Making decisions can be quite difficult. Some decisions are part of our daily lives, such as deciding how to spend our finances. Other decisions come alone sporadically. They are big ticket decisions like moving, going back to school, or changing vocations. There are also decisions that come along that are eternal, like should I follow Jesus or not.
In order to make the right decisions, we must have discernment. There are those whom the Lord has given the spiritual gift of discernment. They have a natural ability to determine the best course of action in any situation. They have a “God’s eye view” in their perspective of life, for themselves and for others. Then there are those who do not have this natural gift, yet wisdom and discernment is still an expectation for believers. We are called to be wise and discerning in all areas of life.
We are to be discerning in our daily encounters. For example, it is discernment that helps us to become good stewards of our finances. It is discernment that helps us decide if our child can spend the night at a particular friend’s home. It is discernment that causes the knot in the pit of your stomach, which causes you to lock your car doors and go a different direction. We can asses the situations around us and use that inner voice (gut instinct) to determine if something is right, wrong… safe, or dangerous.
We are to be discerning in the large decisions that we make too, especially since they often to do not impact only our own selves. Making a choice to move will impact your spouse, your kids, and any commitments you have made that would have to be foregone. Going back to school requires discernment because it not only impacts people, but also your finances. It is important in these decisions that we are not only seeking God’s direction, but making sure we look at the big picture so that we understand what the impact is going to be.
We are also called to be discerning in our spiritual life because there are false teachers, false prophets out there that the scriptures have warned us about. We need to know how to identify them, through discernment, in order to avoid them.
So… if you are not gifted with discernment, how do you GET discernment.
Discernment is rooted in wisdom, wisdom is rooted in knowing the Lord, and we know the Lord through His Word.
If you are not naturally gifted in discernment, you must begin an intentional process of studying the Lord’s Word to increase your knowledge. This knowledge will ensure that you have a grasp on the character of God, knowledge of his statutes and the scriptures, so that you may test teachers/leaders/prophets to His word. Through knowledge you will gain wisdom, as you begin to see how the Lord conducts himself in the various scenarios that play out in the scriptures. Essentially, what would Jesus do?
With knowledge from study, wisdom through application, and then adding in the third piece which is prayer… we can begin develop discernment.
We pray for the Lord to give us knowledge, wisdom, and discernment. We want Him to help us in this process, so that while we are still learning, we have the Holy Spirit working on our behalf. There will never become a time where we can fully understand the will of God, all the mysteries of the scriptures, on our own this side of Heaven. We must have the Holy Spirit working in us to do so, but knowing that doesn’t absolve us from the responsibility of seeking His wisdom and knowledge. We can count on the Holy Spirit to help & guide us, but we are still called to have a spirit of discernment within us.
To be discerning, we must start at the beginning. Know the Word, to know what isn’t.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, – Philippians 1:9-10