Riverside Community Church

Discernment

A comedian was being interviewed he was asked if he ever was at a loss for words. He hesitated a minute then said, "I dreamed I died and went to heaven. Just as I was taken before God, he sneezed...and I just didn’t know what to say to Him!" (can’t say God bless you!)

Ever been at a loss for words? Didn’t know what to say in a conversation or a situation? Or worse yet, you just started talking without careful thought and the words are just empty? We all get into these situations where we don’t know why somebody said what they said, you think what was their intention? Or we are puzzled at why somebody did what they did, we wonder what was their motivation.

Figuring out other people’s intentions, motivations or what they are really trying to say, what’s behind their words or actions etc. is very difficult at times. Understanding the situation that’s happening around you with clear perception is challenging, challenging to be spot on and in truth, wise.

The correct process to be able to read someone or understand a situation is called:   DISCERNMENT

It isn’t wisdom, wisdom is knowing what to do with what you have discerned. You may discern and still not act properly.

1 Kings 4:29 (NIV)

God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight (discernment), and a breadth of understanding (not shallow discernment but wide and deep discernment) as measureless as the sand on the seashore.

There are varying degrees of discernment, little discernment, great discernment. You may have some or half or a lot but Solomon was unequalled. God gave it to him.

There is an interesting verse from Proverbs that Solomon writes pointing out the discerning eye of a king (himself).

 

Proverbs 20:8

8 When a king sits on his throne to judge,
    he winnows out all evil with his eyes.

He discerns the good and the bad, the intent, or motivations with his eye? Note body language, tone, words, their eyes etc. Solomon observed all of these and discerned.

Your subconscious actually sees, hears, smells, tastes, and senses everything going on around you. IT DOES NOT MISS ANYTHING. It doesn’t ever forget anything, either. But your conscious brain can’t handle all of these experiences at once, so your subconscious brain interprets which ones are important and sends those to your conscious mind for you to experience

King Solomon was given great discernment; let’s see how he handled one situation:

1 Kings 3:16-28                  SUMMARIZE VS 16-21

Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. 18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.

19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. 20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”

22 The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.”

But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.

23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”

24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”

26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”

But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”

27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”

28 When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.

What was going on in Solomon’s court?

Solomon sat there, heard the 2 women’s testimony/complaint

  • He gathered the facts, note the facts may be true or false
  • He discerned, he observed with a depth of understanding

                 (maybe Solomon wasn’t sure who was the mother, somebody was lying and maybe he couldn’t tell)

Have you ever been in that situation? Lean on God as all wisdom comes from God

  • With God’s leading he set a test  & WISDOM TOOK OVER
  • the answer became obvious

 

This perception (discernment) comes without judgement (remember judge not), comes without judgement with a view to obtain guidance and understanding.

CHRISTIAN DISCERNMENT

OBJECTIVES

· To achieve a shared understanding of the basic principles of discernment.

· To understand its applications to our secular and spiritual circumstances.

· To realize and accept the object of discernment, which is God’s plan for us

 within His perfect will.

FOUNDATION VERSE

“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:1-2 RSV).

PREREQUISITES TO DISCERNMENT

a) Offering of one’s self

b) Not conforming to the world

c) Transformation through renewal of the mind

DEFINITION OF DISCERNMENT

a) “Discern” comes from the Latin word “discernere” meaning “to sift, distinguish”

b) “Disciple” comes from the Latin word “discere” meaning “to learn, follow”

c) A process where prayer needs to happen, an openness to God

d) A process where one’s relationship with God becomes a partnership,

         where you are seeking God’s will, God’s discernment & God’s wisdom

PURPOSES OF DISCERNMENT

To discover the universal Will of God

To discover the personal Will of God (plan)

To discover what is good, true, honorable, acceptable and even perfect

 in ourselves, even in others and in our circumstances

As a Christian discernment (which comes from God along with wisdom) is found in the Word, the Bible and through God’s Spirit which can lead us into all truth.

CHALLENGES

a) Recall a discerning circumstance that in retrospect was right on. How did you make it? What factors did you weigh? Who did you consult?

b) Now recall a discernment that you now regret. What was the process by which you made that discernment? Have you since discovered clues about how you could have made that discernment differently?

We have a variety of Intelligence Quotients, but what is your Discernment Quotient?

HOW??????  Do I discern?

“I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:1-2 RSV).

 

a) Offering of one’s self, submit to God’s leading and His discernment

b) Do Not conforming to the world, that includes how you used to think/act

c) Transformation through renewal of the mind, thinking on Godly things/Bible

You and I need to be discerning Christian men and women, who follow God and use the insight that God gives and use that discernment in a wise and humble way.

 

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