Posted by: missionventureministries | May 2, 2019

UNDERSTANDING BIBLICAL DISCERNMENT – Proverbs 17:24

The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth. (Proverbs 17:24)

Discernment is the ability to decide wisely between truth and error, right and wrong. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth, especially about God’s Word.

The Bible makes it clear that discernment is something that we should all desire and that it is necessary to help us to grow in our faith and keep us from being deceived (Hebrews 5:14).

Spiritual discernment has to do with the capacity of knowing truth, and comes from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. As we grow in our relationship with Him, we will also gain spiritual discernment, which is a growing ability to know and obey the truth.

We need discernment in order to understand the Bible itself. Our human minds cannot understand the Scriptures without the discernment that comes from the Holy Spirit. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). The wisdom we need for our lives is contained within God’s word, but it is impossible to comprehend, unless we have the discernment to understand them (2 Timothy 3:12–17).

Discernment also means “to diligently search, to examine.” We see a great example of this with the Christians of Berea. They not only listened to Paul’s teaching, but after hearing what he said they went to the scriptures to see if what he taught was true.  Because the Bereans checked Paul’s teaching against Scripture, he commended them saying: “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). 

Christians who spiritually discern are able to properly distinguish between true and false teaching. Those with discernment have wisdom. Moreover, in the Bible we’re told that a true believer possesses the mind of Christ. “But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15-16)

As we see, God only gives the spiritual man the knowledge of His will, because he has the mind of Christ. 

So how do Christians grow in spiritual discernment? By allowing the Holy Spirit to be their guiding light; your word is a lamp to my feet (Psalm 119:105); and thorough carefully studying the Bible.

We as born again Christians are commanded to test what’s being taught. The apostle John tells us to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” Why is “testing” so important? “Because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

Seeking discernment is a goal for all who desire to walk righteously: Hosea 14:9 says: “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them.”

We are commanded to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). But, unless we have true discernment, how can we determine what is “evil” and what is “good”? We can only do it because of the continued presence of the Holy Spirit in us, we never have to make a decision alone, or trust our limited resources. He is always with us to guide us to all truth, and to remind us of the words of Jesus Christ, “the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26 and 16:13). So we have the responsibility to put the word of God in our mind, so that He can make us remember it; so that we maintain the purity of the gospel, and know how to distinguish the truth from heresy.

So, to gain spiritual discernment, we must seek God and to do this we are instructed to pray for wisdom. James 1:5-6 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting…”

Therefore, we must look for wisdom in God’s Word because, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

As we seek to know Jesus more, study the truth of God’s Word, learn to put truth into practice in our life and rely on the Holy Spirit within us, we will grow in spiritual discernment.

We can be confident that God will provide us with the wisdom and discernment we need, when we ask Him for it, because He desires us to live an empowered Christian life, filled with the understanding we need to follow Christ.

In summary, spiritual discernment is the ability to distinguish with clarity what is true and what is false when it comes to God’s Word. Consequently, a person with strong spiritual discernment can distinguish if a teaching, idea, or doctrine that they are hearing comes from God or comes from another source.

In our world with many competing voices that claim to speak for God, we need spiritual discernment. Without discernment, we are going to be led astray by false teachers and wrong ideas.

If we want to have discernment, we need to read God’s word, learn God’s word, and constantly apply it to our life. This will give us the training we need to withstand the wrong ideas about God in the world.

God has called and empowered His children to be warriors of truth and to protect the weak believers among us; He will not bless us if we become religious weakling and “yes men and women” for false religious leaders and manipulators. So study the Bible and “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

So like Paul, we pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ (Philippians 1:9-10).

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Responses

  1. Thank you for your wise advice.Pls help me pray for the wisdom, discernment and revelation of the Holy Spirit.  To be hungry for His Word and to show me what areas I need to work on to be sensible to his voice.Blessings, SilviaSent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

    • Thank you for asking us to pray with you Silvia, it is our greatest privilege to do so. The Bible tells us to ask and we shall receive. Blessings


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