by Dr. Charles Stanley
Thursday January 5, 2006
Learning Spiritual Discernment
Spiritual discernment develops progressively. The Lord does not simply pour knowledge into our heads; we must daily seek His will and study to understand Him better. To do so, we must regularly spend time in the Word and place ourselves under the Holy Spirit’s teaching.
Church is where we receive instruction. If a poll were taken as people left their house of worship, they would give many different reasons for attending: worshipping, fellowshipping, encouraging one another, and inviting others to receive Jesus Christ. How many would say they come to learn righteousness? Yet, teaching about holiness is a primary calling of the pastor (Ezekiel 44:23). A minister’s goal should be to teach in such a way that parishioners hear a godly principle and learn to apply it. In this way, believers grow in spiritual discernment.
Instruction does little good unless we practice what we learn. David exercised spiritual discernment throughout his life. He went against conventional military wisdom, facing Goliath armorless and with a few stones (1 Samuel 17:37-39). Later, he repeatedly avoided claiming the throne until God’s plan was fully revealed. But David made mistakes as well, such as his indiscretions with the married Bathsheba. We, too, can ignore the Spirit’s promptings and instead appease our own desires. Recognizing principles is not enough; we must live out what we learn. It is wise to observe the consequences of obedience and disobedience so that we, like David, can grow in our spiritual discernment.