We might consider that our soul is like a body of water which stands between our spirit and the Holy Spirit. The clarity of our discernment depends on how clear the water is. Hindrances take the form of colouring or a murkiness so our spirit can not get an accurate view of what the Holy Spirit wishes to communicate.
For example let’s say greed is green in color. To the degree it is in us it leaves a greenish haze in our soul. When we relate to someone with greed we will not be able to discern that aspect in them because the green in them is obscured by the green in us. This principle has many applications.
If the colour of jealousy is brown, that colour in our soul hinders us from discerning clearly on brown matters relative to jealousy. In some cases we may not be able to detect the jealousy in others. In other cases the brown in us may accentuate the brown in others, so that we are overly frustrated and exaggerate this weakness in others. In this case we react and become very critical. Have you not noticed how often we react to the very weakness in others which we have not been able to overcome in our lives. May our souls be clear and transparent so His Light can shine through clearly. Only to that extent can we clearly discern others.
Can we be Colourless?
Through the weeks that I have been praying and meditating on discernment the Lord has done much exposing in my own heart. One day as I awoke He said, ‘Today, your motto is; “Don’t care about anything -today nothing matters.”‘ It took me some time to consider the meaning of such a word. We were traveling and about to face some complicated situations touching some difficult history. A snow storm was predicted and we might not get to meet tomorrows obligations. “Please Lord, explain such a word for a day like today.”
“Haven’t you heard, ‘Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you9” (1 Peter 5:7). “Or, what about, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life. . .'” .
Suddenly I became aware how much what I care about, what matters to me, affects my discernment. Whether it is money, time, schedule, my natural preferences, my past hurts, or any other cares, these all scream for their own interests. These all want to be included in my considerations and given a place in my conclusions. How can I incorporate all of these and still have objective discernment?
So, is it really possible to be colourless? Since I cannot be a vacuum, the only option is to be replaced, to move out, deny the self, to die, and let Another One live in my stead. So, this is what Paul meant when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
By faith I declared, “Lord, today I do not care about anything and nothing matters to me. Please show me what matters to You and what You care about. I desperately want to know You and live by You today, I count everything else waste and worthless even as Paul did in Phil 2:7-10.”
As the day proceeded I was able to move with a calm and peace, with no need to prove anything or to make anything happen. The way things turned out was not up to me, and the analysis of any situation would come from Him in its proper time. I was free just to worship and commune with Him as events unfolded.
I was pleasantly surprised when the people whom I had not seen for years responded with warmth and without lingering apprehensions from the past. Perhaps this was a reflection of the Lord’s love in my greeting to them. Even more surprising was that I saw through them and their words, to God’s heart for them with no vestige of judgment or disdain on my part. My heart was filled with love and concern and the words given to me were filled with grace and encouragement for them.
My words were not mine. They were just confirming the words that the Holy Spirit was speaking in their hearts. When we parted there was an assurance that the Lord’s heart was satisfied and there was no need to second guess what perhaps should have happened. I saw that it is only when we are fully at rest that we can discern clearly. Our anxieties, concerns and desires simply cloud our capacity to discern.
The Lord gives us many practical situations where we can exercise the above principles. A good test for me is when I have been asked to speak, am prepared and then there is no opening or someone else takes the time.
Can I remain at rest or do I allow subjective feelings to come in, feelings of rejection or jealousy to cloud my peace and discernment? If just a few final minutes are allowed, can I still clearly reflect the mind of the Lord without any flavor of self-pity or self-vindication? The higher I wish to go in discernment, the higher the price, but the more precious are its rewards. There is no greater thrill in life than to know that the thought and the word of the Lord came through me without traces of my self.
Motive and Approach
So. why should I and how would I employ discernment of another person? Not because I want to see through people. But, I do want to see the reality as God sees and employ His tender love and healing forbearance. Not for my personal gratification or self-vindication nor, for grounds to accuse, but to activate healing and release from bondage and limitations of the given subject. Even this requires trust and proper timing which only the Lord can orchestrate.
For example, imagine you have a domesticated pet bear who has a festering sliver in his back. He is not real clear and can not personally see what his problem is, but his mobility and general health is frustrated. Meanwhile you can observe, (discern) his problem and are moved to help him, for his sake. Can you help him? Only if he trusts you and is willing to surrender his strength and even allow you to cause present pain for his future benefit.
Pure discernment is probably mostly realized when a ministering person receives a word of knowledge or a word of wisdom, or by the supernatural gift of discerning of Spirits. In these cases, in a sense, God bypasses our natural abilities to communicate His mind. A minister may at times move in these gifts far beyond the degree to which they have been incorporated into his daily life and character.
I have on occasion been afforded such an experience. While I cherish this, it is my desire to exercise to allow the Lord to change me until I, “become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). As this transpires discernment will increasingly become a part of my character and daily life, just as it was His.
Dear Lord, I thank You that by the new birth Your life is now indwelling my spirit. Truly, You have begun a good work in me and I believe that You are and will be faithful to complete it. I hereby offer my co-operation to your working in me and in my life. So please, do a deeper work in me.
I acknowledge a need and a desire for discernment, but above all for a more intimate walk with you. I give you permission to expose the hindrances that frustrate your growth in me. I want to know You fully and realize Your love and express You in all that I do or say, for Your glory. With honor, praise and love to You, in Jesus name. Amen!