GODLY DISCERNMENT (Updated)
God does not wish us to be burdened by the task of discerning, rather He has gifted us with discernment as a means of alleviating our burdens. (ref. Matt. 11:25-30)
Questions regarding godly discernment
Sadly, the spiritual gift of godly discernment is observably the least exercised spiritual gift in the modern community of faith.
Those who do exercise this gift are often accused of being divisive, critical, unspiritual. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Because we have quenched the fire of the gift of discernment among us we are now reaping delusion in the body of faith on both a local and global scale.
We have an individual and corporate moral obligation in Messiah to repent of our sin in disarming those among us who have attempted to warn us through godly discernment, and we have a Biblical moral imperative to begin to encourage and elevate the practice of the gift of godly discernment within both the local and wider body of the King Messiah Yeshua.
1. Why is godly discernment so important today?
First let’s make a discernment, and distinguish between discernment and godly discernment.
Distinction, distinguish, judge, taste, insight, perception, awareness and wisdom are all synonyms of discernment, each of which inform our understanding of discernment.
Discernment is defined as "the ability to judge well".
Godly Discernment is defined as "Making a right judgement according to God's Spirit"
Intellect and human sight alone cannot be relied on to discern spiritual matters.
Yeshua (Jesus) says:
"Do not judge by mere appearances, but make a right judgment." -John 7:24
Godly discernment is the practice of godly judgement and is available to every believer through Yeshua according to the indwelling of God's Spirit and a disciplined knowledge of His written Word (the Bible, TaNaKh & HaBrit HaChadashah).
In the present chaos of this world believers are finding themselves in a position where they must make life changing decisions concerning issues for which an abundance of information exists, but have no clear indication of how they should move forward.
In such circumstances intellectual rational alone is of little help. We require spiritual help from the One Who sees the unseen and knows the hearts, minds and hidden agendas of humanity as well as the workings of the spiritual forces that influence us.
Practically speaking, in many cases within the fallen world, we are being offered false choices based on two opposing options, while God reveals a third option that exposes both seemingly "rational" choices and proves them to be counterfeit.
We see in part, He is all seeing (Proverbs 15:3), we know in part, He is all knowing (1 John 3:20). Therefore, we are foolish to base our decisions on human vision and intellect alone. Instead we are challenged to employ our sight and intellect in submission to God's Spirit and the gift of discernment that He imparts, rather than relying on our own, often flawed human discernment (Romans 8:5).
In matters of discernment, information and the source of it is of primary importance.
Information is not synonymous with truth. It must be interpreted and discerned. We live in an age of an overabundance of information from mainstream and alternative sources, but the majority of these sources are of fallen human origin or are gleaned from the airways (media) and influenced by the spirit of the air (Ephesians 2:2) rather than being from God.
Ultimately the only reliable source of information is God Himself through Yeshua. He has given us access to the most reliable source of information in this world, His Word both living (John 1) and written (TaNaKh, HaBrit HaChadashah), illuminated by the present help of His Spirit.
Today far too many believers are making emotional decisions based on fleshly (fallen human) thoughts and desires, often fuelled by ungodly fears. Our failure to effectively abide in Messiah, in God, in His Word (Bible) is resulting in mass delusion and an inability to comprehend the spiritual forces at work in our midst.
False choices are being presented by spiritual leaders who are often well meaning but sadly are nonetheless guilty of unnecessarily dividing the body of believers. Many of these false choices seem godly but are in fact born of the fallen nature and merely disguised in a form of godliness (2 Timothy 3:5).
One such example is the present debate concerning vaccines, another is the debate regarding political freedom. These two examples alone have become distractions that have taken the eyes of believers off Yeshua and away from the important work of the Kingdom of God.
At present two satanic emissaries are fighting for the hearts and minds of Messiah followers. The deity of False Freedom is battling the deity of Socialist Fascism and the prize they seek is the deluding of the minds of weak and undiscerning people.
When we make "Freedom" our god we show our disregard for the God of freedom. Anarchists masquerading as Libertarians herding gullible Conservatives, ultimately seek freedom devoid of accountability, built on vain conspiracy. They are sirens of moral decay trading one form of tyranny for another. Counterfeit freedom is the brother of bondage. In practice, "the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness" is a pursuit of three false deities, Temporal Life, False Liberty, and Fading Emotionalism. But the freedom gifted of God in the King Messiah Yeshua transcends all temporal chains.
The Good News is this, if we return to God's Word, both Living (the King Messiah Yeshua) and written (Bible), and turn away from the voices of the air (satanic voices [Ephesians 2:2]), we will be found among those whose homes are filled with light when the coming darkness descends (Ex. 10:22-23; Matt. 24:4-14; 2 Thess. 2:3-4).
2. What does the Bible teach about godly discernment?
Deuteronomy 4:1-10 teaches that:
Godly discernment is found in God's Instruction (the Bible) and keeps us safe. Failure to consistently abide in His Word results in a lack of godly discernment.
Hebrews 4:12 teaches that:
Godly discernment relies on God’s Word both written and living, and is able to divide indivisible things.
Q: Are you reading His written Word the Bible daily? If not, how do you expect to recognize what is Biblically moral and what is not?
1 Kings 3:7-12 teaches that:
Godly discernment helps us to govern (ourselves and others).
Ezra 8:16 teaches that:
Godly discernment is a collective responsibility. We are reliant on both God and each other in matters of discernment.
Q: Do you have godly mentors in your life whom you can seek out for counsel? If not, how might you develop friendships with godly believers? If you are an elder in the faith, how might you develop friendships with younger believers in order to mentor them?
Psalm 53:1-4 teaches that:
Those who disbelieve God lack godly discernment, are corrupt and seek to harm God's people.
Proverbs 3:21-26 teaches that:
Godly discernment must be observed and acted on.
Q: Do you know what you should say or do but fail to act on it out of ungodly fear? Act!
Proverbs 10:13 teaches that:
God disciplines those who lack discernment.
Daniel 5:14 teaches that:
Divine discernment is available only to the chosen of God.
Q: In Messiah am I owning my identity as a child of God?
1 Corinthians 2:14-15 & 1 Corinthians 11:31 teach that:
Godly discernment is of God's Spirit and not of the human nature. A believer who relies on God's Spirit to judge his motives is not swayed by the false judgements he makes of himself nor the false judgements others make concerning him. Therefore, the one who relies on God’s Spirit at work in him is able to discern seemingly undiscernible things.
Q: Are you relying on your intellect alone or are you submitting your intellect to God’s Spirit?
1 Corinthians 14:29 teaches that:
Godly discernment is required in order to judge the words of prophets within the body of faith.
Q: Do you presume that a believer with a prophetic gift always speaks of God’s Spirit, or do you test everything according to the command of Scripture? (1 Thess. 5:19-21)
1 Corinthians 12:10 teaches that:
The Holy Spirit gift of discernment distinguishes between spiritual forces and sees unseen things.
Q: Do you seek God’s help by His Spirit when faced with seemingly undiscernible things?
Colossians 1:8 explains that:
We are admonished to be discerning so as not to be lead astray.
1 John 4:1 teaches that:
Godly discernment tests spirits.
1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 teaches that:
Godly discernment tests everything and holds on to what is good.
Q: Do you test everything against Scripture as revealed in the Holy Spirit through Messiah?
1 Corinthians 12:13 teaches that:
Godly discernment affirms the authority and deity of Yeshua (YHVH with us) the King Messiah (Imanu – with us, El – God).
3. What does Yeshua (Jesus) teach about godly discernment?
In John 5:30 we read:
“I can do nothing on My own. Just as I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, for I do not seek My own will, but the will of the One who sent Me.” TLV
Yeshua teaches that godly discernment listens to and hears from God and does not seek self as the source of distinguishing between truth and error.
In John 8:15-16 we read:
“You judge according to the flesh, but I do not judge anyone. Yet even if I do judge, My judgment is true, because it is not I alone but I with the Father who sent Me.” TLV
Yeshua teaches that godly discernment does not judge according to the fallen nature.
In Mathew 11:25-30 we read:
“At that time Yeshua said in response, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and discerning and revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was pleasing to You. “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and ‘you will find rest for your souls.’ For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” TLV
Yeshua teaches that godly discernment is revealed to infants while intellectual giants fail to comprehend it. He further teaches that the weight of godly discernment is light. God does not wish us to be burdened by the task of discerning, rather He has gifted us with discernment as a means of alleviating our burdens.
In Matthew 7:13-20 we read:
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” “Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes aren’t gathered from thorn bushes or figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree produces good fruit, but the rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will recognize them by their fruit.” TLV
Yeshua teaches that godly people can be discerned based on their fruit, both its type and its condition.
4. How does the discernment of God's Spirit differ from human discernment, which relies on human intellect alone?
We have already been given the answer to this question in the preceding Scriptures:
These are just a few of the many ways godly discernment differs from the discernment of human intellect and rational philosophy.
5. What practical things can I put in place in order to be more discerning both spiritually and intellectually?
The acronym R.I.T.E.S is a good start:
R - Repent of intellectual arrogance and choose to Rely on God
I - be Intentional about daily Scripture reading and prayer
T -Turn away from unreliable sources of information
E - Enter into dialogue with godly people
S - Submit all decisions to God through Messiah Yeshua in the power of His Holy Spirit
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
Copyright 2021 Yaakov Brown
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Founder of the Beth Melekh International Messiah Following Jewish Community,