How can I gain spiritual discernment?
The desire to gain spiritual discernment shows a measure of spiritual discernment itself. Biblically, spiritual discernment, or wisdom, has to do with the capacity of knowing truth, and comes from saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Know Him better and grow in your relationship with Him, and you will also gain spiritual discernment—a growing ability to know the truth.
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Jesus said it Himself: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6). Paul relates wisdom directly with Jesus: "And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord'" (1 Corinthians 1:30).
Society tells us that we gain wisdom by study, accumulation of knowledge, and application of common sense. These are fine and even good pursuits, but they won't result in spiritual discernment. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church and told them man's wisdom was folly. His instruction on this can be found in 1 Corinthians 1, which includes this from verse 25: "For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men."
Spiritual discernment is granted by God and grown by training in righteousness and prayer. In Hebrews we read, "But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil" (Hebrews 5:14).
Notice how the writer of Philippians identifies Jesus as the source of love, knowledge, discernment, and righteousness: "And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God" (Philippians 1:9–11).
To gain spiritual discernment, we must seek God. First, we are instructed to pray for wisdom. James 1:5–8 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."
And, we must look for wisdom in God's Word. "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
As we seek to know Jesus more, ask God for discernment, study God's Word to learn truth, put truth into practice in our lives, and rely on the Holy Spirit within us, we will grow in spiritual discernment.
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