Spiritual Discernment?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by PastorSBC1303, Sep 22, 2005.

  1. PastorSBC1303

    PastorSBC1303
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    There has been some mention on other threads about spiritual discernment. What exactly is spiritual discernment?

    Is it the ability to sense evil?

    Is it the ability to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit?

    Is it the ability to read other people?

    What say you?
     
  2. buckster75

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    I think any and all of those pastor.
    also used in scripture for ability to understand what God is saying.
     
  3. Rachel

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    That's a great question. I have seen people who say they have that...but don't in everything.
    Does every Christian have spiritual discernment to some degree? I would say yes. I know I have before, but I wouldn't say in everything. I have gotten impressions or feelings about things that was about to happen, and about people etc. that ended up being true. And no I don't live my life on 'feelings'.
    I also can't stand lies, I want truth no matter what. I usually pray for discernment and God's wisdom in my life too.
     
  4. NomadsWife

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    I think it is any and all of those mentioned by Pastor. I think most have it to a degree but there are some who are gifted with it a bit stronger because maybe that is where their spiritual gifts are to be used. I don't know, but that is what I think.

    NomadsWife
     
  5. Marcia

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    I always thought it had to do with discerning deceptive or false teachings.
     
  6. Brother Ian

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    I think you hit it pretty well Pastor. I have little discernment for reading people while my wife has excellent discernment. I often rely on her discernment to help me. My discernment in situations is much better.
     
  7. PastorSBC1303

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    I think that may be a big part of it, but is it limited to that?
     
  8. Brother Ian

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    Spiritual discernment is not limited to identifying false teaching.
    It covers a wide range of things like stewardship. The Lord gives us the discernment in many situations. For example, although I can afford it, should I buy this car? Should I join this church? Should I marry this person?

    I don't believe we should limit God's influence through the Holy Spirit.
     
  9. webdog

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    I think it's discerning false teachings, false teachers' theology and motives, surrounding circumstances, and following the Holy Spirit's lead. It can also be discernment of secular things, worldly things, and how they pertain to our lives and christian walk with Christ.

    I don't believe it has anything to do with "sensing" evil, or an evil person. This sound too psychic or "mediumish" for me, looking at someone and knowing whether they are an evil person, or whether they are saved or not. All believers know what is evil: sin. If you recognize sin, you recognize evil.
     
  10. TexasSky

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    Discernment is defined as keen perception, insight, and keen judgement. It is the ability to recognize as separate or distinct or different; to idenitfy as different even when it might "appear" similar.

    Spiritual Discernment is the ability to know and understand things from a spiritual perspective. It means distinguishing between God's spirit and what is not God's spirit. It requires prayer, knowledge of God's word, and listening to God.

    I think that the most accurate definition on PastorSBC's list is the ability to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The other things fall into line beneath that.

    If you 'Sense evil', in regards to spiritual discernment, no doubt the Holy Spirit has revealed that to you, and because you are sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, you recognize the evil.

    If you are sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, you can distinguish the false teachings from the truth.

    Ergo, not everyone who has spiritual discernment will "sense evil," because the Holy Spirit will not "reveal that this is evil," to everyone.

    Discernment can be as "erie" as knowing there is something dark and evil and spiritually dangerous in the room, or as "normal and average as a Pastor looking at four possible projects from his church and knowing which project the Lord wants carried out and which project the Lord wants cancelled.
     
  11. NomadsWife

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    Well put TexasSky.

    NomadsWife
     
  12. NomadsWife

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    This is not something I feel I have spiritual discernment, because I feel only the Lord knows who is truly saved or not. We can look at the fruits of a person and conjecture on their state of salvation, but the only person who knows their true state of salvation are that person and the Lord. I would not presume to judge a person's salvation, though I can observe and consider a person's actions do or do not appear to be those of a saved person. Anything more than that, and I would be overstepping my bounds.

    NomadsWife
     
  13. Brother Ian

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    NomadsWife,

    Don't count the guidance of the Holy Spirit short. I am certain you have been around people that you "sensed" to be Christians without knowing or talking to them. I believe that is part of spiritual discernment.

    TexasSky summed it up pretty well. All the things I mentioned above come under what Texas mentions.
     
  14. OCC

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    I once thought I wasn't a Christian cuz I couldn't sense when someone was a Christian unless they said so. I sure could sense if someone was a "bad dude" though...
     
  15. Helen

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    TexasSky did a good job. I would add that discernment is a type of wisdom and that all wisdom comes from God. Discernment has to do with knowledge, too, but the wisdom about what you have knowledge about is not a natural thing, but a gift. However it is also a gift we can ask for and receive unstintingly according to James. Discernment has to do with choices and knowing which is right and which is wrong -- in any situation, be it spiritual, family, money, friends, or maybe even politics! It involves being able to understand motivations in some cases and consequences in others.

    And only God can do that for us!
     
  16. StraightAndNarrow

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    This is not something I feel I have spiritual discernment, because I feel only the Lord knows who is truly saved or not. We can look at the fruits of a person and conjecture on their state of salvation, but the only person who knows their true state of salvation are that person and the Lord. I would not presume to judge a person's salvation, though I can observe and consider a person's actions do or do not appear to be those of a saved person. Anything more than that, and I would be overstepping my bounds.

    NomadsWife
    </font>[/QUOTE]I agree that we can not judge another's salvation. That being said, however, pastors (and laymen) have to do their best job of evaluating someone both in critical situations and in normal evangelism. My brother (who's an SBC pastor) told me yesterday about his complete suprise when talking to a woman in her 90's who doesn't have long to live.

    She had been a long time member of his church; one of those who's always there and seemingly faithful to the Lord. She began saying rhings like, "Well, I'm not sure I'm saved because of some things I did as a teenager before I joined the church. She was drifting in and out of coherence and consciousness. She literally only had days or hours to live or to drop into unconsciousness. He finally got her to believe that the only thing that was required was to accept Jesus Christ as her Savior and she wouldn't have to be afraid about her future.

    Praise the Lord she did this in her final hours! For all of our discussions about differences of opinion, this is what it's really all about.

    Every time my brother tells me about an experience like this one he says to me, "You know, I REALLY like this job." All of us can have this rush from knowing that we have literally snatched a soul from the Devil. And my brother doesn't really mean job. He means LIFE.
     
  17. PastorSBC1303

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    I think that is a pretty well rounded definition. Thanks [​IMG]
     
  18. Rachel

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    A question...say you're at a get together with friends and alot of people you don't really know...and you sense evil about someone, what should you do? Should you say something to someone or just wait it out and watch, or let it go? Because it's possible you could be wrong, even though you don't believe you are.
     

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