1 Corinthians 12:10 (NIV)
To another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues
This week’s spirit gift is the gift of discernment. The definition of discernment is to clearly distinguish truth from error by judging whether the behavior or teaching is from God, Satan, human error, or human power. Another source defined it as the ability to understand the origin of spiritual occurrences.
Consider the following:
Today’s scripture identifies several spiritual gifts, one which is discernment — distinguishing between spirits. According to umc.org, “discernment is a gift of deep intuition and insight. Discerning people can separate truth from fiction and know at a visceral level when people are being honest. Deeply sensitive and “tuned in,” those with the gift of discernment are open to feelings, new ideas, and intuition as valid and credible information. Discernment is not irrational, but trans-rational (i.e., experience that does not readily fit into standard cause and effect logical structure)—beyond empirical—knowledge.” Before we continue, I want everyone to know that there is a difference between intuition and discernment. Intuition is the ability to immediately understand something based on feeling without reasoning, and it is something that everyone possesses. On the contrary, discernment being a spiritual gift, is something that not everyone has. Furthermore, research postulates that women have more intuition than men due to estrogen and use of right hemisphere of the brain, which is needed for perception based on feeling. However, discernment is equally available and given to both men and women. The Biblical scriptures 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, 1 John 4:1, 2 Peter 1:3, Hebrews 5:14, summarize discernment to be the following: Discernment is a GIFT based on our seeking KNOWLEDGE and deeper understanding of the Word of God. Discernment is a prerogative of a mature believer (it comes with spiritual maturity – knowing and understanding God’s truth, it is different from intuition that is based on feeling). Discernment saves a believer from false prophets, wrong teaching and headache of being tossed around, because he/she is able to “discern” half-truths and outright lies. Discernment is how we know what is Good and what is Evil based on God’s word, not based on what we FEEL (like the world does) or told by the world.