Spiritual Discernment

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak to the young people in our Church concerning the above topic. Seeing the times, and what is happening around us in churches, I would like to further reinforce what has been shared in the fellowship meeting on that day. Spiritual discernment is not only a special gift to some, but it is also a natural talent that we ought to develop as a Christian character in our walk with God in this present world. Many times, we are called to make decisions to choose that which is right and good, over that which is bad and evil, and we can only do so if we have the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, good and evil.

Spiritual discernment is not for us to know and differentiate something only, but like any spiritual gifts, it is used for the edification of the saints. As much as we are called to live peaceably with all man, we are, in like manner, called to defend the Faith. Christians in different ages have been called to this tremendous duty of coming together and discussing and settling that which is right or wrong according to doctrines taught in the Word of God. This requires much spiritual discernment.

But not everyone has this ability, all the time. We observe in Scriptures, many a great man of God, had at one point or another made a wrong decision. This caused great mistakes in their lives, and a great discredit to their own name. God has recorded them for our learning—not to shame them, but to teach, remind and warn us that we be more careful and humble as we live and serve the Almighty God. But what caused these great men of God to make such errors? Those who blindly follow them are also equally accountable.

There are basically 3 things that hinder our spiritual eyesight:


The Pharisees in Jesus’ time were filled with the knowledge of the Old Testament, but were ignorant and blind to the Living Word. As the leaders were, so were the people. Even though Christ walked and taught among them, many were hardened in their hearts to the truth. They chose to crucify Him who came to save them. This is the result of pride: Pride in one’s own tradition and position, thinking they knew all, but in actual fact, they knew nothing.

Many Christians in churches have made a visible and verbal stand on doctrinal truths, claiming they are the ones who are right. But the way that they have conducted themselves, makes one wonders if it is more of pride than simple faithfulness to His Cause. With much knowledge, a person is puffed up. So much so, that his eyes are blinded to the heart of God.

“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:” Isaiah 29:13

Therefore, the remedy to Pride is with a humble heart. Consider all things and judge righteously, for Christ said: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24. In Galatians 6:1—“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”


Many are also blinded because of their personal emotions or sentiments for someone or against someone. Indeed, Pride and Prejudice go together, and make a formidable foe, especially to those who are sincere and meek; for one strives for mastery and rights and the other seeks only peace and unity.

In the Church of Corinth, the people were divided among themselves and much strive was caused, because they were supportive of Paul, Apollos, Peter and even Christ. But the humble yet courageous apostle argued with them: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” 1 Corinthians 1:10-13

We see and hear of many so-called Christians fight and defend their leaders, even though their integrity or teachings has been called into question. They remember the good that this leader had done for them, but they forgot God’s prerogative in each of our lives. Their first loyalty was to that person, whereas it should be Christ. “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” For the greatest of Christians are but frail, like Moses. There is nothing in us to boast, even if we are to lead another great crowd out of Egypt. Moses had done so much for the people and he had been willing to sacrifice himself from the book of Life for these stiff-necked people. Yet in one moment of folly, God gave him a great punishment. All honour and glory be to God, and we are but His unworthy servants.


One more thing that will hinder a Christian’s perception of things is when he harbours sin in his life. If you are not walking close to God, than you will not be able to hear His voice clearly, that guides you and leads you in everything. For a person who is sinning, can only give in to the calls of his flesh and passion. His first priority is to himself and that which he regards dear to his heart. He will seek to justify his thinking and ways, and draws upon God’s mercies and grace that he might continue in the enjoyment of his sin. His conscience, corrupted but soothed, will not heed wise counsels, but will complain about the lack of love and understanding of faithful rebuke.

Such is the times that we live in, and many cannot see the slide but blames others and the circumstances. But the Lord Jesus has warned us: -“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24

What was Paul’s advice to young Timothy?

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:2-5

Assistant Pastor Yap Yee Kin