Do you have a spirit of discernment? Have you ever got got by a counterfeit dude? Happens to the best of us. I slipped up quite a few times. I attribute those times to having a lack of spiritual discernment. Discernment is defined as the ability to distinguish between good and evil, real and fake. It is the gateway to wisdom and is built through trial and error.
Much like building muscle, we have to endure training to strengthen our spiritual discernment. That training almost always requires uncomfortable experiences with the wrong people. Back when I thought I was ready to be in a relationship, I certainly encountered my share of wrong people. Just as God sends people our way, so does the enemy.
For this reason, we are to test the spirits to see whether they are from God (1 John 4:1, NIV). When we don’t take heed to this admonition, or lack the spiritual maturity to do so, practice is what we get to do. I found myself on the receiving end of practice more times than I care to remember. However, with experience comes understanding and I want to share 3 ways I’ve learned to build a strong spirit of discernment.
1. Listen to your intuition.
If by instinct something appears or just feels off with a dude, it more than likely is and you’re always the first to know. There were numerous times I felt something was off about someone I was involved with, yet, I ignored or rationalized my gut feeling just to have him there.
That feeling, that alert to be cautious and pace myself was my intuition trying to warn me of the danger and heartache that was staring me in the face. Our intuition is that built-in defense mechanism that God embedded deep within our being to communicate with us.
Take a look at that word intuition for a second. Right in the middle of it are the letters “U” and “I.” I like to believe that is because we live in Him and He in us(1 John 4:13, GWT).
With soft, still whispers, He speaks from the depths of our souls to protect us from the threat of what we do not know or see. Never compromise truth by overriding signs, warnings, and red flags just to fill a void. It could lead to devastating, life-altering consequences.
2. Don’t be so quick to reject what’s in front of you because it reminds you of your past.
Just like you need a spirit of discernment to know what to trash, you also need it to know what to treasure. Some people are so quick to discard anything that reminds them of where they’ve been and who they’ve been with, especially when the memories are unpleasant.
When past wounds are left unhealed, some people are unable to distinguish a present-day blessing from a yesterday’s lesson. That’s why it’s important to take the lessons and release everything else. How sad it is to come face-to-face with a blessing from the Lord and not even recognize it.
One of the greatest tactics of the enemy is to make you forfeit what God meant for you to touchdown with. God’s blessings can often be scary and intimidating. However, you must be able to discern the difference between a past disappointment and a future appointment so you don’t miss out on what’s supposed to be yours.
3. Pray for a strong discernment.
The Bible instructs us to pray without ceasing and pray about everything. The consequences of the decisions I made in my life schooled me. As a result, I learned to pray whenever someone new came along. I didn’t want to waste my time, lose my peace, or invest heavily into someone who wasn’t mine. I’d ask God to show me any deception that I needed to see. In response, He’d reveal exactly what I needed to know to make better decisions.
Never be afraid to ask God for wisdom. He gives it to us freely with no judgement. In Hosea 4:6, God said, my people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge. We must get wisdom above anything else.
Sharp discernment is necessary for spiritual growth in the kingdom of God. It is indicative of our maturity as Christians.
Just as we start out as babies and don’t remain that way, God expects us to grow from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity. Having a spirit of discernment is apart of that maturity.
In order to grow into who God has called us to be, we must be willing to undergo the training necessary to get us there. Even if it has to hurt sometimes.
Hebrews 5:14 (AMP) puts it this way, solid food is for the spiritually mature, whose senses are trained by practice to distinguish between what is morally good and what is evil. As the scripture says, practice trains our senses. How can you be sufficient at anything without practice?
How quickly you’re able to discern who or what is good and evil determines the extent of your practice. You never really fail a test in God’s kingdom. You simply repeat it with one much more intense than the one that preceded it.
I challenge you to put your senses to the test. Don’t be afraid to keep what is good nor throw back what is evil.