There are many things that are missing from our daily routines of prayer and Bible study. Sometimes we are motivated by our favorite Bible passages that give us comfort and assurance that God will see us through. However, when it comes to discernment, we find ourselves lacking the understanding of what discernment really is. There is a community in the body of Christ that calls themselves “discerners” they spend their days watching and examining how the church or the leaders are getting it wrong. Now, I am not saying that these folks are bad, I do think we need to have a quality control group watching out for deception that may be creeping into the church unbeknown to us. Some people have that gift of observation, or understanding, and can be helpful in identifying some troubling teachings that may come along and on the surface sound okay. However, discerners by the nature of their observations can be negative and sound judgmental. When I was asked recently about discerners, and how to keep the gift of discerning from becoming pharisaical, I responded in the following way.
1 Corinthians 13
1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have the gift of prophesy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Religious people have a huge tendency to focus on issues of truth, and fail to realize that truth is a big stick that can be harmful if not coupled with love. I am not suggesting we stop telling the truth, but without love, truth will be less effective in today’s world.
Ephesians 4:15 but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ;
This is the mistake of the “Discernment Community” they lack the discernment of knowing that it is love that makes the truth palatable for the human heart.
The Apostle Paul who was gifted, called and anointed with the passion of taking the gospel to the Gentile world understood that without love, all your religious activity doesn’t make a lot of sense. In other words, your religious activity doesn’t profit you. It reminds me of the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Again, religious people think it’s by their works God is impressed, and that just isn’t the case. It is true we need to be visible to the world by the kind acts of love we display to the poor, and disenfranchised, but it is not a gage for any spiritual kudos with God. God wants His people to be truth tellers with heart of love. He wants His people to be courageous, loving, and firm warriors for Him, not timid, weak, and compromising people. He does not want the spirit of the church of Laodicea mentioned in Revelation 3, to dominate His church. The lazy, take the easy way out church, who always plays in the middle of the road is not the church in the Bible. His church stands tall and convicted about the truth of God’s Word, and they have a heart full of love for the people who oppose them. God is not happy when the wicked perish; He has repeatedly said in the Bible that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Why? He does not want one soul to perish in the eternal fires.
So, here is a kind word to you discerners. Your enemy is not ignorant Christians who don’t know better, your enemy has never changed, it is Satan and his kingdom, the principalities and powers of this world. Discernment is a teaching gift, not a judgment gift where we punish people by our opinions. Your gift is to discern deception, not condemn people, and warn of the dangers of evil in our day. The Apostle Paul brings that to our attention in 1 Corinthians 12
- All gifts are for the common good of the body…..not judgment!
- The gift of discernment is to distinguish, to identify and expose the works of darkness masquerading
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
All Christians are vulnerable to distraction, and mistakes, and our job is to restore, reconcile, and redeem all who will listen and in order to accomplish these three, you need a heart of love. Please don’t become a spiritual bully that many have become, puffed up and prideful because you have a discernment gift. Your pride will find you out, and your lack of love in administering your gift will never profit you in God’s Kingdom.
Keeping it honest and truthful….K