The Power of Discernment

August 30, 2023

Written byAdelekan Bolanle

Originally posted on November 26, 2021 @ 12:00 pm

Dear Believer,

How do you judge a true believer? What evidence confirms that a man is a carrier of God’s glory? The event in Acts 16 is actually happening around us these days. It is a biblical passage that shows the power of discernment. It is more common than we can fathom. There is a great desire for prophecy and miracles by many believers these days.

This articles explain discernment as a gift of the Spirit and a spiritual ability, the benefits of discernment, how to develop a discerning spirit and bible verses about discernment.

Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. it is knowing the difference between right and almost right.

C H Spurgeon

Discernment: I am the good guide
Photo by Brett Jordan from Pexels

What is Discernment?

Discernment is the ability of a believer to have a sharp and sensitive ability to determine the difference between what is godly or ungodly. It is also the ability to know when a thought or an action is provoked by the Holy Spirit or flesh. Discernment also knows what God wants you to do per time. A discerning spirit is important for every believer. I believe this is a compulsory ability we should all have.

Discernment is the fruit of a regular and constant fellowship with God. It’s just like a parent and their child. The more relationship they both have, the better they understand each other. If a child stays far away from his parent, he may never know their likes and dislikes though they are family.

Types of discernment

There are two types of discernment and they are:

  1. Gift of discernment
  2. Spiritual discernment

Gift of discernment

The gift of discernment is one of the spiritual gifts mentioned by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians. This ability to discern is given as a gift by the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual Discernment

This kind of discernment is developed by constant fellowship and following of the Holy Spirit. It is formed by having a true relationship with God and following his will. The more we spend time with God, the more we are able to discern his voice and the voice of the devil.

The major key to discernment is spending quality time with the Holy Spirit

How to Develop a Discerning Spirit

  • Regular and constant quiet time with the Holy Spirit. Having a regular fellowship with the Holy Spirit helps to strengthen our spiritual minds. We become more acquainted with God and we learn to hear his voice more.
  • Waiting on God and Patience. To develop a sharp discerning spirit patience and waiting on God is very important. Decisions made in haste can sometimes be very fatal.
  • Meditate and read the scripture. The scripture contains instructions and guidance about what the will of God is for us. Regular and constant study of the world makes it easy to understand and determine what is godly and ungodly.
  • Worship: Worship is a very great way to discern and build a discerning spirit. God dwells in the worship; he speaks to his children in the place of worship. When next you need to make decisions, try worship.
  • Always keep a clear mind. When we have a clear mind it is easy to hear God and discern his will.

Spiritual Discernment quotes
The Spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

From this blog

Biblical Example of Discernment

 A lot of believers are so hungry for wealth and power. They want to become rich at any cost. Wolfs in sheep’s clothing have seen this desire, and they have decided to make use of that opportunity to mislead people and rob them of their money. Longsuffering, hope and faith have become foolishness for a lot of people. God definitely moves in mysterious ways, and his ways cannot be fathomed by the human mind.

Beautiful Roses Nigeria

  • Elijah

Elijah was someone who had worked with God numerous times. God had done many miracles through him. There is a time God sent down fire while Elijah called out to God. This particular encounter Elijah had with God was quite different. This encounter of Elijah with God shows that God is not always in the strong wind or fire; he sometimes comes in a still, small voice. The earthquake may shake the whole earth, but it doesn’t necessarily mean God is there. 1 kings 19:11-13

  • Paul in Acts of the Apostles chapter 16

16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”

 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.

Acts 16:16-19 (NIV)

In this particular chapter of the Bible, the damsel followed Paul and Silas shouting that they are the sons of God; she even encouraged everyone to believe them. She prophesied, and people usually came to her to hear what she had to say concerning their future. Her masters were making huge money off her.

Paul, being inclined of the Holy Spirit, could discern that she was possessed by the devil. He rebuked the devil in her, and instantly the demonic spirit left her. Her masters became angry. They weren’t happy with her freedom. They were unhappy because their source of revenue had just been taken away.

This situation explains what we have today in Christianity. A lot of Christians are drawn to places by the physical evidence they see. They want miracles and prophesy. They don’t want to pray or fast themselves; they want a quick leading and miracle to happen in their lives.

 Miracles are not always evidence of God’s power. God is an author of miracles, signs and wonders, but I can assure you that he isn’t the performer of all miracles you see. It is more important to test every spirit and make sure they are genuine and pure. The more of God you know, the more your spiritual ability to discern and understand where God truly is and where he isn’t. The ability to discern by the Holy Spirit is crucial, and it doesn’t come cheap.

Benefits of Discernment

  • Differentiate between good and evil
  • Fulfil purpose
  • Do the will of God
  • Simplifies the steps to resist temptations
  • Rekindles confidence in God

23 Discernment Quotes from the Bible

Here are some bible verses about discernment which serves as guides for our everyday life.

  • Philippians 1 :9-10; 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;
  • 1 Samuel 16:7;  But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks [b]at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart
  • 1 Chronicles 12:32; Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command.
  • Hosea 14:9; “Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.”
  • Proverbs 2:3-5 – “Indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”
  • Hebrews 5:14 – “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 – “But test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
  • James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
  • Proverbs 15:14 – “The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.”
  • 1 John 4:1 – “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.”
  • Colossians 1:9 – “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
  • Ephesians 5:10 – “And try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”
  • 1 Corinthians 2:14 – “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”
  • Proverbs 3:21 – “My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion.”
  • Matthew 7:15 – “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”
  • Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
  • 1 Corinthians 14:29 – “Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.”
  • Proverbs 28:11 – “The rich are wise in their own eyes; one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are.”
  • Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
  • 1 John 4:6 – “We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.”
  • Proverbs 18:15 – “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.”
  • 1 Corinthians 12:10 – “To another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Spiritual discernment quotes
The more of God we know, the more accurately we can discern.

A true believer will be able to discern and understand the move of God when he is has a genuine relationship with the Holy Spirit. You can only know where God is and how he’s moving if you understand his methods. The more you walk and know him, the sharper your ability to discern.

The power of God is still very much around. God is still moving in his might and in the fullness of the glory. I am a living example of what God can do in a place of hopelessness. Please, don’t be carried away by the noise and the jamboree. Tune your spiritual antenna to understand where he is and where he isn’t.

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