Discernment is a spiritual ability that profoundly impacts every area of our lives. Simply put, discernment is the intuitive capacity to decide between truth and error, right and wrong, or good and bad. It is probably one of the most powerful yet misunderstood tools in our arsenal of spiritual gifts.
The English dictionary defines discernment as follows:
“The ability to judge well. It is perception in the absence of judgement with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.” (Google, [Def.1], n.d.)
One of the reasons why discernment is so misunderstood is because jealous and insecure people often operate from suspicion, but call their paranoia discernment. They are consumed with looking for the negative and obsessing over it. However discernment is entirely different from suspicion. Discernment is produced from a place of wisdom and peace. Suspicion on the other hand springs from a place of fear and condemnation.
Here are three ways that discernment can impact your life:
1. It acts as a means of protection, guarding us from deception by any who would seek to harm us. It protects us from being misled by information that is harmful or distracting to the life we intend to create.
2. Discernment also acts as an instrument of healing and compassion when exercised correctly. People can use this ability to diagnose the spiritual and emotional needs of others, to strengthen relational connections, or to improve communication in a way that prevents conflict.
3. Finally, discernment serves as a catalyst to spiritual development. Proverbs 14:6 says “The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning” (Holy Bible, New International Version). A true seeker of wisdom, growth and success is always hungry to learn, but without discernment, it is impossible to distinguish between useful and useless knowledge.
Develop Your Discernment:
Here is a simple exercise you can do to hone and master your spiritual gift of discernment. Set some time apart – at least 15 uninterrupted minutes. Once you are in this private space, start exercising your discernment by choosing one specific person to mediate on. Intentionally focus on that person until you have clearly identified what it is about them you desire to understand in your mind. Take your time and instead of generalizing, concentrate intently on one specific area about them that needs discernment. During this time, you should intentionally seek to discover what is hindering any growth and advancement in that one area, then, identify what can be done to bring life, growth, or change into that area. Once you can see a viable solution, ask yourself what specific things you are willing and able to do in order to help. Lastly, take action from what you discerned. As you do this more and more, you will! find that your accuracy and effectiveness keep growing.
Discernment [Def. 1]. (n.d.). In Dictionary. Google LLC. Retrieved Thursday, December 28, 2017.
Intl. Transformation Expert