Discernment: What Does the Bible Say?
Discernment is the ability to distinguish between right and wrong and to make wise decisions in light of this knowledge. In the Bible, there are numerous scriptures that speak of the importance of discernment. God calls us to be wise, to trust in Him, and to rely on His wisdom rather than our own understanding.
The Bible tells us that God has given us spiritual gifts, including the gift of discerning of spirits. In 1 Corinthians 12:10, we read, "To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another the divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues."
This verse shows us that God has granted us the ability to tell the difference between good and bad spiritual influences. The Bible also warns us to use discernment to distinguish between truth and lies, and truth and almost truth.
1 John 4:1 says, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." Again, this shows us that we must use wisdom to determine what is true and what is false.
In Proverbs 14:12, we read, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." This verse reminds us that the path that looks right may not be the one that ultimately leads to life, so we must use discernment. Proverbs 3:5–6 states, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." This verse is telling us that instead of relying on our own understanding, we should rely on God and seek His guidance in order to use our discernment correctly.
The Bible also encourages us to test everything and hold fast to what is good. In 1 Thessalonians 5:21, we read, "Test everything; hold fast what is good." This verse reminds us to be discerning and to use wisdom to separate truth from falsehood.
In addition, the Bible tells us that wisdom is something that can be asked for from God. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." This verse stresses the importance of discerning God’s truth from worldly lies and holding fast to it.
James 1:5 states, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." This verse reminds us that God is willing to give us wisdom to help us discern between good and evil if we ask Him.
The Bible also cautions us not to rely on our senses but to have faith in God. Isaiah 11:3 says, "And he will delight in the fear of the Lord, and he will not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear." This emphasizes the importance of trusting in God’s wisdom rather than relying on our own judgment or the opinions of others.
Finally, the Bible tells us that growing in spiritual discernment takes time and application of God's word in our lives. In Hebrews 5:14, we read, "But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil." This is reminding us that it takes practice to be able to correctly discern good from evil, so we must be willing to put in the effort to grow in spiritual discernment.
Discernment is an important part of the Christian life. The Bible is full of scriptures that remind us of the importance of relying on God’s wisdom and of using discernment to make wise decisions.
We must be vigilant in our spiritual lives and use the gifts God has given us to distinguish between good and evil. By following the Bible’s teachings on discernment, we can be sure to make decisions that are pleasing to God and that lead us down the path of righteousness.
Finally, make sure you understand that spiritual discernment is often needed. Take the young woman that followed Apostle Paul and company. She prophesied truth but something was wrong. After a while Paul discerned what was happening and rebuked the spirit of divination that was in the girl.
The Bible is full of scriptures encouraging us to use discernment when it comes to spiritual influences and making decisions. We must rely on God's wisdom and use the gifts He has given us to distinguish between good and evil and make wise choices.
(c) Apostle Jonas Clark
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