Spiritual discernment is the ability to distinguish between truth and error from a biblical standpoint. Think of it as wisdom in being able to see things as God sees them instead of seeing them from a human perspective and being able to tell the difference between truth and error in the spiritual realm. It’s definitely something that all of us want to have more of!
The more you’re able to understand and see things as GOD sees them, and NOT from a worldly/humanistic perspective, the wiser you become, the better decisions you make. And wisdom is amazing! It keeps you out of trouble and helps you get closer to God.
If we’re going to be able to better discern between right and wrong and see things from a spiritual perspective rather than through humanistic terms, we’re going to need to acquire more wisdom – this applies to new Christian believers as well as mature Christians.
One way that you can increase your spiritual discernment is by asking God for wisdom. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” And also, Philippians 1:9, “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,”
But just one more thing I want to say is this – before you can pray for wisdom, you actually need to desire wisdom. Meaning that you first need to see the importance (and urgency) of increasing your spiritual discernment.
We can’t just say a prayer or ask for something if we’re not fully committed to having/getting it. The Bible says that is like a double-minded man (James 1:6-8).
One of the biggest reasons spiritual discernment is so vital to our health as Christian women is that we will be less effective without it.
We will be at the whim of our feelings and won’t have anything to anchor ourselves to or to use as something upon which we can take a firm stand. We’re warned about this in Ephesians 4:14, “so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.”
We need to be able to make the biblically correct decision. Choosing the biblical option OVER the unbiblical and ungodly one always honors God even though making the right decision may cost you in other ways.
And it’s tough because so many things in this world are gray areas. But to the spiritually discerning person, EVERYTHING is spiritual and so we find it easier to make godly decisions because we can sort of, separate, ourselves from the world and make way better decisions. Truly, spiritual discernment is a massively huge gift to attain.
Maybe as a new Christian believer you’ve already experienced a situation where looking back, you wish you would have seen something as biblically incorrect in spite of it *sounding like* it was biblically accurate. And if you haven’t already, the time will come when either you’ll be super glad you could discern the right choice, or you’ll look back with a little (or a lot of) regret.
I think of a man caught up in porn. He’s looking at something fleshly. He’s looking at things through human eyes. If he saw that woman he’s looking at, as a SOUL, instead of an image, he WOULD NOT look at porn!!!!!!!
He would not feel the need to. He wouldn’t have as much desire to look. Why? Because he would see people as GOD sees them. God does not see us as sex symbols. HE sees us as souls and in order to abstain from fleshly desires, we absolutely MUST, I repeat MUST, walk in the spirit and NOT that of our flesh!!! I tell you the truth, I have been unmarried for over a decade now and have kept myself completely pure and chaste.
In fact, when I went to my women’s doctor for a regular checkup, she did not believe me that I have been chaste. I told her, “I’m Christian. I don’t do that.” She said to me, “So is everyone else”. That poor lady doesn’t even know. All she sees is the world. Everyone saying they’re Christian doesn’t mean anything. We know from the Bible that most are NOT Christian (Matthew 7:14). And being a Christian means we are different than the world, and we must hold ourselves to a higher standard, for the glory of God, to all we meet.
Having spiritual discernment means I’ve learned to see as God sees. So my mind is not seeing the world through fleshly eyes (for the most part), but through spiritual eyes, and I can discern from a point of view that is not attached to this world. Seeing through spiritual eyes, like God, makes me hate what He hates and love what HE loves. This helps me act accordingly to become a better Christian, being sanctified more and more each passing day.
Training yourself in spiritual discernment, I must admit, is the MOST advantageous thing you can seek out as a believer in Christ. I say it again, seek out spiritual discernment FIRST, above all other gifts and traits and you will do well.
Another reason wisdom and spiritual discernment is so vital to our walks is because we naturally, as God’s children, should want to be like Him. Since He is wise (Isaiah 55:8-9) and we want to be like Him in everything we do, growing more and more like Him every day and so we want to be wise. We don’t want to be taken advantage of by the world or by fools (Matthew 10:16).
At the end of the day, we desperately need to be able to quickly discern between biblical teaching and false teaching – and between biblical truth and error.
Wisdom is vital to the Christian. It helps us stay on the right path, thus abiding in the Father’s love for us and pleasing Him.
The Bible warns us in a few key places not to trust our own understanding or our own minds.
Proverbs 3:5 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
We are to rely on God through His Word and not ourselves – what we think, feel, or understand. Just look at what 2 Timothy 2:7 says “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” And the way we find this understanding is by reading and studying our Bibles.
So to increase our spiritual discernment, we need to first recognize that we need the wisdom that only comes from the Lord. And then, second, we need to pray for wisdom. And third, we must do our part to read and study His Word so that we can glean from it, learn from it, and obey it. In this way, we train ourselves to see things from God’s perspective and not from our own, over time, and thus become more spiritually discerning over time (there are no shortcuts to this!)