Psalm for the Day

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Discernment…….let’s use it!


“But test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast.

Abstain from evil [shrink from it and keep aloof from it] in whatever form or whatever kind it may be”. I Thess. 5:21-22 AMP

'Discernment' is sometimes used as a catch-word for speaking against others or to defeat them in a struggle for power or influence, or just to pick at them until they quit or retreat.  Discerning eyes look for whether something that's labeled 'discernment' is done from love, or whether it just is a clanging gong or a noisy cymbal.  John put it as bluntly as he could:

"One who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (
I John 4:8)


When discerning, the Christian must keep in mind why he/she is doing it.  Ask yourself, "If I raise this issue, how am I pointing people to Christ?  How am I helping them grow in the Spirit? In what way am I showing loving them?"  If there's no answer to those questions, or if you have to stretch far and wide to come up with a complicated or weak answer, then it's best not to speak.


Discernment is more than the work of an individual person. The Holy Spirit acts within the Church so they can discern what to do.  Within that context, specific persons may be given the gift for leading the church as it discerns.

Such gifted people are given a 'spiritual eye' for cutting through facades and confusion, for getting to the heart of the matter. They listen closely, notice what's happening in the world around them, and instinctively know what place it has in God's plans.

Someone who's gifted in discernment of spirits can find where evil lurks in good things, and where the Holy Spirit is working when things are going wrong.

One drawback of the church's role in discernment is that it is made up of people. Some people can be strange, and sometimes do things wrong. They are not all-knowing, and have badly-damaged understandings and they can be fooled.  People love to be charmed, to be showered with flattery and get their egos stroked.

 They push aside the bad news for the church they are in.  It is easy to become a ‘yes-man’ or get stuck in the 'no' position. These facts must be kept in mind when discerning within the church.  But remember too that these things are also true of you. Your role in discernment requires checking and re-checking and cross-checking, and so does the church's.

One of the keys to discernment is surrender.  If you treat "I" as the emperor of all things, you won't be in the right place to find out what God wants of you.

 In fact, this selfish imperial view of existence lies at the heart of all sin: we act as if we are God, even though we certainly know better.  So we need to set aside what we want and what we've been taught, and join with Jesus in His prayer in the face of His most ultimate decision : "Not My will be done, but Thine”.


Lastly, Christians cannot indulge in the carnal things of the world and expect to be discerning. The Scriptures teach not only that there is a gift of discerning of spirits but that we can also learn to discern. This can only come as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. 

The learning is a result of the Holy Spirit teaching us, and with discernment being a spiritual ability, one must be spiritual as opposed to carnal. There is a high price to pay for indulging in that which appeals to the carnal nature.  

And, most importantly, there is an eternal cost that involves the loss of eternal rewards.




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