Keys to Increasing in Discernment — Asking and Listening (Part 3)

Last time, I said that two ways to sharpen discernment are by asking the Lord for a greater measure of it and making a habit of listening for Him to speak to us. The Lord encourages us to ask, in James 1:5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, Who gives to all men liberally and does not upbraid, and it shall be given to him.” James 4:2 further comments, “You have not, because you ask not.” So, if we want greater discerning ability, we simply need to ask. The Lord is already willing to give it to us, but He wants us to desire it enough to request it.

I have a few favorite Scriptures which I sometimes pray in my quest for increased discernment. One is Isaiah 50:4, 5, which I mentioned last time: “The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of the learned, so that I will know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. Morning by morning, He awakens my ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious ….”

Another is Isaiah 11:2, 3: “And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. And [the Spirit of the LORD] shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.” These verses are about the Messiah Who was to come, but we can also use them to pray for ourselves, because God’s intent, according to 1 John 4:17, is that “as [Jesus] is, so are we in this world.”

Still another is Ephesians 1:17, 18: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened ….”

We can personalize these passages and others in praying for greater discernment.

In addition, I mentioned that we can form a habit of asking the Lord questions and listening for His answers. I often ask the Lord to give me His vantage point on what is really going on in my personal circumstances, national and world events, and in my home region. If we ask these kinds of questions frequently, and keep in listening mode, we will begin to acquire insight above the level of our human understanding.

I also ask the Spirit of Truth to help me identify and tear down strongholds, or mindsets, in my thinking, which oppose His truth — and then I ask Him to establish His thoughts in my mind in place of them. We all carry mindsets which oppose truth, but we are not usually aware of them until the Holy Spirit reveals them to us, either directly or through wise people He places in our lives to help us. Tearing down strongholds in our thinking and building up the Lord’s truth there instead are steps in developing discernment. The removal of strongholds of the mind is a lifelong process.

It is easy to assume that our opinions are in line with how God thinks, but once we ask the Lord to help us identify and tear down strongholds in our minds, we will often be surprised to find that some of our most cherished opinions are not His at all!

We will continue with more practical ways to increase discernment next time.

Keys to Increasing in Discernment Intro
Previous: Asking and Listening (Part 2)
Next: Increase by the Word

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2 responses to “Keys to Increasing in Discernment — Asking and Listening (Part 3)

  1. Lee Ann,
    I perceive that praying Scripture or the Word of God over yourself or others does have tremendous results in the spiritual arena. Of course, as the strongholds within our minds or lives are revealed, the process of change or giving up the strongholds is another battle in itself.
    Question: What is the difference between “standing on the Word of God” – His promises and praying the “Word of God” over ourselves or loved ones?
    Blessings,
    Costa

    Like

    • Good points about praying Scripture and the reordering our thought habits as part of tearing down strongholds, Costa. I’m so glad you mentioned the change process.

      I would say that standing on the Word refers to actively resting in faith in what the Word promises (and keeping ourselves there), while praying the promises would be even more aggressive. Both resting in the promises and praying them are important parts of the big picture.

      Another thought — In the process of “standing” we also declare the Word, while in praying the promises as I’ve described in the post, we are petitioning. I think that we probably overlap and intermingle these different aspects as we interact with the Lord through His Word.

      We’re going to emphasize the Word a little more in next week’s post.

      Like

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