Discernment | Spiritual Gifts

Clarification (02/19/2020) – The spiritual gift of discernment relates to people being able to recognize false teachers, false believers, etc. It relates to testing the spirits. However, all Christians are called to test the spirits. Discernment, as the definition shows relates to judgment as well. We are to discern, to have proper judgment. Discernment relating to the spiritual gift of spirits is not an emotion and anytime we “feel like” something is off we are not to trust the feeling but look at the person/situation in light of scripture. I realize that some of my wording was misleading or not as clear, and wanted to clarify that. I apologize for any confusion. 

Discernment, like many of the other gifts we have covered, is one that whether or not someone has the gift of the discernment ALL CHRISTIANS NEED TO BE ABLE TO DISCERN!

As with the other spiritual gifts, I want to go over what scripture says so that you can see what the Bible says on these topics.

All Christians Need Discernment

(ESV) Hebrews 5:14, “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

Before moving forward into the gift of discernment, it is helpful to understand this particular scripture. If we are not diving into the truth of the Gospel and scriptures daily, and if we are not growing in our walk with Jesus, we will not be able to handle deeper truths, the meat, what is for the mature in Christ. We will not be able to discern properly.

This means we need to be surrendering sin and seeking forgiveness, repenting from sin through the power of Christ, we can only do this through Jesus. The more we hold onto the world, the LESS we will be able to grow in Christ, this includes the understanding of scripture. Salvation is not just about acceptance of Jesus, but also the progression of walking towards Him through the rest of our life in sanctification.

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There are many who think they have the knowledge and discernment of the Bible and they do not. If we are not walking and growing in Jesus, it does not matter what we think.

(ESV) Hebrews 5:14, “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

Participating in anything that takes God’s name in vain, including cursing, gossip, lust, and encouragement for other sins, things that God HATES, these things will not train us in the strict manner the narrow path requires!

If we are not on the narrow path, then we are on the road to Hell. Again, if anything pulls us away from Jesus, we cannot grow in Him! Those who are truly in Jesus, you heard me, will be convicted by the Holy Spirit to give up these things. It’s not a matter of “if the Holy Spirit convicts.” Sin is sin.

Our discernment gets trained through Jesus and the more we identify what is of Christ and what is not of Christ. Once more, this comes through spending time with God, His word, worship, prayer, fellowship, etc. It cannot happen from sin and being part of the world. 

So what is it?

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What Is Discernment?

Discernment

  1. It can be the ability to judge well.
  2. It also, especially relating to the spiritual gift, relates to having understanding and knowledge that isn’t necessarily given or available to know at the time.
  • Please note: all Christians need to discern, to judge well.

Christians tend to struggle with the word judge or judgment in fear that they will be judged as they judge, WHICH IS TRUE! We will be judged as we judge, the manner in which we judge.

HOWEVER, everything in life requires a judgment, a choice to be made. We cannot avoid this, otherwise, we would be constantly sitting on a fence, being extremely lukewarm. This would cause God to spit us out. 

Our judgment needs to be wise and righteous, this doesn’t mean avoiding discussing topics that people want to walk on eggshells with, either. We need discernment, which comes from our Lord and Savior, Jesus (see above). We need to know scripture and know it well. It helps us judge (discern) correctly.

(NIV) Acts 17:11, “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

(NIV) 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

However, what about the gift of discernment?

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Spiritual Gift Of Discernment

(NIV) 1 Corinthians 12:10, “to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits…”

(NLT) 1 John 4:01, “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.”

The scripture in 1 Corinthians is saying that the gift of discernment relates to distinguishing between who is authentic in Jesus and who isn’t. All spiritual gifts are used for the church body and identifying false teachers especially is needed. We know this by looking at the scripture from 1 John. There are many people who think they are Christian and sound like they are Christian, but they aren’t.

Some people may not have all the information they need to make a judgment call, yet their spirit is pricked to be weary. I’ve experienced this a number of times. Something was just “off” about a person, and sometimes it took months for the truth to come out for others to see a real concern. Please Note: this doesn’t mean to rely on feelings, rather, hold everything up to scripture. If the Holy Spirit shows us something, we need to “test” that feeling to see if it is actually from the Holy Spirit, and we will find our answers in scripture. We do not make assumptions or judgments with no evidence. HOLD EVERYTHING UP TO SCRIPTURE!

Whether or not we have the gift we need to be able to discern the truth. We may not be able to discern all false teachers, but we need to discern other things in our life, to have proper judgment.

This is why knowing scripture deeply is needed. Someone can throw out 2 to 3 scriptures and sound like they know what they are talking about. We must know more, and we must know how all scriptures connect, and the true context of what is being said. A lot of stuff can “sound right” on the surface, but at the core it’s wrong. 

The spiritual gift of discernment can help us be aware of false teaching. Remember, we discern through knowing scripture and growth (sanctification) in Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:10) Spiritual discernment is not an emotional feeling, and it’s not based on symbolic signs or anything like that. It’s kinda like a radar going on when all signs seem to be clear, and knowledge of the Bible helps us!

-For A Full Look On Spiritual Gifts and What Has Been Covered So Far see this post (list is at bottom). 

COMMENT BELOW:

How does Jesus help you discern?

Monthly Scripture- (NKJ) Psalm 85:02, “You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah.” 

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22 thoughts on “Discernment | Spiritual Gifts

  1. Lovely thoughts! I do believe that God guides, at times, through emotional feelings and signs. This happens daily and is a core part of how some people, such as myself, come to know God. In fact, a lot of times, through prayer and meditation and daily occurrences, I am guided to a certain feeling that helps me grow and discern amongst contradicting thoughts. This can be something career-related or a facet of spiritual growth that I am going through. I am not trying to come across negatively, I just wanted to share a piece of my journey with Christ and how I have connected with God throughout my life. Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have no doubt He uses other methods to show us He cares and ways to direct us. But regarding the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits (people), I wanted to show that we have no other reasons to discern except what God immediately shows us. We just know the difference immediately with nothing else, that’s the gift.

      I myself, too, am extremely symbolic and I think we’ve talked about that before 🙂 So, I understand your perspective. Where God is leading me now is working on not being as symbolic as I once was because sometimes I trust feelings more than I should. I hope to write about this once I have enough material to explain what I mean. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your perceptive!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Love this. You are absolutely right in saying that the more we hold onto this world, the less we will be able to grow in Christ. This world has nothing to offer, nothing good anyway. But Christ has so much to offer, eternal life! We must be able to discern what is true and right but the only way we can do that is to keep our head in God’s Word, studying daily!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hello…it has been a while. Glad to be back!
    Love this post. Teaches me a lot as well as challenges me to do more; to stretch.
    I will like to get a little clarification here…on the issue of the “Discerning of Spirits” and Discernment.
    I believe the caption of the message in entirety focuses the lens on Spiritual Gifts which has its anchor text in 1 Corinthians 12: 1 – 4. (NKJV)

    Verse 10: to another, the working of miracles, to another, prophecy, to another, Discerning of Spirits.

    I believe the two are different but similar. While one has the focus on discernment, which will be the ability to decipher the truth from falsehood which has a grip on on facets on one’s life, the other is, discerning the Spirit of Truth and Error.
    So, my point is, the two aren’t the same and should be treated as such.
    This is my humble submission. Will like to have your views to. Kindly note, I stand to be corrected on the point shared. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that the gift of discernment in relating to discerning spirits, false teachers is different than discerning, having proper judgment in our lives, which this discernment applies to every Christian.

      When I shared the definition of discernment in the post I shared two different definitions. One is aimed at judgement, in general. The second more towards the spiritual gift.

      Previously, I mentioned a few times that all Christians are to discern, even if they do not have the gift of discerning spirits, false teachers. But since you’ve last read, your comment and another helped me look over the post and add some clarifications as I do not want anything to be confusing. I’ve also added some other scriptures to show people that even if we cannot always discern false teachers, we are to discern properly in our walk with Jesus.

      Since you’ve last read the post I’ve added these clarifications:

      Clarification (02/19/2020) – The spiritual gift of discernment relates to people being able to recognize false teachers, false believers, etc. It relates to testing the spirits. However, all Christians are called to test the spirits. Discernment, as the definition shows relates to judgment as well. We are to discern, to have proper judgment. Discernment relating to the spiritual gift of spirits is not an emotion and anytime we “feel like” something is off we are not to trust the feeling but look at the person/situation in light of scripture. I realize that some of my wording was misleading or not as clear, and wanted to clarify that. I apologize for any confusion.

      Discernment-

      1. It can be the ability to judge well.
      2. It also, especially relating to the spiritual gift, relates to having understanding and knowledge that isn’t necessarily given or available to know at the time.
      Please note: all Christians need to discern, to judge well.

      We need to know scripture and know it well. It helps us judge (discern) correctly.

      (NIV) Acts 17:11, “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

      (NIV) 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

      The scripture in 1 Corinthians is saying that the gift of discernment relates to distinguishing between who is authentic in Jesus and who isn’t. All spiritual gifts are used for the church body and identifying false teachers especially is needed.

      Some people may not have all the information they need to make a judgment call, yet their spirit is pricked to be weary. I’ve experienced this a number of times. Something was just “off” about a person, and sometimes it took months for the truth to come out for others to see a real concern. Please Note: this doesn’t mean to rely on feelings, rather, hold everything up to scripture. If the Holy Spirit shows us something, we need to “test” that feeling to see if it is actually from the Holy Spirit, and we will

      find our answers in scripture. We do not make assumptions or judgments with no evidence. HOLD EVERYTHING UP TO SCRIPTURE!

      Whether or not we have the gift we need to be able to discern the truth. We may not be able to discern all false teachers, but we need to discern other things in our life, to have proper judgment.

      The spiritual gift of discernment can help us be aware of false teaching. Remember, we discern through knowing scripture and growth (sanctification) in Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:10)

      I hope this helps clarify the post better. 🙂

      Like

  4. Discernment is something we all should have, but I believe you made that clear. Distinguishing of spirits might be different from discernment, for discernment is something we are all to have. But, I have not researched that, so I can’t speak on that from knowledge. But, I agree basically with most everything you said here, and it is very good, and you made some excellent points. So, good stuff!

    Ok, this is my only real area of concern: You said: “Some people may not have all the information they need to make a judgment call, yet, instinctively, they know to be wary and be careful of others without any reason. I’ve experienced this a number of times. Something was just “off” about a person, and sometimes it took months for the truth to come out for others to see a real concern.” “Even if we have no reason, it’s good to be extra cautious.” End quotes

    I would be very careful on that one. I believe there has to be a reason. We may not have all the information, but that doesn’t mean we have no basis for sensing that something is wrong about someone. For, we can make judgments about people in the flesh because of some feeling we have, and we could be the ones who are off.

    For, in discerning the spirits, it should be done biblically, and by testing the spirits, it should be done biblically, so for us to have this sense that something is “off” there needs to be some foundation for that, whether it be lots of other experiences of the same sort, and we are seeing the same patterns and hearing the same words or whatever, but there has to be something we can point to that gives us due cause for our concerns. Otherwise we could be in danger of making false judgments based on a feeling or a notion we have. For someone may seem “off” to us who is right on with God. And, we may be the ones who are “off.”

    So, just saying here that we need to be careful we don’t make judgments without some kind of knowledge and without testing what we are sensing against scripture, and in much prayer, to make certain that it is not just us feeling something that may not be of God at all and that may not have any basis whatsoever. For, we might pull away from someone “for no reason” and miss out on something God has for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Sue!

      Yes, based on your comment and another I went through and added some clarification. I see now my wording can be confusing and sadly misleading.

      I have had moments with people in which I felt an evil presence from them. They were smiling. They were reaching out to others. It’s the first time I met them, and I know nothing else. So, I use that “feeling” as a way to be cautious about the person, but not to make judgments, because I do not know anything else. However, it becomes all too clear there is a major issue being taught Biblically.

      So, that’s what I meant when I shared that. I did state a couple of times prior that spiritual discernment is not based on feeling, but I see by saying “feeling” people can immediately take that to mean emotional feelings and make assumptions or judgments with no evidence and no backing up of scripture. This is completely wrong, absolutely!

      I’ve also worked on wording better there are two types of discernment being discussed. One for all Christians, and one more towards the spiritual gift of discerning spirits/false teachers.

      Since you’ve read the post I’ve added these clarifications:

      Clarification (02/19/2020) – The spiritual gift of discernment relates to people being able to recognize false teachers, false believers, etc. It relates to testing the spirits. However, all Christians are called to test the spirits. Discernment, as the definition shows relates to judgment as well. We are to discern, to have proper judgment. Discernment relating to the spiritual gift of spirits is not an emotion and anytime we “feel like” something is off we are not to trust the feeling but look at the person/situation in light of scripture. I realize that some of my wording was misleading or not as clear, and wanted to clarify that. I apologize for any confusion. 

      Discernment-

      1. It can be the ability to judge well.
      2. It also, especially relating to the spiritual gift, relates to having understanding and knowledge that isn’t necessarily given or available to know at the time.
      Please note: all Christians need to discern, to judge well. 

      We need to know scripture and know it well. It helps us judge (discern) correctly.

      (NIV) Acts 17:11, “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

      (NIV) 2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

      The scripture in 1 Corinthians is saying that the gift of discernment relates to distinguishing between who is authentic in Jesus and who isn’t. All spiritual gifts are used for the church body and identifying false teachers especially is needed.

      Some people may not have all the information they need to make a judgment call, yet their spirit is pricked to be weary. I’ve experienced this a number of times. Something was just “off” about a person, and sometimes it took months for the truth to come out for others to see a real concern. Please Note: this doesn’t mean to rely on feelings, rather, hold everything up to scripture. If the Holy Spirit shows us something, we need to “test” that feeling to see if it is actually from the Holy Spirit, and we will

      find our answers in scripture. We do not make assumptions or judgments with no evidence. HOLD EVERYTHING UP TO SCRIPTURE!

      Whether or not we have the gift we need to be able to discern the truth. We may not be able to discern all false teachers, but we need to discern other things in our life, to have proper judgment.

      The spiritual gift of discernment can help us be aware of false teaching. Remember, we discern through knowing scripture and growth (sanctification) in Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:10)

      – I hope these changes help the post sound more clear! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. T. R. Thank you! Yes, we have to test even our feelings or what we may feel are red flags or nudges of the Holy Spirit to make certain that what we are experiencing is the Holy Spirit and not another spirit. Thank you for taking the time to make those clarifications. I appreciate that.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. In the world we live in, when everyone wants to base things off of “gut feelings” clarity on those words are very crucial, so thanks. 🙂

        I know what I mean when I say things, but that doesn’t mean people could take things a different way, and I want to try to be as careful as I can, and clarify when needed. 🙂 Praise the Lord for the body of Christ! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I really like how you show what the gift of spiritual discernment is and how all Christians have to discern. I wondered at one point if all Christians got this gift (because of those verses) or how did that work but this clears that up. ❤️ Really enjoyed this post and look forward to catching up on your other posts! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad this was helpful to you!! 🙂 Spiritual gifts really can be confusing! There are many in which all Christians are told in various scripture to have some measure in. However, for some individuals God uses them beyond and praise His name this is all for His glory.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post, but i don’t think that God hates anything, God is only love. If you choose to walk the wrong path He will leave you to it.

    It’s very easy to get lost within Gods word…. the message of the Bible is summed up in one word LOVE.

    You put the people that you LOVE first you will do whatever it takes to make them happy, you would not hurt them. We need only to LOVE God in everything we do, and share that love with others.

    Like

    1. In order for God to love all things that are good, He hates what goes against and oppresses that love, which is wickedness, sin. We see in scripture He hates what is not good. Amos 6:08, He hates pride. Malachi 2:16, He hates divorce and violence. Psalm 45:07, God approves of those who love righteousness and hate wickedness. We follow the example He gives us, hate wickedness, turn away from it, and love righteousness (Amos 5:15).

      In Proverbs Ch. 6 verses 12-19, we see 7 traits of how the wicked man is described but then shown also the 7 things God hates, which relate to the wicked man.

      Jesus Himself says there is love and hate, Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13. We can serve only one master, not two. One we will love and the other we will hate.

      Love is what God’s Word is all about. He hates what compromises His love for us, that’s why He sent us His Son. There is punishment for sin and just like a Father, He doesn’t want His children to go down that path. He hates that path and the wickedness associated with it because it kills, it is the path of destruction. It is not the way to HIm, and it goes against Him. He is a jealous God, and He hates wickedness, what goes against Him and does not give Him glory.

      God’s love is pure. It is just. God doesn’t want people to perish, but the wages of sin is death. God’s love meant Christ had to suffer, and He was pleased with the suffering of the Messiah.

      Isaiah 53:10-11, “Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.”

      Righteousness includes hating wickedness. We are to snatch people from the fire. We are to love with a love like God, even towards strangers and our own enemies. But it is to be just and righteous.

      Galatians 5:19-20, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have
      before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”

      Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

      Like

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