The Gift of Discernment

By Francis Frangipane
(En EspaƱol)

If we will serve with true discernment, our perception must be renewed until we see life through the eyes of Christ the Redeemer.

To Discern, You Cannot Judge

We will never possess mature, ongoing discernment until we crucify our instincts to judge. Realistically, for most of us, this may take an extended, focused season of uprooting old thought-systems -- attitudes that were not planted in faith and love for people. In truth, if we will appropriate the discernment born in the "mind of Christ," we must first find the heart of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). The heart and love of Jesus is summed up in His own words: "I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world" (John 12:47). Yet even when the Lord does judge us, it is to save and deliver us.

Spiritual discernment is the grace to see into the unseen. It is a gift of the Spirit to perceive the realm of the spirit. Its purpose is to understand the nature of that which is veiled.

Yet there are many who suppose they are receiving the Lord's discernment concerning one thing or another. Perhaps in some things they are; only God knows. But many are simply judging others and calling it discernment. Jesus commanded us to judge not. He sends us into the world not as judges of man but, under Him, as co-redeemers. We are not sent to condemn people but to rescue them.

The Goal Is to See Clearly
The judgmental carnal mind always sees the image of itself in others. Without realizing it is seeing itself, it assumes it is perceiving others. Jesus refers to the person who judges others yet is guilty of the same sin as a "hypocrite." The Lord is not saying we should totally stop thinking about people. He wants us to be able to help one another. The emphasis in Jesus' command to "not judge" is summarized in His concluding remark: "First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye" (See Matt.7:1-5).

The way we help others is not by judging but by seeing clearly. This is the "righteous judgment" of which Jesus speaks in John 7:24. We do not "see clearly" until we have been through deep and thorough repentance, until the instinct to judge after "appearances" is uprooted.

We have seen that Jesus paralleled speaking to people about their sins with taking specks out of their eyes. The eye is the most tender, most sensitive part of the human body. How do you take a speck out of someone's eye? Very carefully! First, you must win their trust. This means consistently demonstrating an attitude that does not judge, one that will not instinctively condemn. To help others, we must first see clearly.

If you truly seek to crucify your instinct to judge and genuinely are pursuing Christ's redemptive heart, you will have laid a true foundation for the gift of discernment. You will have prepared your heart to receive dreams, visions and insights from God. You will be unstained by human bias. You will possess the mind and heart of Christ.


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's books, The Three Battlegrounds and Spiritual Discernment and the Mind of Christ, available at www.arrowbookstore.com.