Everyday Discernment: The Importance of Spirit-led Decision Making


How Discernment is Acquired?

Discernment is not something to be obtained by completing a checklist or improving your head knowledge. Discernment takes practice, and it takes development. Discernment takes success and failure in order to grow. Discernment can be used in an instant with the power of the Holy Spirit and can take a lifetime to refine. At no point as Christians are we flawless in our discernment. We continue to strive to be like Jesus who was the perfect example to us. 

The number one place we have to look to for discernment is the Bible. It is the infallible Word of God that weaves a tapestry of redemptive grace through the history of mankind. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.” Jeremiah 15:16 says, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and heart’s delight.” 

 Another source of discernment is using the wisdom of people around us that God has put in our lives. This could include pastors, parents, mentors, friends, and yes, even spouses. We should never get to the point where we don’t need advice from others. We can listen to what anyone says, but that doesn’t mean we need to follow it. If the advice is relevant, aligns with the Bible, and would be helpful to our lives, then we would be foolish not to take it.  

The last source of discernment that I want to address is the Holy Spirit. Once the Holy Spirit fills us, we have access to the power of God inside us. Jesus told His disciples that “the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what to say” (Luke 12:12). Paul tells Timothy to “guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you-guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit in us” (2 Tim. 1:14).

The Holy Spirit was given to us for God’s purposes and not ours. Jesus, in the book of John, also calls the Holy Spirit the “Spirit of Truth” (v. 16:13), and we are told that Jesus will be glorified through the Spirit’s work (v. 16:14). The Holy Spirit is not subjective to our will; we are subjective to His. Since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, we can use the Spirit to discern what is true versus what is false.

Which of these three areas (The Bible, Godly relationships, and The Holy Spirit) do you need to utilize more for your growth in discernment?

What are some practical steps in how you can develop discernment in the above area?