Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who
is able to judge this great people of Yours?" 1 Kings 3:9
Discernment is an overlooked spiritual discipline in many churches. But
in reality, spiritual discernment should be our first line of defense against
deception. It's that "buzzer" inside, warning you that something is wrong.
For example, you visit someone's home and everything appears in order.
But you can cut the air with a knife. Even though nothing visible confirms
it, your spirit detects that something is wrong in that home.
The first step to understanding discernment is to understand the motive
which is essential for employing it. In 1 Kings 3:9, Israel's king Solomon
cried out to God for help. God answers: "Because you have asked this
thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for
yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked
for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done
according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and
discerning heart" (verses 11, 12). The motive for true discernment is
never to promote self, to amass personal gain, or to secure an
advantage over another person--even an enemy.
The Greek word for discernment--diakrino--simply means to make a
judgment or a distinction. Discernment has one primary function:
to distinguish right from wrong. In 1 Corinthians 12:10 discernment
is the divinely enabled ability to distinguish a good spirit from a
Discernment is not a function of the mind; it's a function of the
Holy Spirit which is in union with your soul/spirit. When the
Spirit sounds a warning, your mind may not be able to perceive
what's wrong. Have the courage to acknowledge that something is
wrong when your spirit is troubled. Share what you are sensing
with others, and ask the Lord for wisdom. Amen