What comes to your mind when you hear the word, “discernment”? Does sound a lot like judgement? If so, I have good news for you. Discernment and judgement are not the same thing. If anything, it is on the opposite side of the same coin. With discernment, you are asking questions and sometimes interpreting what you’re sensing.
With judgement, you are not asking questions. No, you are making a decision on what you are seeing or hearing. Often times, it is based on what you know. Whereas, discernment requires humility for one simple reason. Would you be asking questions if you already made a decision? I don’t think so. Do you?
Would you like to learn how to practice discernment in a healthy way that is quite biblical? How so? Keep reading. I’ll be giving you some practical tips in how Jesus helped me in discerning the truth in certain situations. Am I talking about discerning spirits? Keep reading and you’ll find out.
Before you go charging after that bait of a question, there is something you should know. The gift of discernment is not a one-size fits all. There are a few different levels of discernments Yes, I am talking about both natural discernment and spiritual discernment. For a touch of spice, we are not clones of each other.
Each human beings have his or her own quirks and method for taking in information. Guess what is not going to operate exactly the same way for everyone else? Yes, I am talking about both natural discernment and spiritual discernment. For this reason, I can only share how it works for me.
Because I am visually impaired and have a severe hearing loss, my ability to discern things is going to operate in a very different fashion than someone without my physical limitations. It’s why I had to develop my spiritual senses to compensate for my weaknesses. Let’s get on with the rest of the article. Shall we?
Let’s start with natural discernment. If you don’t know, I produce contents on three platforms. I don’t just write articles for my blog site. I will later turn this post into an audio podcast that you can hear on your favorite podcasting platform. Both of these endeavors are doing quite well and they have the potential for growth.
What about my third platform? How is it related to discernment? The third platform is my YouTube channel. I actually created the channel in 2013 and started posting videos to it in 2015. I had a sporadic history with posting videos to that channel. I only became serious about creating YouTube videos in January 2022.
I notice that my YouTube channel has not been enjoying the same level of growth as the other two platforms. I am a firm believer that the Holy Spirit is quite capable of directing me in the way to go. The Holy Spirit brought to mind what I’ve learned from the crew on VidIQ, Think Media, and others. If you have 100 videos, it is a good idea to sort your videos by popular views.
I sorted my 87 videos and made an amazing discovery. My top four videos are ones made in 2015. These four videos are nothing like what I have been making. They were in the neighborhood of 100 views. Recalling what I’ve learned from Derral Ewe’s “YouTube Formula”, I felt prompted to do a deep dive into the analytics.
In the process, I made a bigger discovery. I didn’t just do bible teachings. I created a variety of videos that fell within the theme of Christianity. For me, the most popular videos are the ones where I’m sharing my thoughts with the audience. It’s very different from what I do on my blog site.
If you missed it, here is how discernment comes into play in the above story. I began this adventure by asking Jesus about what’s happening with my YouTube channel and asked questions of the data provided in my YouTube analytics. I approached it with a spirit of humility and a willingness to learn and react to what I’m seeing.
The revelation of the data isn’t the only thing that happened. God helped me to go a lot deeper than what mere data can tell me. How about what is in my heart and underlying beliefs? Why was I so sporadic in my video posting? I suffered from a serious lack of confidence and thought no one cared. It didn’t help that I had a lot of other problems.
Jesus was helping me in confronting my own negative attitude and beliefs. I am grateful that Jesus did this and set me free. Yes, God could have just told me. The problem is, I needed to get a fuller picture of what is really happening. For this, I will praise God for what he has done for me.
What about spiritual discernment? This type of discernment is very different from natural discernment because it requires that your spirit to be alive in Christ. It is the Holy Spirit that gives life to our spirit. Spiritual discernment is not something we can do in our own strength. You can try; however, your own strength won’t yield the full result of what’s done in God’s strength.
The above is just the first step. Here’s the second one and it should sound familiar. I am assuming that you read the above illustration. Spiritual discernment centers on the following questions. What is God saying about this situation? What does the Scriptures say? Is this thing of God, Man or demons? How can I apply this biblical principle to what’s happening?
How are these questions to be answered? For one, it really does help to be reading your Bible, on a regular basis. Perhaps, you are like me and reading can be tedious. Because I’m nearsighted, it takes a lot longer to read text on my Kindle app. There’s a very simple solution and it’s called an audio Bible. I can both read larger text and listen to the audio version on my tablet or phone.
Daily Bible reading is just an entry-level step-in learning spiritual discernment. If you want to unlock your Bible then you need the gift of the Holy Spirit and prayer. Don’t be afraid to talk to Jesus about what you are reading or hearing on the audio. You may hear a quiet voice answering your questions or you may be prompted to hop online do some research.
There is a third step and it will help you with the above step. How do I know if I am hearing from God or my own thoughts? This question is very legit and here is the answer. I’ll answer in three parts. It is okay to ask the Holy Spirit, “Where is that in Scriptures? Could you please confirm that?” Jesus did say that the Holy Spirit will bring to mind what Jesus has already said.
These words can be found in the Word of God. It doesn’t just stop there. I’ve had occasions where the Holy Spirit had prompted me to check my Strong’s Concordance or look up an interlinear Bible. If you approach God in a spirit of humility, you will discover that God is not afraid of your questions.
Here’s the second part to the answer and it requires that you read the Bible. I’m talking about learning God’s character. The key is to learn God’s heart on the issues and not just what’s written. For this, you need to cultivate a prayer life and draw closer to God. Ask Jesus to reveal the Father’s heart in what you’re reading or seeing? It’s done by praying in your native tongue and in your prayer language (tongues).
This part takes time and you will make mistakes. I know because I’ve done that, too. Here’s the fun part. You will never stop learning. You will simply learn to grow and take risk in walking out your journey of faith. As always, I’d encourage you to talk about to Jesus about what you’re reading or listening to. Our reliance needs to be on what God is saying; not Man.
The last part is the hardest one to learn. It is about God’s purpose. I do believe in God’s sovereignty and that we each have free will. As Christians, we get to choose to cooperate with God’s purpose or not. Guess what? You need to follow through with the above two parts before diving into the third part.
It’s hard to discern God’s purpose if you don’t spend time in God’s Word. Reading the Scriptures will not help if you don’t develop a relationship of prayer and worship. You can begin to learn about God’s purpose by spending time in God’s Word and talking to Jesus about what you’re reading.
What about seeing in the spirit realm? I do not have this spiritual gift and I’m not keen on literally seeing demons. Though I do like the idea of seeing angels. However, I don’t obsess over it. I am just simply aware of it.
If you would like to learn more about it then I’d recommend Blake Healy’s book. He does have the gift and he share some very good point in this book and the second one, called “Indestructible”.
You don’t have to want to see in the supernatural to benefit from reading this book or the second one. The key is, “KEEP YOUR EYES ON JESUS!”
If you prefer the audio then you can click on the “Free audiobook from Audible. It’s a 30 day free trial that comes with a free 1 credit. It’s $15 after the first 30 days.
I trust that this article has been of help to you. My goal in writing this article is to point you in the direction of developing a trusting relationship with God, the Father and learning to trust the Holy Spirit to lead you and direct you. I hope this helps you to not be afraid of discernment. It is a wonderful tool that needs to be handled in a correct manner.
2 thoughts on “How Do We Practice Discernment?”
Great exposition on discernment and Judgement.
To me discernment makes me think that you are to learn the meaning of something that you are being shown.