Walking in the Overlooked gift of Discernment
Discernment is a gift that is sometimes lacking in the church. I believe that if the church operated more effectively in this area the fruitfulness of God’s people would be much greater. Moreover if you lack discernment you are more likely to walk into things that you should not walk into. I love this passage in Isaiah 7:15 which says, “He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good.” The assumption in this verse is that good things come to those who are able by the Holy Spirit to know the difference between good and bad. But in order to walk in good and walk away from bad we must know what good and bad are and to have this level of discernment we must be truly obedient to God’s voice. The first thing that you need to do is pray in order to understand God’s path for your life. Discernment of good and evil should never be based on your own best ideas but you should always put the matter to prayer. Paul in Philippians 1:9-10 said, “And this I 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.” We want the absolute best for our life and this comes by following God’s plan. As we seek him daily and hear his voice on all matters our path will get easier. So seek him and you will find him but seek him with all your heart. For me I have learned that this is the main key to having wisdom in all things. Hebrews 5:14 says, “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” The way we operate effectively in discernment will be through trial and error. We are in training. We might be like children today but tomorrow we will be masters of discernment. We may not have wisdom when we first start the path but the longer we walk on it we will have greater understanding of all things because God will give it to us. We may have a vision in our heart for a ministry that God has for our lives and that vision may burn so deep that we may be tempted to try to make short cuts or bypass life lessons in order to reach that destiny. This will result in bad decisions being made. Wisdom does not bypass the route that God would have us to take. When God raises you up he wants your heart to be in the right place in order to maximise the fruitfulness and impact that you will have. Many people who are immature will try to bypass the heart lessons and enter into their destiny early but the result might be them falling on their faces because they did not discern the best route that God had for them. Sometimes the route to God’s best for our life lies in the fire and many people are cowards and do not wish to go the way of the fire. Thank God for the three Hebrew children (Daniel 3) who were willing to sacrifice their lives for God’s greatest plan. They did not surrender to the false worship of the King but rather continued to worship God and as a result were thrown into the fire. In so doing God showed his great power and kept them safe. This resulted in the three of them receiving great honors and promotions in their life. They had to discern God’s perfect will in order to walk his perfect plan which in this case included the fire. We may face a storm like these three when deciding to walk God’s path but his perfect peace will be with us. He will keep us safe at all times. The Apostle Paul had his eyes on Jerusalem even though he was warned a couple of times of what would happen when he went there (Acts 21:1-14). He had peace in the will of God for his life. He was surrendered to God’s will. He did not flinch at what was in store because he understood and discerned God’s perfect plan for his life. As I have walked my path at times I made decisions in a very poor way. My desire to minister was greater than my desire to walk in God’s perfect plan. I would plan events and conferences and not have a good feeling about what I was doing and at times conflicts occurred as a result. I have learned since to trust the discernment that comes to my heart. If I have peace then I move forward and if I do not I do not move forward. If I feel the peace of Jesus in my heart when I make a decision then I feel this decision is right from the Lord. If I do not then I will not proceed. Through practice this sense of peace will guide us more and more. In order to test God’s word we must allow his image to be conformed in our minds. We must possess his imagination for all things. We must know his thoughts for our life. We must walk in visions and dreams and we must hear by the Holy Spirit. This takes time but the Holy Spirit is the promised helper (John 14:6) and will guide us into it. We must just trust him when he speaks. We may not always understand what he is saying but we must step toward what he says regardless. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” When the light of god strikes our minds and we are illuminated and have the revelation to walk God’s path we may face storms and mountains but we will overcome. God has great things in store for all of us. We must ask for the wisdom, understanding and discernment that we need to walk in this path daily. This will take a great deal of humility on your part because you will not always want to listen. But the more you listen the more you will see God do wonderful things in your life. Discerning rightly will result in many rewards and as the scripture says above you will eat the good fruit of the land. So continue to pursue God with all your heart and pray daily for his wisdom. My prayer for you is that you may never be found far from the sound of his voice and that his light strikes your heart daily.