Discernment is one of those words you often hear thrown around in Christian circles, but what does discernment really mean? Are we merely using our feelings, our intuitions, to discern something? In the past, I used to think discernment was merely a spiritual gift and not everyone would have discernment. I realize now, through scripture, God wills for all to have discernment.
Reminder – Summary of the will of God series is to show how the Bible lays out God’s will for our life, in all aspects of life. Anything we might encounter – the Bible shares what God’s will is.
What Will Get Covered:
- Reminder of the importance of getting wisdom, understanding , and knowledge of the Holy One through meditating on God’s word.
- Defining discernment.
- Warning not to trust ourselves.
- What does Biblical Discernment teach us?
- Importance of surrendering and not trusting our understanding, but God’s word.
- Reminders of what Christians should do.
Importance of Wisdom
In our past study of God’s will, I went over the importance and command we are to meditate on God’s word, and the command for us to get wisdom, get knowledge, and get understanding about the Holy One. Wisdom is all connected to Jesus, and He must open our eyes to sin before anything else.
(See: How Does Wisdom & Meditating on Scripture Help Us in Our Life? | God’s Will, this post will be referenced throughout because I’ve already covered the topic in-depth so if you would like to learn more and see how wisdom, understanding, knowledge of the Holy One, and meditating on God’s word all connect to discernment, please check it out.)
Note: If we do not know scripture correctly, if we do not have wisdom, if we do not have knowledge, and especially if we do not have understanding about the Holy One (the Gospel), and if we are not convicted of our sins, it will be impossible to have proper discernment. If we cannot understand and be convicted of the mystery of God, how can we possibly understand anything else hidden from the world, including our sin?
What is Discernment?
Term– Discernment means to be able to understand and it can also mean being able to understand hidden things.
Proverbs 10:13 – On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense.
Again, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the Holy One helps reveal to us what is hidden from the world. Jesus Christ is often referred to as a mystery of God and the Gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing in the world. (1 Corinthians 1:23)
Discernment can also help us identity false teachers and false teaching. The more we know the Lord’s word, the less likely we will fall prey to either ignorance or pure deception. If we do not know scripture, we will not have proper discernment. (See: How Does Wisdom & Meditating on Scripture Help Us in Our Life? | God’s Will)
Proverbs 28:26 – Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
Jeremiah 17:09 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Psalm 40:11-12 – As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.
What Does Biblical Discernment Teach Us?
- Our mind must be transformed.
- We must be sober-minded.
- We must abstain from evil.
- We need to test all things.
- We must fear the Lord.
- We are not to trust self or man.
- We need to meditate on God’s Word (see: How Does Wisdom & Meditating on Scripture Help Us in Our Life? | God’s Will).
- We need to increase in wisdom, understanding, and knowledge of the Holy One.
As stated, our eyes must first be opened to the Gospel through Jesus Christ, before we can obtain wisdom on the scriptures. Once our eyes are opened to our sin and we abhor our sin, seeking repentance through faith in Jesus and the grace shown to us on the cross, transformation begins to happen. (See list of Biblical Discernment above.)
Let’s breakdown the list of what it means to Biblically Discern.
Our mind must be transformed:
- Through hearing the Gospel and Christ, faith is created. (Hebrews 12:02, Romans 10:17)
- We must put off our old self. (Ephesians 4:20-23)
- We must cling to God’s word. (Proverbs 7)
- Renewing of our mind is a result of being transformed. (Romans 12:01-03) Note: The transformation relates to Christ, the veil being torn from our eyes on our old self.
We must be sober-minded:
- Cast anxiety onto the Lord, do not hold to it. Anxiety makes it difficult to be sober-minded, and anxiety will make us perfect prey for the devil. The devil prowls like a roaring lion, seeking to devour. (1 Peter 5:07-08)
- We must prepare our minds for action, being sober-minded. We do this by having our hope fully on the grace that will be brought at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13)
We must abstain from evil:
- We resist the devil by standing firm in faith, through the knowledge of the Gospel. The only way to truly resist is through submitting to God. Be mindful the devil will try to snatch the word getting sown in people. (1 Peter 5:09, Mark 4:15, James 4:07)
- We are to be obedient children to our Father, God. We are not to conform to the passion of our prior ignorance. (1 Peter 1:14)
- Love must be sincere. Hate evil, cling to what is good. (Romans 12:09)
- We must cling to God’s word. (Proverbs 7)
- See: What is Sin? What are Sins Listed in the Bible? | Bite-Sized
We must test all things:
- Do not be conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then we will be able to test and approve what is good, pleasing, and the perfect will of God. (Romans 12:02)
- How do we test? Again, connected to wisdom, knowing of Jesus Christ, and meditating on God’s word – See: How Does Wisdom & Meditating on Scripture Help Us in Our Life? | God’s Will
We must fear the Lord:
- Fear of the Lord leads to wisdom, which helps us understand the Lord, which leads us to discernment, being convicted of our sin more and more, and being able to abstain from evil more. (See: How Does Wisdom & Meditating on Scripture Help Us in Our Life? | God’s Will)
- Helps us depart from evil and hate evil. (Proverbs 3:07, 8:13, 15:16, 16:05)
- Helps us find confidence, refuge, fountain of life. (Proverbs 14:25-27)
- We are to live out our life not for human passions, but the will of God. (1 Peter 4:02, See: God’s Will for You Today | Instructions for Life)
We are not to trust ourselves:
- Our understanding is not trustworthy, God is. (Proverbs 3:05-06)
- Our heart is deceitful. We will struggle between our old self (flesh desires) and the Spirit. (Jeremiah 17:09, Galatians 5:17)
- Trusting in the Lord is a commitment, no matter what happens. The desires of our heart that the Lord gives us are new desires or fruit that is righteous and gives God glory. These desires and righteous fruit only comes through the transformation Jesus Christ gives us. We desire what God desires through our mind being transformed. (Psalm 37:04-11, John 15, Romans 12:02)
Our minds can be foolish because our heart is deceived. Therefore, we cannot trust our feelings, thoughts, or experiences. We must instead focus on trusting the Lord’s word. After all, wisdom comes from Him, and to think we know better than God just shows our ignorance.
Even a heart of flesh that is no longer a heart of stone still wrestles between flesh and Spirit. Everything we think that might be true MUST first be tested through scripture. If the secular world knows not to make a serious decision from emotions caused in a trial, then we should know better when it comes to making assumptions about God purely based on how we feel. Using our emotions to define God and His truth is not wise, but deadly. We will find that many things we thought to be true were not. Rather, we discover the “truth” we can hold onto is evil. (Galatians 5:17)
I’ll say it again. Using our emotions to define God and His truth is not wise, but deadly.
We must be willing to surrender the things we want to be true and instead, pray for the Holy Spirit to convict us and help us desire what God’s word actually says. We must be willing to trust the Lord and His promises of goodness; even when trials are difficult and peace seems like a dream. (See: What is the Peace of God? (Pt. 1) )
All the more reason prayer, scripture reading, fellowshipping with godly believers, listening to sermons, finding a solid church, etc. help us grow and get encouraged through God’s truth. Being isolated helps no one and hinders our understanding.
We need to be challenged. Pride so often gets cloaked. Pride encourages us to trust what we believe is truth from experiences, feelings, etc, We need to be surrounded by the truth in our daily practice and from those in our inner circles.
Discernment is important and crucial for the Christian. Discernment is part of the refining process and part of progressive sanctification. In our life, as we grow with the Lord and are transformed by His living word, we will gain more wisdom, and be able to discern better. If you do not have wisdom, simply pray for it.
James 1:05 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him
But forsaking the Lord, not praying, not spending consistent time in His word, not fellowshipping with other believers, and not hearing/reading studies on His word will absolutely hinder us from:
- receiving discernment
- having a sober-mind
- resisting the devil and temptation
- having people be able to pray for us
We are not meant to do this journey alone.
I hope you’ve been encouraged by all the various ways God’s living word helps us with discernment.
The Gospel Message: With the Good News means there’s bad news. We all are sinners and condemned. We all deserve the just punishment of God’s wrath. Christianity is unlike any other religion because we cannot earn our way into Heaven. God saw the weakness of man and his utter depravity. Yet, He showed us grace. Jesus, God, One Person of the Trinity, became God in the flesh, the God-Man. He was always perfect and sinless. And His humanity was perfected on the cross, living the full sinless life. He became our atonement sacrifice. Dying in our place, taking on the wrath of God upon Himself. He died on the cross, and He was resurrected because death could not hold Him. Jesus is the answer. We, as guilty sinners, need His blood to pay off our debt of sin. For all who put their faith in Him – meaning eyes are opened to the Gospel, we see ourselves as a sinner, we see the need for Christ, we desire our Savior, and we see the ugliness of our sin. Putting our faith in Jesus, we seek HIs forgiveness and repent from our sins, we turn away from our old way of life. We, through the work of the Holy Spirit, continue to become convicted of sin daily. Our eyes will never be the same again. We see things in a different light, and the truth of Christ affects how we live and serve Him. Christ tells us to count the cost. Salvation is a serious topic, it is not to be taken lightly. For a breakdown of this powerful message, understanding how Christ could be God and Man, why God required sacrifices, and more -please see: Why Did A Loving God Kill His Son? (Does God Hate?)
If you think you know the Gospel, check out these questions and see how prepared you are for the day someone might ask you why you believe: The Gospel Challenge (30 Question Quiz) – Are You Ready To Defend Your Faith?
Scripture To Meditate On – (ESV) Ezekiel 13:22-23 – Because you have disheartened the righteous falsely, although I have not grieved him, and you have encouraged the wicked, that he should not turn from his evil way to save his life, therefore you shall no more see false visions nor practice divination. I will deliver my people out of your hand. And you shall know that I am the LORD.”
Community Prayer – October ‘22
Christian Topics/Series Covered
Personal Blog: Peeking Beneath
Second Blog: UnAshamed Christian Housewife
Godly Men & Women I Recommend: Link To List
Resources For False Teaching: Recommended Websites For False Teachers/Teaching
Video Playlist: Christian Questions, Topics, False Teachers, Insights
Video Playlist: New Christian Believer
Video Playlist: Understanding False Teachings
Video Playlist: Sermons To Grow From
Social: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook