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"Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?"

1 Kings 3:9 (KJV)


Discernment is an overlooked spiritual discipline in many churches. But in reality, spiritual discernment should be our first line of defense against deception. It's that "buzzer" inside, warning you that something is wrong.

For example, you visit someone's home and everything appears in order. But you can cut the air with a knife. Even though nothing visible confirms it, your spirit detects that something is wrong in that home.

The first step to understanding discernment is to understand the motive which is essential for employing it. In 1 Kings 3:9, Israel's king Solomon cried out to God for help. God answers: "Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee." (verses 11, 12).

The motive for true discernment is never to promote self, to amass personal gain, or to secure an advantage over another person--even an enemy.

The Greek word for discernment-- diakrino --simply means to make a judgment or a distinction. Discernment has one primary function: to distinguish right from wrong.

In 1 Corinthians 12:10 discernment is the divinely enabled ability to distinguish a good spirit from a bad spirit.

Discernment is not a function of the mind; it's a function of the Holy Spirit which is in union with your soul/spirit.

When the Spirit sounds a warning, your mind may not be able to perceive what's wrong.

Have the courage to acknowledge that something is wrong when your spirit is troubled.

Share what you are sensing with others, and ask the Lord for wisdom.


Thank You, Father, for the discernment Your Holy Spirit provides. Without You I couldn't avoid the land mines the enemy places in my path. I want to be closer to You in meditating Your Word and in prayer so my wisdom will increase by Your grace. I pray to You, in Jesus Name, Amen.

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