Hebrews 5:14 speaks of exercising one’s senses of discernment. Discernment is often defined as the spiritual characteristic of sound judgment to perceive the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and/or truth and error. The old English Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, has been noted for adding that discernment is “knowing the difference between right and almost right.” Such description includes the ability to identify God’s will and direction for one’s life.
Philippians 1:10 describes discernment as approving things that are excellent. Romans 12:2 alludes to proving what is good, acceptable, and perfect. However, this cannot be accomplished without the Holy Spirit. 1Corinthians 2:14 reminds us that the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God without His aid. Considering Hebrews 5:14 there is an advantage to training one’s discerning ability by constant practice.
Let’s use an acrostic of the word “DISCERN” to offer keys to perceiving God’s will.
D - Decision: There comes an awareness through disruption, development, or discovery that a decision must be made. Step number one is acknowledging you need the insight and guidance of the Spirit of God (John 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:10).
I - Intercession: The scriptures make clear the priority of prayer and petition (Philippians 4; James 4; Matthew 7; etc.). There is no substitute for the personal pursuit of God. However, to fulfill the law of Christ we love one another, bear one another’s burdens, look after each other (John 13; Galatians 6; Philippians2), and solicit the prayers of others.
S - Survey: After we appeal to God in prayer we begin to watch and wait on God to work providentially in the matter. We carefully weigh the events of our life to see how God may be using circumstances and people to minister and edify. The greatest surveillance will be through the scriptures. As we seek God’s Will we must turn to the Word of God through which He will always speak (Ps. 119).
C- Communicate: To keep from deceiving ourselves it is prudent that we seek wise, godly, spiritual counsel. In such you can find safety, wisdom, and success (Proverbs 12:15; 11:14; 15:22; 19:20; Ps. 1). It is important to communicate with and involve those whom your decision will impact the most.
E - Empty: Empty yourself of your own will. Jesus even taught us to pray “Not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). To know the heart and mind of God one needs to set aside our own preconceived notions.
R - Resolution: “God is light and in him is no darkness at all” ( 1 John 1:5b). God does not practice confusion but rather is a God of knowledge. He wills for you to know Him and follow Him. This process will climax; clarity will come; and confidence will be granted to resolve your search and know His will.
N - Necessity: Now is the time for you to be willing to take the necessary steps to fulfill what God is leading you to do. So often the word “immediately” is used in the scriptures to describe the response of obedience to God. The purpose of one’s discernment lies in the necessary reaction.
Bro. Bobby Stewart