My pastor delivered a great message this past Sunday about the spiritual gift of discernment. I was blessed by it, and I want to turn around and bless you by further explanation and revelation of this fantastic gift. To discern, means: to recognize, distinguish, or separate.
Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 10…Paul is talking about our spiritual gifts. If you are a child of God, then you have a spiritual gift custom made just for you, given by the Holy Spirit…
“He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit.”
Isn’t that an awesome gift? It’s the ability to differentiate between right and wrong. The Bible says that if we want wisdom all we have to do is ask…Not knowledge, but the ability to make wise decisions. As Christians, we don’t have to try and feel our way around in the dark, hoping we can get to the right destination. In Ephesians 1:17-18, Paul prays for spiritual wisdom:
“I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light, so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he has called-holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.”
God speaks to us in remarkable ways – through the written Word, through others, through circumstances…etc. But it’s up to us pay attention and to be alert. Do you remember the story of Peter and Cornelius in the book of Acts? If you don’t…I’ll summarize: Cornelius was a Roman Army Officer…he was a Gentile. To the Jews, Gentiles were often seen as “unclean” people. The Bible tells us that Cornelius was a devout, God-fearing man who gave generously to the poor, and prayed regularly to God. One afternoon, Cornelius had a vision. It was a vision of an angel who instructed him to go to the town of Joppa, and summon a man named Simon Peter. The angel told him exactly where to find him. So Cornelius sent his messengers to go get Peter…
As Cornelius’ messengers were nearing the town, the Bible says…”Peter went up on the flat roof to pray. It was about noon, and he was hungry. But while a meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners. In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds. Then a voice said to him, “Get up Peter; kill and eat them.” ‘No, Lord,’ Peter declared. ‘I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean.’ But the voice spoke again. “Do not call something unclean that God has made clean.” The same vision was repeated three times. Then the sheet was suddenly pulled up to heaven.”
Peter was perplexed, and wondered what the vision could have meant. The Bible tells us, at that very moment the Holy Spirit told Peter that three men were downstairs looking for him and that he should go with them. The Holy Spirit told Peter not to worry, because He had sent them.
You can read the rest of the story in Acts 10. But, wow…isn’t it amazing what Peter saw? That vision was God telling Peter that he should not look upon the Gentile people as inferior. Being a Jew, before seeing this vision, Peter just assumed that a Roman (a gentile) couldn’t become a follower of Christ.
Look at us now…2000 years later! All of us non-Jews (gentiles) are now redeemed by the blood of Jesus. God made it clear that the Good News of Christ is for everyone! We can’t allow barriers-language, culture, race -to keep us from telling others about Christ.
Anyway, this post is getting too long. But I believe the Holy Spirit is prompting me to delve further into the spiritual gifts. Here’s the plan…there’s more I want to tell you about discernment (different examples in the Bible), then one by one, we’ll get into each spiritual gift:)