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A Discerning Spirit

by Denise McDowell

My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.

For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; Proverbs 2:1-7

At one time or another, everyone feels confused, uncertain, or misled. When that happens, we can live victoriously and confidently only by possessing spiritual discernment, the ability to see life from God’s perspective. We need His help to distinguish between right and wrong, good and best, truth and error.

Each day we make many decisions, some trivial, others critical. The Lord doesn’t want us to form judgments based on mere appearance or human reasoning. But the world is so full of deceptive information that we, on our own, couldn’t know what to believe. And so God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us see the reality of each situation as He does.

We can fully trust the Lord with our relationships as well. Since He knows every person’s heart, the only way we can wisely interact with others is to be sensitive to the leading of God’s Spirit within us.

Although the Father gives each of His children the capacity for spiritual discernment, many Christians are unaware of it. They stumble through life, doing the best they can, but fail to use this wonderful provision. Others may not think they need it. They make choices according to their own knowledge and reasoning, never giving the Lord a second thought. Unless we cooperate with God in the development of His gift of discernment, it will lie dormant within us.

A discerning spirit begins with a humble, teachable attitude. If you’ve been handling decisions, situations, and relationships through your own wisdom, confess this to God. Then ask for His perspective and search His Word for direction. Your wisdom will grow, and discernment will protect you. Denise McDowell, 2018

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