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Updated on June 8, 2016

Understanding What Discernment Is

Knowledge is learning. Wisdom is applied knowledge. Discernment is the ability to judge truthfulness and rightness of knowledge. As for spiritual discernment, there is something more:

  • It is the ability to determine the difference between truth and error.
  • It is the ability to see right through fake truths and half-truths.
  • It is the ability to rightly judge whether a particular course of action (or behavior) is right or wrong.
  • It is the ability to determine the next needed or rightful step in decision making or in relational matters.
  • It is the ability to determine the difference between better and best and to pursue the latter.
  • To spiritually discern is to know what is authentic and to spot hypocrisy and counterfeit.
  • To spiritually discern is to perceive spiritual issues accurately and rightfully.
  • To spiritually discern is to determine the Holy Spirit's desire and leading on a matter.

The Christian who has been gifted with spiritual discernment has a keen sense in all these. Click this: 1 Cor. 12:10


Sharpen Your Sense of Discernment

  1. Read up. Glean knowledge after knowledge.
  2. Listen up. Pay attention to what people share, Expose yourself to various opinions, way of thought, communication, and reasoning. There is always something you can learn from others.
  3. Filter. Be selective. As time progresses, you will be able to perceive what is worthwhile and what isn't, what is of value and what isn't.
  4. Validate. Know things for sure. Don't just listen to what people, books, and broadcast communication say, be responsible for your own learning. Compare and confirm for verity and accuracy.
  5. Apply. Whenever you learn that you should do something. Do it. This furthers knowledge, wisdom, and discernment.
  6. Update. Never refuse further learning. That puts you in danger of stagnation.
  7. Evaluate. Never instantly reject correction, suggestion, and opinion. This attitude allows you to continually improve and increase in knowledge, wisdom, and discernment.
  8. Challenge yourself. Oswald Chambers advises on how to grow towards more learning:

"We should always choose books, like we chose friends, just a bit beyond us, so that we have to do our level best to keep up with them."

— Oswald Chambers

Biblical Thoughts

1. Discerning God's plan and purpose for your life

Romans 12:1-2 - "Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]."

  • Present yourself to God i(n worship) living, holy, and well-pleasing to Him.
  • Do not be influenced by the world's values and way of life.
  • Be transformed by actively focusing and adapting right values.

2. Obedience is a sign of discernment.

Proverbs 28:7- "He who keeps the law [of God and man] is a wise and discerning son"

  • A discerning person submits to the legal system.
  • A discerning person submits to the instructions of God in His Word.

3. A discerning person sees his lack of and further need for more learning.

Proverbs 15:14- "The mind of the intelligent and discerning seeks knowledge and eagerly inquires after it, But the mouth of the [stubborn] fool feeds on foolishness."

  • A discerning person is in search of knowledge.
  • A discerning person rejects foolishness.

4. A discerning person talks sensibly and wisely.

Proverbs 10:13- "On the lips of the discerning, [skillful and godly] wisdom is found, But discipline and the rod are for the back of the one who is without common sense and understanding."

5. Discernment comes from rightly processing learning.

Proverbs 4:7- “The beginning of wisdom is: Get [skillful and godly] wisdom [it is preeminent]! And with all your acquiring, get understanding [actively seek spiritual discernment, mature comprehension, and logical interpretation].

  • Get knowledge.
  • Apply. Find its contribution to your life
  • Comprehend (Understand further). Evaluate, Determine, Judge.
  • Interpret logically. Evaluate, Determine, Judge.

6. Discernment comes from recognizing and listening to the voice of experience or authority.

Proverbs 4:1- "Hear, O children, the instruction of a father, And pay attention [and be willing to learn] so that you may gain understanding and intelligent discernment."

Anything to add? Love to hear your thoughts :)

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