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Spiritual Gifts: Discernment

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Spiritual Gift of Discernment in Scripture:

1 Corinthians 12:10 - "He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said." NLT

2 Timothy 3:8 - "Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected." NIV

2 Thessalonians 2:9 - "This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles." NLT

2 Peter 2:1 - "But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves." NLT

1 John 4:1 - "Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world." NLT

1 Timothy 1:3 - "When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth." NLT

1 Timothy 6:3 - "Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life." NLT

Acts 16:16-18 - "One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a demon-possessed slave girl. She was a fortune-teller who earned a lot of money for her masters. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.” This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And instantly it left her." NIV

What is the Spiritual Gift of Discernment?

If you have the spiritual gift of discernment you will be able to tell the difference between right and wrong. People with this spiritual gift have the ability to look at something in a way that weighs whether it fits in with God's intentions. Discernment means looking beyond the surface of what's being said or taught or written to find the truth in it. Some people liken the spiritual gift of discernment to "gut instinct," because sometimes discerning people just get a feeling when something's not quite right.

This gift is very important today when there are so many different teachings and people claiming to be close to God. People with this gift help keep each of us, our churches, our teachers, etc. on track. However, there is a tendency for those with the spiritual gift of discernment to feel they are always right. Pride is a huge hurdle for those with this gift. Discerning people many times have to put their pride aside and go into prayer to be sure their "gut" is actually God's intentions and not just their own judgement clouding things.

Is the Gift of Discernment My Spiritual Gift?

Ask yourself the following questions. If you answer "yes" to many of them, then you may have the spiritual gift of discernment:

  • Do you often look at situations and just know whether or not they are God's intentions?
  • Do you feel a sense of responsibility in helping people see right from wrong?
  • When you listen or read something about God or faith-based issues and immediately know when it's false teaching?
  • Do you spend time learning the scripture so that you know when the Holy Spirit is leading you?
  • Are you a good judge of character?
  • When you sense something is wrong, are you usually right in your assessment?

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