Recently i was scanning over some old notes and found this article on "true discerment" which i thought worthwhile submitting. So What your about to read is a compiliation of scripture references with associated notations and some running commentary!
WHAT DISCERNMENT DOES!
- Discernment approves things that are Excellent
- Discernment is set for the defence of the Gospel
- Discernment exposes error and false teaching
- Discernment Proves all things and tests Spirits
- Discernment holds fast to what is good (And discards what is not)
- Discernment earnestly Contends for the faith.
- Discernment grows a (backbone) and doesn't listen to critics who accuse those (who use discernment) of being strident and contentious!
- Discernment proves prophecies and makes full proof of the ministry.
- Discernment distinguishes right from wrong, black from white, and truth from error.
HOW DISCERNMENT GROWS!!
** The person Who grows in discerment is the person whose senses (spiritual smarts) are exercised to discern between both good and evil. ( Hebs 5:14 )
** The person growing in discernment is the person who compares spiritual things with spiritual things. Or to say it another way we compare apples with apples! And we do this to determine what? To determine quality! No one compares apples with oranges to determine quality or shelf life - do they? And so It is with spiritual things! We make judgement calls and compare spiritual things with spiritual things. ( Therefore the word of God must be the basis for truth, revelation, and experiences) And we don't fall back on experiences, fables, or men's wisdom to confirm what is right and proper
** The Christian that grows in discernment is characterized by this: He does not judge things after the appearance. Jesus told the Jews that they judged after the flesh. Paul said do we look on things after the appearance? Jesus said "i Judge no man, but if i judge ... my judgment is True! (why)? Because i seek not my own good, but his that sent me. He further re-enforces this by saying "Judge not after the appearance, but judge righteous judgments"
( make righteous judgments beloved )
** The believer who grows in discermnent adopts a humble and unassuming position! And why? because of the following statements made by paul at Corinth " I know nothing by myself " and " i judge not even my own self (1 cor 4:4) What does this tell us? True discernment relies on God to show the depths and hidden things of the heart ( As it is only human nature to be easy on ourself but hard on others) But Paul says if we allow God to turn on his searchlight we will see more clearly what really lies beneath. Because at the end of the day only God's Spirit can give the green light of a (clear conscience)
We also find similiar things spoken in 2nd Corinthians "In all things you have approved yourselves to be CLEAR in the matter" (these Corinthian did get that green light)
DISCERNMENT AND PERCEPTION ARE RELATIVES
Whilst one cannot know the hidden counsels of the heart of man (as such). We can however walk in a perception that has "keen" and "acute" spiritual awareness.
( Just For example )
When paul was brought before the Jewish council he discerned by the spirit that two groups of people were present - at the hearing
"But when paul PERCIEVED that the one part was sadducee, and the other part pharisee, he cried out in the council, men and brethren i am a pharisee, the son of a pharisee" (Of course he refers only to his upbringing and his past life as a pharisee) and is no way suggesting he was still a "practising pharisee" In fact Nowhere in the entire new testament does it even remotely suggest paul continued as a pharisee once converted to Christ! He speaks of sitting at the feet of gamaliel once. Who was a pharisee and doctor of the law held in reputation. But in spite of that we learn that the apostle went from sitting at gamaliel's feet to sitting at the feet of Jesus - to recieve the gospel - by revelation
( Galations 1:18 )
Clearly a man who walks in the spirit will get discernment from the Spirit of God! And that is very comforting and significant to lay hold off.
" WOMAN AT THE WELL GETS DISCERNMENT"
(AND HAS PERCEPTION OF JESUS THE CHRIST)
WE are all very familiar with the very moving and touching account from John chapter four of A woman who met Jesus at the well. But how many realize THIS WOMAN experienced a 3-fold growth stage in discernment during that encounter?
Stage one of perception: Jesus asks her "give me to drink" She responds by saying how is it you being a jew askest drink of me? She immediately percieves him to be a Jew.
Stage two of perception: After being conversant a while with Jesus, Jesus says to her "Go and call your husband to come" the woman answers "but i have no husband" Jesus says to her thou hast well said that you have no husband as you have had five husbands and the one you have now is not your spouse (word of knowledge)
By this time she is blown away by Jesus knowing this - and says " Sir, I percieve that thou art a prophet" (perception)
Stage three of perception: After further in depth discussions on true worship the woman says " I know when messiah comes, which is called Christ - he will tell us all things. Jesus reponds by saying "i am he that you speak of" The account goes on to say she departed and went her way after those words to tell the men in her city " Come and see a man, which told me all things that i ever did: Is not this the Christ? Wow stage three in this level of perception has the woman going from discerning Jesus to be Jew, to that of prophet, And finally the realization that Jesus is very Christ. ( Incredible )
" THE APOSTLE PETER PERCIEVES A LIE "
AGAIN we are familiar with the account in the book of acts whereby Peter discerns by the Spirit that 2 people have a secret they are keeping FROM EVERYBODY ELSE. Peter percieves Annais and sapphira have conpspired together to keep back part of the price from houses and properties sold. Peter knew they had covenanted together. And confronted annais. And said these words " Why hath satan filled thine heart to lie to the holy ghost? Why hast thou concieved this thing in thine heart? This is then Followed by these chilling words " thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God" Upon hearing that he instantly fell to the ground and gave up the ghost. The same fete 3 hours later befell his wife.
" DISCERMNENT PERCIEVES EVEN A MAN'S HEART "
(THE WORD OF GOD IS A DISCERNER OF THE THOUGHTS
AND INTENTS OF THE HEART) Hebrews 4:12
We read in Acts chapter eight Peter rebuked Simon who offered cash in return for power to lay hands on people. But this was Met with staunch and sharp reply "I Percieve that you are in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity. Notice peter didn't say i know all your thoughts? however he did percieve by the spirit he was in rank bitterness and trapped by iniquty. This statement frightened simon to bits! And he beseeching peter asked that none of those things spoken ...come upon him! Ahh man.
~~ The apostle Paul figures in the action again percieving Elymas to be a man of subtility and all mischief. Who would not cease to pervert the ways of God. Pauls perception of things on that eventful day was later confirmed by the man who collaborated the events of the apostles when he later wrote that bar-jesus ( elymas was a sorceror and a false prophet ...to boot) paul's perception of things that day were proven to be extremely and deadly accurate!!
( Discernment and perception are sisters )
(The disciples Matthew, mark, and luke frequently inform us in their writings that Jesus percieved people's thoughts! knew of quarrels amongst his disciples, And discerned murmurings amongst the jews and amongst the pharisee's
"WHAT THEN ISN'T DISCERNMENT"
( how is discernment abused and mis-used )?
Discernment is NOT an excuse to criticise others! or TO ATTACK OTHERS. Nor is it an excuse to go around seeking to remove all of the motes and beams from out of your brothers eyes!
Discernment does not wink at sin! Nor does it condone false doctrine. Paul told the believers @ corinth are you not able to judge even the smallest of matters among youselves? Jesus told the Jews reprovingly "And why even among yourselves do you not judge what is right"? The jews often passed over love, mercy, faith and JUDGMENT ... but were fastidious and conscientious over tithing !
Discernment is not an excuse to unsavourly condemn people or make them feel intimidated or threatened! discernment does not Falsely accuse others! Or point railing accusatory fingers "Judge not that ye be not judged" ( For why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? )
Discernment does NOT speak evil of men!
" Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law; but if thou judge the law, then thou art not a doer of the law (but have instead set yourself up to be judge) My emphasis!
Over in the book of Titus it says this: See that you speak evil of NO man! And over in Jude the archangel Michael just flat refused to rail on the devil regarding a dispute over the body of moses. Saying the Lord rebuke thee - satan! And refused to enter into it, with the devil
( wise men are men, who speak evil of no man)
Other passages on the subject of discernment which are classical are from the prophet Ezekiel who spoke of the priests failure to discern between the profane and the clean.
And from the book of Jonah: Jonah was rebuked by God for wanting the men of ninevah to be judged. God told him that they did not know their right hand from their left hand! And should i not spare them being a population of 120,000 souls? and also much cattle? Truly growth in discernment would have us though to know our right hand from our left hand ( spiritually speaking) that is!
And so we conclude our message on excerpts and notes on "True discernment" Thank you for reading this article! God bless everyone in Christ Jesus (AMEN)!