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Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by LadyEagle, Jun 25, 2003.
What is spiritual discernment?
I would say it is the God-given ability to see beyond the surface appearance of a person or situation...into the reality of the Spirit's working in the person's life or in the circumstances of the situation.
Hebrews chapter five says it is the ability to discern between good and evil and it also an indication of mature faith.
So, does the Holy Spirit give all believers spiritual discernment? Or do we have to have a close walk with the Lord in order to have spiritual discernment? Or is it a gift? How does this fit in with our day to day walk?
Specifically, why is it that some can see spiritual involvement behind things visible to the physical eye and others can't?
An example I'm thinking of is the growing emphasis on the occult, i.e. Harry Potter or going to fortune tellers.
Or spiritual wickedness in high places. Or growing substance abuse problems. Music. Abortion. Pornography. Are these things connected in any way? Is there a spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of children?
Frankly I feel it is a lack of being in the Word and not taking time to pray that causes Christians to be weak at spiritual discernment. But, Hewbres chapter five tells us that as we continue to excercise our discernment it gets stronger.
I believe spiritual discernment is an ability given by God and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Every believer gets SOME measure of spiritual discernment, but all measures are not the same.
There are three listings of spiritual gifts in the New Testament: Romans 12:6-8, I Corinthians 12:7-11, and Ephesians 4:11. I believe someone with the gift of Prophecy gets a greater measure of discernment than someone with the gift of Service, for instance.
Whereas Coveredheadlady says the ability matures the more it is used, I would agree but would rephrase the statement to say that OUR USE OF this God-given ability matures the more we rely on the Holy Spirit to empower it.
God is the author of our abilities. As soon as we start believing that we own the ability and unplug from the Spirit, that ability will begin to die.
The Spirit of God works within the heart/mind of regenerate man (God's elect) and opens up our understanding of spiritual matters to which otherwise we would be "dead" or "blind". The "light comes on" and we turn from thinking the Gospel as foolishness into recognizing it as the power of God.
I believe that same discernment is given by the working of the Spirit within the heart of the saved. The more we are in the Word of God, the more His Spirit can use that Word to understand the underlying truths and also recognize the subtle evils that confront us. Not the simple Gospel, but deep study of theology.
ABSOLUTELY! Satan loves to get our children as young as he can!
We are to test the spirits and I believe it takes spiritual discernment to do that.
Some people just don't WANT to see the danger in some areas. I would say they were worldy and that makes it almost impossible to have spiritual discernment.
Discernment is that God given ability to see something as good or evil. Being able to recognize there is something evil covered over by what normally appears as good.
Much discernemnt is need to walk circumspectly. The real problem with many people who profess the gift of discernment use it for an occaision to judge another person and their intent for doiung what it is they do.
Discerning the spirits/ trying the spirits, can be done by comparing it to scripture to see whether it is of God. But we should never be so involved as to tempt our brother so as to see if he is made of the right stuff, this is where the occaision to judge comes in as error.
Many will use their "liberty" as a cloke for maliciousness and in turn become a stone of stumbling to that brother.
The key elements in discerning are found in Proverbs 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
These are obvious indications, but the really scary part of discerning is when you can observe some one for a period of time and tell by thier actions whether they are committed to the Lord in their doings or are just in it for poularity and other sorts. This type of discernment must be handled very carefully as to not jump to conclusions and sin a presumptuous sin.
We can all make assumptions, but when we act on an assumption it becomes presumptuous by our judging a person or situation without having all the facts. That is why gossip is such a detriment to society, people get destroyed due to the presumptions and actions carried out simply because "so and so" said.
Boy, couldn't we all learn something from that in our churches? Ever been of the butt end of gossip? Having your character and testimony all but destroyed? I have, and it doesn't "feel" good.
Everyone I've ever known to boast, (another indicator they're full of the devil), of having discernment has done nothing but tear churches all apart by their presumptions and running their mouths about it. They always seem to find some weaker brother they "confide in" with this ability and then the fire is lit and the little cliches form and the church is divided.
If you have this gift, take it with a grain of salt and use it very carefully. Remember people are not perfect, and if you watch someone long enough you'll find they have many faults. But look in the mirror, and if you're going to examine anyone so close and for any length of time, keep your eyes upon Jesus, for in Him no fault I find!
In His Holy Service,
Heb 5:12-14 pretty well covers it and we have dadburn little of it nowadays.
Ricky, I thought about your post there and while I agree with you in a lot of it you must know that some would not see some things your way. So often, I have heard the "You can't judge me" or "I'm under grace" when I attempt to use the Word to exhort or correct and protect a brother/sister that I could see how others would see your treatise about pride as just another "wall of unjust justification" for actions unbecoming a Christian or just plain error.
The Lord isn't fond of those who call good evil or evil good and there is far more of that going on in the church than the proud ones judging. Shoot, if there ain't nothin' wrong with anything what are you going to judge anyway?
I am often in a position where I have to stand before others that I feel are more eductated and experienced than I am and say, "What in the world are you thinking?" It took me years before I could really do it because I looked at them as my superiors and said, "Who am I to say anything?"
Finally, I saw where in many cases the ones "who seemed to be somewhat" in Scripture were chastised, rebuked and even replaced by those that most would call inferior to them. Amos is the lad I most relate to in the OT and Peter in the NT. They were the least likely lads to be doing what they did and yet God used them.
In the zeal of my new salvation I prayed to be like Peter and Paul. I got my prayer answered somewhat in that I do have both of their weaknesses. I was hoping for their strengths. Maybe I have some of those in smaller quantities.
I still feel like the least of all Christians in many ways, but I can no longer stay quiet when I see what should be obvious truth to most 10-year-olds ignored or ridiculed. There is no pride in it. In fact, I wish I could stay quiet because the abuse that I get is not fun or desired.
It is part of the ministry and I want to minister so I have to be willing to do the dirty jobs and get the abuse as much as doing the cool jobs and getting some praise.
I am a sinner saved by grace. If Paul had not claimed the title fo Chief of Sinners I would have said it was me so all I can do is have the Assistant Chief of Sinners position. So, I might get stern, rowdy and plow real close to the corn, but it ain't because I think I am perfect or super holy. In fact, when people praise me I have a harder time dealing with that than with criticism.
As the old song says, "I know what I am."
Still, the Book is the Book and truth is the truth
and if I am going to be any kind of Christian at all,let alone a preacher than I have to stick with the Book. It is perfect and righteous and I didn't write it. I just have to preach it and live it as much as I can in His grace and power!
So if someone preaches a false doctrine that is opposite of what is taught in Scripture, is it not a false spirit?
And isn't this getting back to what Mark was saying in another thread, that this is a spirit of anti-Christ?
Also, are we to have fellowship with that one who has the spirit of anti-Christ?
Another question, what is meant by the phrase "witness of the Holy Spirit?"
SheEagle9/11, yes those are false prophets who preach true portions interspersed with new age lies!
Even reading the posts of those false prophets actually turns my stomach.