Friday, March 12, 2021

Discernment: Motive Matters

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.... to another discerning of spirits… (1 Corinthians 12:7-10 KJV)

The Holy Spirit brings gifts to help us in this life. It is critical that the full body of Christ, the worldwide Church, uses the gift of discernment for all things. The Greek word diakrisis (dee-ak'-ree-sis) is translated as discerning, but it also means distinguishing or judging. Some may be given a very strong gift of discernment from the Holy Spirit, but as a mature Christian we should all have a basic level of discerning good from evil. 

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14 KJV)

The “strong meat” of the Word of God refers to additional learning after we receive the Gospel. It is the deeper teachings in the Word that brings us to following God and His ways. We need to be mature so that we don’t choke on the meat and spit it back out.  Those who use their spiritual senses to discern and to know good from evil are ready for these revelations. It will aid us in so many aspects of our walk.

Discernment can come when we know that what is being said or done, doesn’t line up with: 

  1. the Word of God
  2. the character of God
  3. there is a physical sensation connected to what you are discerning such as an object or a teaching.

 We should use this gift the same way we exercise our bodies, by practicing discernment and exercising our spiritual muscles all the time so that we can more easily distinguish good from evil. The first two points are the primary things to look for to find out if something is from God or contaminated. If it fails either of those two checks, then the item etc is defiled and we should steer clear of it.

Satan is an imitator of God; he used the Word to try and get Jesus to submit to him. This is why God gives us additional ways to discern: physical sensations. Be aware that Satan can also send sensations that feel like discernment. For this reason, we should try to always have a confirmation for that type of discernment.

When asking, never say, “I think this is off, I get a ______ feeling from it.” This can influence the other person and lead to an agreement from the soul. Instead, just ask what they think of the item.

The Holy Spirit has helped us realize that sometimes when we discern testimonies, objects, or even songs, that it may seem “off” but not because it wasn’t from God, but rather because the motive behind the sharing of it was not for God’s glory, but another reason. This applies to all aspects of our Christian walk.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 AKJV) 

Proverbs was written by King Solomon. He was the wealthiest and most influential person to ever live because he was given the wisdom of God. Solomon wrote instructions for his sons, and it is clear that the way to success in any endeavor is by leaning upon and trusting the Lord. This doesn’t mean we should not learn God’s ways.

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7 AKJV)

This is one of many places in the Bible that shows we must put effort into seeking God’s wisdom and then learning how to apply it, which is understanding it. What Solomon was speaking about are the motives behind learning. Are you learning SO THAT what you desire can be accomplished? Or are you learning so that you know more about the Lord and can trust in Him?

If we learn God’s ways so that you can be healed or recieve provision from God, then you don’t have the right motive. We should be learning His ways so that we can draw closer to Jesus. He is the Healer, the Provider, the Redeemer who will set us free from the attacks of the Enemy, but if we are seeking these things instead of Him we are not looking in the right direction. Our Lord told us:

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 ESV)

When our focus is on God and His way of doing things, then He will see to all our needs. If we are seeking to learn more BECAUSE we need something, then our motive is off. A wrong motive can affect all areas of our Chritian walk, even going to the Secret Place. Our purpose should always be that we want to be rightly aligned (righteous) with God so He can move in greater measure in our life. This principle must be applied to all aspects of our Christian walk.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:1 ESV)

Jesus showed us that motives are important. The word ‘righteous” is also translated as “good deeds.” From this time period it was common to give offerings to the poor and needy, but in this day and age it could be any good deed. This means that if we give a testimony for a purpose not motivated by the Holy Spirit, or perhaps to show how much WE have received from God, then it may be “off.”

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. (Philippians 2:3 AKJV)

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