The chief purpose of discernment is to separate flesh from spirit, death from life and the kingdoms of this world from the kingdom of God. Discernment is a beneficial gift. It is the wisdom and revelation of God and the function of a state of being - the state that is ours as new covenant daughters and sons. It is not necessarily associated with age or position. But it comes as a result of union with God, humility and the spirit of sonship.
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God’ Matt 5.8 NIV.
Spiritual discernment is associated with spiritual purity – which is to say and uncompromised commitment to Jesus. There is a reason why the poor in spirit ‘see’ God and see as God sees. Their vision is uncomplicated by extraneous loyalties.
Spiritual discernment is not identical with spiritual gifts like prophecy or words of knowledge. Many with these gifts do not have discernment even if they have specific words to share. But there is no reason why they cannot have more, if they ask for it and if they embrace the new covenant privilege of being a son of God. Poor discernment comes from a separation mindset and being insulated from genuine union with God by religion. Religion is a most subtle denier of living encounter because religions purports to be Godliness when it is not.
CONTECT AND MEANING
A word of knowledge may reveal a twig on the ground but not the nature of the forest. The significance of the twig is revealed by the context – the kind of forest and the twigs position in the forest. Discernment is an intense 'knowing,' that like a laser beam penetrates appearances, to reveal the real nature of what is happening in any situation.
Discernment cuts through appearance to the reality beneath. Sons will have discernment whereas the religious do not - not unless a mule talks to them or they are struck by a beam of light in their Damascus road.
Discernment is not found among the naive or the gullible. Spiritual discernment needs a place to land. Like an unadulterated commitment to Jesus no matter what, moderate intelligence and a reasonable degree of education. Its greatest facilitator is humility and the intention to follow Jesus wherever He may lead. Spiritual discernment is not nourished by ignorance and dogmatism. Neither is it imparted through old covenant institutions and culture. But it surfaces freely and bubbles up in the new wineskin of the Kingdom that produces mature Believers mentored personally by Jesus. The spirit of wisdom and revelation, the living word cuts through externality and appearance to reveal what is - whether it be bronze (of earth) or gold (of heaven). It is because the word of God is living that is separates life from death.
'For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart' Heb 4.12 NIV.
UN-DOERS OF DEATH
Spiritual babies do not have discernment but those who are mature sons may have it in abundance, rightly dividing appearance from substance. The gift of discernment, as with prophecy does not give the right to be rude. But it carries with it the responsibility to speak in the Lord's timing. It is not love to withhold discernment from other Believers when the nature of a condition is to immunize them against the fullness of Jesus, make them small, timid and dependent when they are really lions in Christ. Jesus does not create limitation and death. Kings and priests minister new creation life.
Don’t promote yourself as the Body of Christ if what you represent is the body of death.
DEATH VERSUS LIFE
Anything that is not Christ diminishes our being. The extent to which we embrace His stuff rather than JESUS HIMSELF is the degree to which a portion of our being is dead. God loves the church but He hates death. He reviles it in all its forms because He loves people and is life itself. God created humans to flourish in their bodies and to be embodied spirits. Fullness of being is seen in we humans when we live as sons of God and grow increasingly into this state; fullness is realized as we proceed from glory to glory in the image of Christ who is our life. Sons have discernment because Christ in them, transfused into their being. They are sons not workers, family not slaves, friends of a God who shares Himself with His priest-kings.
In Christ we have infinite potential as individuals and as the church. Advancing from glory to glory is a choice. Over thirty years ago I lived through painful and traumatic circumstances. It was through those events that I, a church goer and elder of the church, recognized that my relationship with Jesus was tiny and that what I had known was religion rather than Jesus. Flung at the foot of His cross by circumstances I began to get to know Him and consequently to know myself. Jesus made some striking revelations of Himself in this stage of my life. Today I don't regret that story at all. But I don't live from it either. Christ is my life and I live from Him alone.
Don’t expect to be discerning in the Spirit if you have divided loyalties like kidding yourself that you can be loyal to what you have always believed, to a ministry or a church – and to Christ. None in the Kingdom have two masters.
The revelation of Jesus is the revelation of our identity and our place in community. As painful as my experience was, I now recognize this period of my life as being exceptionally rich in its opportunity to move into intimacy with Jesus. Such experiences enable us to learn to live from His life - to live from His life so that we can have a real life of our own and be genuinely useful to Father. We, of course, only multiply His life when we are His life. Just believe and live in what He has gifted us with.
You can live as a son with authority that far exceeds that of religious scribes and routine adherents of the body of death. Press into a daily continued revelation. Press into what is ahead, leaving the past behind. Do not resist challenges to my mistaken beliefs or the wisdom that comes from those who share their discernment in Christ. Do not commit yourself to denial in order to perpetuate old saws and old covenant understandings that God left behind at the cross.
THAT WHICH IS AHEAD
There is an adventure every day and in the future that presents a new vista of truth that demolishes every 'practice of death' that masquerades as Godliness. Ensure that you are alive in the Body of Christ and are not comatose in the body of death.
Living and remaining in Him rather than in externals is the key to living in the light rather than in confusion. It’s not difficult to live in Him because He has already drawn you in and situated you in His fellowship with the trinity.
Discernment comes from purity and never from an adulterated gospel. Discernment is not legalism or judgment. Discernment is the opened eyes of our hearts to know what is not under Jesus' feet and what is. It is the ability to perceive that which has been given a 'sacredness’ that does not belong to it and to be absorbed into the real rather than into the package.
Some might ask, ‘Do you have the Son?’ Then again we may ask, ‘Does the Son have you?’
'Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life' 1 John 5.12 NIV.