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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Honing the Gift of Discernment

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Honing the Gift of Discernment

I have always been a trusting person... very trusting for that matter. This brought about a lot of stupid decisions which eventually made me accept that I lacked what the world calls "gut-feel". I had to go through several humbling experiences for me to finally realize that I needed discernment.
When I found out that I can ask spiritual gifts from God, the first thing I asked for was discernment, the second one was wisdom. I didn't know then that these two gifts are so closely related to each other; one can't exist without the other.
Let me define first, in my own words, what discernment and wisdom are.
Discernment is the ability to see the result of things even before it happens. It is being able to see the real characteristic of a person without knowing her too well. It is an inner knowing of what will be a better decision. It is knowing when the right timing is. It is the ability to sense a good or bad business deal or a partnership.
Wisdom is the ability to make good decisions. It is the knack for planning and strategizing in a very calculated way, to achieve the desired results. It is knowing when to plan and when to attack; when to stop and when to move; and when to be quiet and when to talk. Wisdom is the ability to make the best choice among different options.
With these definitions of discernment and wisdom, it is very clear that the two go together, side by side. Discernment comes as a result of wisdom and wisdom can't stand alone without discernment.
Honing the gift of discernment starts by seeking wisdom. Proverbs 9:10 says that the FEAR OF THE LORD IS THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM. This is where everything starts. Fear of the Lord is not being scared of an angry and fierce God but having high respect for a holy God. When you respect someone, you will do everything to please that person. So if we fear the Lord, then we will follow what He says in His Word.
God's Word is meant to lead us to the right path. It was instituted by God so that we know which road to follow. It was designed to make us wise. The more we get deeper in the Word, the wiser we become. The only way a believer can get deep in the Word is through intimacy with Jesus. The more intimate we become with Him, the more we will know Him, and the more we will be able to tap into His wisdom.
Intimacy with Jesus is developed through spending undivided time alone with Him, everyday, through prayer and study of His Word. This intimacy will make a believer sensitive to the Spirit of God. Developing this sensitivity to God's Spirit is the essence of discernment.
Honing the gift of discernment also entails having the right kind of people around you. These are people you can consult when you need to make major decisions, or when you need confirmation about a decision you have to make. Proverbs 11:4 says: In the multitude of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 15:22 further says: Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.
Be careful who you allow to be in your inner circle. These should be people who God ordained to be the closest to you. This includes your spouse (which means that if you are single, you have to be sure that the person you are intending to marry is from God and who His perfect will for you is) and immediate family members who are strong in the Lord. Take note of that! Not because a person is a family member means that he/she has to be in your inner circle.
Another way to hone the gift of discernment is to learn from your experience. Our failures are opportunities for us to make wiser decisions. Jeremiah 31:21 says: RETRACE YOUR STEPS, O VIRGIN ISRAEL. Look back at the failed relationships you've had, a failed ministry, a failed business, a stupid decision. Ask God to expose to you what you did wrong. Most of the times, these failures are deeper than it is. It may be an issue on hunger for acceptance, or an impatience issue, or lack of discipline. Knowing what your weak points and issues are will help you avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Honing the gift of discernment also comes as a result of knowing the Word of God, in all angles. Let me give you an example here. Hebrews 13:2 instructs us to show hospitality to strangers. If we just follow this Word without looking at other Scriptures, we may end up inviting a criminal to our home, endangering our entire family. Let us now look at another Scripture that will balance this out. Colossians 4:5 instructs us to behave ourselves wisely (living prudently and with discretion) in our relations with the outside world, making the very most of the time.
I truly believe that "balance" is a key factor of wisdom and discernment. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says: Be well balanced, be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring (in fierce hunger), seeking someone to seize upon and devour. God is a God of balance. For every Scripture we have in the Bible, there is something that balances it out, just like those two previous Scriptures: one was about entertaining strangers, the other one about being wise with our dealings with the outside world.
Another advice I can give you on how to hone the gift of discernment is to learn to wait patiently. Being still before God brings about tremendous benefits. It allows Him to reveal to you His deeper plans. Most of my stupid decisions came as a result of being too excited to jump into something. I was so busy thinking and moving that I didn't hear the voice of God clearly. 
When God spoke to Elijah, God's voice was not in the wind nor the earthquake nor the fire but in a STILL SMALL VOICE (1 Kings 19:11-13).


Finally, follow your spiritual instincts. (Of course this will only come as a result of spending time with God and His Word on a daily basis). You will know from the depths of your spirit if something is from God or not, and whether it is His perfect time or not.
Lisa Maki is the founder of God'z Gurlz, a Bible-based online magazine for women whose mission is to is to provide a place where women can learn to manage their emotions, experience healing, receive love and acceptance, be free to be who God made them to be, and be the best they can be in their homes, schools, professions, relationships, and calling, through sharing of insights and experiences, counseling, prayer, and devotionals, thereby learning from and supporting each other. For more of Lisa's articles, visit http://godzgurlz.com/ Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lisa_U_Maki  Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6710761



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