be you new normal.
Psalm 119:66 – Teach me good judgment and knowledge
Hebrews 5:14 – But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Hosea 14:9 – Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? Prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the Lord are right, And the just shall walk in them:
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
Discerning in verse 10 means to distinguish, decide and render or from the root word – to pass judgement on… passing sentence.
Discernment is the ability to judge well…
The ability to see beyond the obvious…
The ability to read environments…
The ability to understand motivations…
It’s the ability to distinguish between spirits…
Let me clarify – I am not talking about a hunch, a gut feeling or an intuition. There is place for those in the human experience. But they are subject error.
Discernment is a gift from God… and it is accurate 100 percent of the time. If God is speaking – He will be heard. If the Holy Spirit is leading you will know – God has a way of making His intentions clear. He doesn’t leave it up to guess and take so-called risks… if God is speaking/leading – He will be heard, He will be seen.
Discernment is the tone of spiritual harmony… it is the beat of heaven.
Discernment cuts through the noise – settles and soothes the troubled mind…
Discernment is a constant and steady companion…
The scripture says, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but not everything builds up.”
Here we have a tension – a dilemma – if you will.
It is discernment that allows you to judge well or act appropriately within that tension.
You have the right, but should you use it?
You have the power… it is within you reach – should you take… discernment walks you through it.
The ability to judge well… the ability to judge between good and evil – right or wrong is discernment…
Discernment brings color to the gray areas of life.
We find Jesus on the pages of the New Testament walking daily in discernment.
John 2:25 – He knew what was in man
Matthew 9:4 – Jesus knowing their thoughts
Mark 2:8 – Jesus perceived in His spirit what they were reasoning in their hearts.
Luke 5:22 – Jesus perceived their thoughts…
How did he do it? Certainly not by intuition or gut feeling or mind reading. His discernment was a gift of of the Holy Spirit.
There are 5 areas in our lives where Discernment needs to shine the brightest
The list is not exhaustive…
1. The Area of Temptation
In order to live in victory over temptation – discernment has to be optimized. Galatians 5:17 – tells us to – “Walk in the Spirit – for when we do, we can have victory over temptations.
Here’s is how that works:
The Holy Spirit helps us to understand:
2. Our weaknesses
3. Any area or moments where there might be demonic influences
4. How God helps us to overcome the temptation
Paul speaks to this in Romans 7:19-23 – He says, I want to do what’s good – but I don’t … I don’t to do what’s wrong – but I do! You got to know who you are and what your weaknesses are.
You say, I don’t have any weaknesses… haha – yes you do! We are all prune to wander… there is inside of all of us a bend toward sin.
Ephesians 4:22 talks about putting off the old self. talking about temptation – James 1:14-16 says each of us are dragged away and enticed by our own evil desires. Entice = lure by a bait… carries a certain additional sense of demonic activity –
1 John 2:15-17. They are 1. Lust of the flesh 2. Lust of the eyes 3. Pride of life.
There is always an off ramp on the highway to temptation.
2. The Area of Discovering God’s will
This is an invitation to live open and sensitive to the leading and promptings of the Holy Spirit. This can happen through a variety of ways: The word of God – the will of God will never contradict the word of God. The Holy Spirit comes to give us that unmistakable voice. Prayer and wise counsel. But there is one other way. I think it is effective because it helps us discern what is in alignment or out of alignment with the character of God, the word of God and the spirit of truth.
Look with me at Romans 12:2
I want to read it out of the outstanding and memorable translation of JB Phillips
“With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give Him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable by Him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-mold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the Plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.”
What is your worldview about God, work, dating, retirement, parenting, marriage, money, plans about life? Every about you and your worldview must be transformed (metamophoo… transfigured)
Since we’re talking about discovering the will of God… what is you worldview about life and plans?
For some – they say things like… It’s my life, I will do whatever I feel like doing with it. I will marry whoever I want, I will go wherever I want, etc…
The problem with that you never discover the purpose, callings and gifting that God has for you.
James 4:15 says, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills us to, we will live and do this or that.”
A who allows his mind to be renewed by sovereignty, preeminence of God will learn how to acknowledge in all his way. Cause when you do – than you’ll be able to discern what is the good and pleasing and perfect will of God for you life. Discernment begins to overflow from the inside out!
3. Areas of spiritual attacks
Discernment helps you understand the where – the when and the why of spiritual attacks.
When are you most susceptible to spiritual attacks… for some – it right after you’ve done an exploit for God. For others – it comes when you’re tired – discouraged – everybody else is making it but you.
Where are you most susceptible to spiritual attacks… there is always a where… could be a certain place… a certain atmosphere… a vulnerable place… a lonely place… a broke place… a fearful place… a complicated place
Why – For some – you’re right on the edge of a breakthrough. You next level is around the corner – and he’s trying to stop it. There is a great work before… a harvest is coming… you know… After Jesus is tempted in Luke 4, the bible says in verse 13 that the devil left him for an opportune time. See, that devil is always stalking you… scripture says, he’s going to and fro – throughout the earth seeking whom he may devour. He’s stalking, softening your resolve, your guard… chipping away at your defense… little compromises here and there… just waiting for the right time to pounce… you see, you just don’t suddenly fall into sin – you slide into it!
He knows what buttons to push… do you know what those buttons are?
4. Areas of false doctrines and pseudo prophecy
Discernment in this area is so important. Why? Because it keeps us ground in our the truth.
A. The origin of false teaching is twofold
1. Demonic Inspiration – 1 Tim. 4:1-2
2. Human Error fueled by greed and self deception
B. The word pseudo means having the resemblance of… there is a lot of prophecy out there right now that is not of God. I think a lot of people are going to regret after COVID-19 is over. Because they have taken the liberty to speak where God has not spoken.
And the reason why false doctrines and pseudo prophecy are dangerous and deceptive… is that these people are persuaded that they are speaking on behalf of God – but in reality – they are speaking from their heart. To speak from the heart does not necessarily mean you have a lying spirit… in many cases there is a lying spirit, but it means you have a certain feeling about things. And that’s the problem – Have you ever had a very strong feeling about something only to find out later – you were dead wrong?
Listen, there is rule of thumb when it comes to false doctrines – they need to be scrutinized… we need to call the church back to being the Christians in Acts 17:11 – who took what they were taught and put to the test by studying it. Christians now a days are a little too gullible.
As a rule of thumb – prophecies need to be tested. It doesn’t matter who spoke it.
And as a rule of thumb – when somebody speak a word over you… it is usual confirmation of something God has already hinted you on:
Example: My Call.
A couple of weeks after my salvation experience and being fill with the Holy Spirit – my spiritual father called me and spoke a word from God to me. He told me that the Lord told him to tell that He was calling me into the ministry. I was delighted to hear that – but that was not the first time I heard it. God had spoken to me about – so this was just a confirmation.
5. Areas of Spiritual Identity.
A lack of discernment into who you have become in Christ can lead to an identify crisis.
Discernment brings you into a greater understanding of who you have become in Christ.
This discernment comes through a revelation of the of the word of God. Scripture says,
Psalm 119:130 – The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
This happens when falsehood, half truths, deceptions are exposed by the unveiling of truth.
Scripture says, “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32
You see – it is the truth you know that will set you free… In other words –
it’s not sufficient to recite – I’m fearfully and wonderfully made – you have to know it by experience – those words must affect you to the core…
that you are loved, you are enough, you’re special, you’re wanted – even if you’re rejected. You have to settle in who you are in Christ.
Discernment is a gift from God. He reveal the deep and secret things: Daniel 2:22 – The scripture says, 1 Corinthians 2:12-15 – But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
It’s a gift and God wants everyone of us to walk in it. But He wants us to not only receive this gift – but also develop the skills to walk in it. Because in many instances, discernment emerges from hard work and paying close attention.
1 Yearn for it!
To discern you have to yearn.
1 Corinthians 14:1 – Earnestly desire spiritual gifts… be consumed with a desire to get it…
2 Pay attention to it!
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
the word dwell/ think – means to be a book keeper, an accountant – one who properly reconciles their bank account.
these are the building blocks of discernment
these are the things that will enrich and nourish your mind, heart and spirit
Dwell – if you dwell on these
3 Ask for it!
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Wisdom – comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God…
Prudence – practical wisdom, that endowment of heart and mind which is needed for the right conduct of life.
4 feed it!
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, both joints and marrow, and able to judge the reflections and thoughts of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden in the sight of him, but all things are naked and laid bare to the eyes of him to whom ⌊we must give our account.”
psalm 1… delight… meditate… desire… muse
5 Practice it!
“But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
It is important to look to the context of this verse…
they were sluggish in hearing
they were supposed to be teachers by now
they are still drinking milk because they are unskilled in the message of righteousness…
this message of righteousness is the solid food that some are very familiar with… because of constant use…
practice make perfect… that constant use has propelled and advanced some in the area of discernment… their spiritual senses have been optimized… they have a razor sharp clarity
6 Fight with it!
Discernment is a spiritual weapon
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalt itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
Strongholds – speaking of the learning, and eloquence, and philosophical subtleties on which we unknowingly pride ourselves.
Imaginations – speaking of our reasoning, justifications and excuses for our actions and our pride… all the things that seek to exalt themselves over the know of Christ.
The Word of God – The Spirit of God through prayer fires up your discernment to not only understand but pull down every thought and reasoning and make them obedient to Christ.
7 Steward it!
Oswald chambers has an unforgettable quote about stewarding the gift of discernment. he says,
“God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.”
Discernment to not a spiritual excuse to render judgment.
Steward it with compassion, love… by lifting not tearing down.
“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.”