Discernment: How Will I Know? Part One

Have you ever wondered about the open doors or opportunities that present itself in your life?  Are you maybe looking back and thinking regretfully how you missed your chance at something?  Do you feel that you are a little unsure if you are reading the signs or getting the message correctly?  I have been there done that and yes, it is frustrating, but worth the challenge it presents in finding out what that opportunity is and where it can lead.


We all could benefit from a little discernment and having it makes things a little easier when making tough decisions to act on before we move forward.  The Bible has a lot to say about this matter as well and we will explore it in just a bit, but let’s get a better understanding of the word first.


Discernment is the ability to be able to grasp or comprehend something, or to gain a better understanding of a situation.  We use discernment to make wise decisions or choices to utilize better judgment. It is a keen perception that many fail to make the most of, and few take advantage of the benefits, that come from discernment.


Throughout the book of Proverbs, we are told about two different type of men:  the fool and the wise man.  The fool refuses to be discerning; thus, giving into his folly by his poor judgment.  The wise man uses perception to pause and think first before jumping into something he is ill-prepared to handle.  Where do you fall?  Let’s explore a few profound bible verses and see, shall we?  Proverbs has really impacted my life.  I have seen my portrait from it’s wisdom and I have found myself to be a fool more often than not.  But then again most of my foolishness happened before I started a relationship with Jesus.  I want to shed light on that so maybe you can be a step ahead of where I was and not make the poor decisions I did repeatedly.  Proverbs 15:21 aptly hits the nail on the head by stating how important it is to have common sense.


Proverbs 15:21  “Folly is joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight.” 


Let’s take a step back for a moment.  Why is discernment important and why is it part of the purpose of mankind?  Proverbs clearly defines that it is important for man to coexist and honor God by having a strong relationship with our Creator. Look at Proverbs 1:2-6 and see the purpose of our understanding God’s handbook on how to live; thus, addressing this for yourself.  Then take a further look and meditate on Proverbs 1:7 which instructs us on how to accomplish this purpose.


Proverbs 1:2-6 “ For gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words and insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young—let the wise listen and add to their learning, and letting the discerning get guidance—for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.”


Proverbs 1:7  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”


Man has an ego problem.  Man feels he has the wisdom to resolve any issue on his own.  Man believes he has mastered the necessary skill of understanding to navigate himself throughout life.  Man takes the credit for this, and does not acknowledge God; thus, he rebels.  When we can see God in and around us, we can lean in to Him and rely on His wisdom and understanding.  It will guide us.  It will help us see past the trees of sinful deceit and see the forest (sinful world) as it truly is.  We must submit to Him and His power, not the other way around.  In Proverbs 2:1-15 we learn about that there is an advantage when we seek wisdom and what we gain if we follow His instructions.


Proverbs 2:1-15  “My son,  if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—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. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones.  Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—for every good path.  For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.  Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.”


When I read this passage, I get confirmation and feel great assurance that I am walking the way He wants me to walk.  I let my ego, my rebellious nature, fall by the wayside and I submit fully to Him. Is it easy?  No, but it is worth it.  Is it costly?  Yes, but most things of value are going to cost you one way or another.  In Proverbs 4:1-2 and 7, we learn wisdom must be sought no matter the cost, if we want to maintain His instructions for a godly life.  It all begins with wisdom.


Proverbs 4:1-2; 7  “Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.  I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching…the beginning of wisdom is this:  Get wisdom.  Though it cost all that you have, get understanding.”


Wisdom and understanding (discernment) go hand in hand.  One needs to pursue the first to be able to obtain the second.  All we need to do is ask for it and then receive it as pointed out in James 1:5.


James 1:5  “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally, and upbraidth not; and it shall be given him.” 


Proverbs tells us what discernment is and why it is important to obtain or gain it, but we now need to view discernment as an act of obedience and a requirement of serving God.  I want to support this further by showing how important this requirement is and how it demonstrates obedience and that placing all our trust in God is of the utmost highest priority.  Let’s look at the following verses:  Philippians 1:9-10, Hosea 14:9, Hebrews 5:14 and Hebrews 4:12.  All of these verses are connected to the theme of why discernment is needed and should be applied.


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.”


Hosea 14:9  “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them for the ways of the Lord are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them.”


Hebrews 5:14  “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”


Hebrews 4:12  “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”


When we can obtain wisdom and gain understanding, then we can apply it to the open doors or opportunities that appear in our lives at specific times.  We need to use discernment to test and see who is presenting this opportunity to us.  Is it God or is it Satan?  These last three verses are a litmus test for us to use to measure and determine where the opportunity is coming from. It will tell us whether we walk through the open door or walk past the open door.  Let’s look at the following verses in 1 John 4:1, Romans 12:2 and 1 Thessalonians 5:21 and see how to test these open doors.


1 John 4:1  “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”


Romans 12:2  “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”


1 Thessalonians 5:21  “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”


Now that we know what discernment is, how important it is to obtain, and why we need to utilize it to progress further with our opportunities, we next will see how the application if used correctly, can bring and offer, many blessings into our lives and those we are meant to touch.  Part 2 will delve deeper into this.  I hope this helps someone get the clarity they seek. Have a great day and God bless!

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