Discerning the Things of the Spirit

"We can discern the snow storm coming, but cannot discern the spiritual storm now swirling."
 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret (discern) the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret (discern) the signs of the times. (Matt. 16:1-3)

 Throughout scripture, Spirit inspired writers speak of the importance of ‘discerning’ as a means of distinguishing, understanding, and deciding what is good, right, and just. To discern is to ‘perceive with the eyes of the intellect, to detect, to distinguish; the act of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment’.
The words of Jesus in Matthew 16:1-3 portray the Messiah discerning the hearts of the Pharisees and Sadducees as they demand a sign from heaven. Jesus discerns their motives and their agenda. He understands that no matter what spiritual sign may be given, it will not be discerned and understood because of their heart condition. They can interpret the signs of weather but cannot interpret the signs of the times. So it is today, in our culture of information and data overload, that many do not discern the times. We can discern the snow storm coming but cannot discern the spiritual storm now swirling. This must change.

A prophetic intercessor in Colorado speaks eloquently to this issue in a recent post saying, there is now unfolding ‘the restoration of the anointing of Issachar to discern the times and advance change. It combines shrewd evaluation with prediction, but is ultimately driven by the prophetic. It manifests with the actions of game-changers. (Morris Ruddick’s post on 02.10.16 at www.strategicintercession.org). 

There is an anointing to discern the times. We must embrace it. Without it we are blinded by the tangibles of the culture. To ‘discern’ includes the intangible element of perceiving. To perceive is to see behind the curtain, to sense something with spiritual eyes or ears, to have insight beyond natural understanding. We live in an era where our perceptive antennae must be raised and finely tuned. Proverbs 17:24 (NIV) says ‘The discerning (perceptive in KJV) man keeps wisdom in view but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. Discernment and wisdom are partners in life. They are supernaturally linked. The eyes of many are wandering to and fro looking for a superman or woman to solve the world’s problems. Some are seeking more inclusive doctrine, something that will offend no one but ultimately save no one. But the discerning, perceiving believers keep God’s wisdom in view, knowing that the times compel acuity of hearing and 20-20 insight into things as they really are. The discerning believer will not be deceived in these times. They will distinguish good from evil, truth from lies, right from wrong. They will simplify a seemingly complex world into decisive and wise choices. They become the game-changers.


dual lian said...

Great article on discerning truth! Although, it is quite difficult, say Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses & Eastern religions who claim they have the truth too. Can we say that they have 'bits' of the truth too?

Harvey Wittmier said...

Jesus said he was the way the truth and the life and no one could go to the Father except by him. All Truth must be discerned from that foundation.

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