Earlier this week, I began talking about discernment and I’d like to continue the conversation today.
My journey with discernment began years ago. Whenever I would come across the word in my Bible, it seemed to jump out at me. It was generally tied up with maturity or wisdom — two things that I’m striving for in my spiritual walk!
I began investigating the word in it’s original Hebrew or Greek, examining passages that discussed discernment, and seeking information from trusted sources. The information I gleaned has become invaluable to me.
Although I still stumble, fall, and forget to listen for the Holy Spirit at times, discernment has become a well-used weapon of mine.
Discernment helps me to look past my human feelings and pay attention to what God is saying about a situation. Discernment guides me through conversations and circumstances. It’s not always easy but it is always helpful.
Unfortunately, it’s one of those topics that are rarely discussed and therefore not really understood. Many sum up Biblical Discernment using human standards and simply explain it as the ability to judge well. By that definition, anyone can have Biblical Discernment — which simply isn’t the case. For Biblical Discernment, there needs to be something different within you — The Holy Spirit!
Only a Christian can have Biblical Discernment.
As much as I enjoy sharing my collected knowledge of Biblical Discernment, to cover discernment fully, I would certainly need more than a few blog posts. However, I’m probably not going to do that for a few reason: 1. Discernment posts take significantly longer to write and I leave for youth camp shortly 2. Discernment posts don’t draw much traffic — this doesn’t matter to me largely but too many days of dropped traffic and it messes with my mind (just being honest) 3. Real life ministry helps me to understand that a Discernment journey is better taken with a friend or mentor walking through life with you.
With this is mind, today will be my last post about discernment for a few weeks. I’ll continue to come back to it because it’s important but next week I’ll be sharing about Strawberry Cupcakes because this heavy spiritual talk has made me hungry. 🙂
Earlier this week I did a basic introduction to Biblical Discernment. However, a good bit of time was used to talk about the bad or demonic activity. Today, I want to talk about the flip side of that.
Thankfully, discernment isn’t just about the demonic, a mature Christian should also be able to sense God at work even when nothing is visible. A practical example in my own life will hopefully help demonstrate.
During church service more than several years ago, there were multiple people that went up for prayer. Being married to one of the pastors, I normally would have laid hands on each person and moved down the line but that day I didn’t feel like I was supposed to pray for everyone.
While I have yet to obtain Paul’s level of discernment, I knew that some were at the alter seeking attention while others were genuinely having a God encounter and needed my prayerful assistance in the spiritual realm and still others needed just to meet with God.
I moved where I felt the Spirit leading, even if I did feel a little guilty about passing people over.
As I prayed with those I felt led to, I watched as some of the people I passed over pressed into the Spirit. It seemed like it was just God and them in the room. The music, the noise, the movement — nothing seemed to matter.
With one person particular, I could almost sense the battle they were fighting. When they stood, it was like someone new stood in their place. I don’t know what happened in that time but I know that person needed to encounter God.
In this situation, there were other people that stopped to pray over that person. I’m not saying those people were wrong. Maybe the simple touch of their hand gave strength. Maybe there was a different anointing in their prayers. All I know, in that time, my discernment grew a little more.
During that time, I also watched as someone felt that first hand touch their shoulder, turned, shed tears on the now available shoulder, and began to actively share their story.
Few words were said to God and that person only went away with a temporary weight lifted. God was not encountered and spiritual changes were not made.
That’s not to say that this particular person didn’t need to talk. As brothers and sisters in Christ we are to share each other’s burdens but that was the wrong place and time for sharing in that manner.
Since that time, whenever people approach the alter, I seek discernment. Do they need my hand laid on them and my prayers attached to theirs? Or is the moment just between them and God? Is their action a cry for attention from other people and I should pray quietly in my seat for them to truly encounter God? How is it that God wants me to pray for and with them?
With that last question, God always wants us to pray specifically. We can pray for what someone wants us to pray for — their recovery to go quickly after their appendix bursts — but God wants us to pray for issues and problems that only He can see — like the medical bills that will come later.
Discernment, since it comes from the Holy Spirit, doesn’t pay attention to outward signs. Discernment doesn’t care who’s wearing black and looking gothic and who is sobbing in apparent repentance. The Holy Spirit is only looking at the heart.
At any stage in Christian development, this can be difficult to practice because we’ve spent our lives being trained to “read” people and feel sorry for the sobbing woman. But as a Christian grows, the Holy Spirit’s leading is easier to hear and Godly discernment comes more easily.
Thankfully, Spiritual Discernment is a journey on which God is continually showing us Grace.