In my last post I looked at basing our discernment upon the heart rather than outward appearances. Now I want to look at how walking closely to Jesus helps us to accurately discern.
Many of us pray Ephesians 1:17 asking for ‘the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.’ What does this have to do with discernment? A great deal. Wisdom and revelation about Him, in context, is actually about the Father. To know the Father is to know Jesus and the Spirit. Further, wisdom and revelation about Jesus is more than information about Him, it is an encounter with Him. It is a pulling back of the veil over our hearts so that we can encounter more of His heart. It can be painful if our heart is not aligned with His heart.
So what happens if we have this prayer answered? If we receive a revelation of His heart we know how He feels about us, which brings release and freedom, and as our ear gets near to His heart we can also know how His heart beats for others!
Seem too simple? Perhaps it is analogous to the idea that ‘Christianity has not being tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.’ That is obviously a generalization but we live in a culture that denies the power and place of suffering and sacrifice. I’m not suggesting pursuing suffering, I am suggesting that if we deeply follow Jesus we will walk in some difficult places with Him, yet He will be with us through them and as we pursue His heart we will find His grace is sufficient. We will understand our own need for the cross and His grace and be more willing to extend it to others. We will become passionate and compassionate carriers of His heart and our discernment will greatly deepen. After all, not only does faith work through love (Gal. 5:6) so too does discernment.
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, Philippians 1:9 (NKJV)
The Greek word translated as discernment refers to insight, perception, discernment and judgment – in the sense of being able to rightly judge something. So, if we want deeper discernment let us pray for the spirit of wisdom and revelation with a renewed understanding.