Safety in Discernment

Table of contents for Discerning People’s Character

  1. Safety in Discernment
  2. Benefiting From Discernment
  3. Adding Discernment with Personality Profiles

Reading Level: Gratifying

An important part of your success in life is the ability to discern the character of the people with whom you do business or interact in other ways on a regular basis.

In spite of all your education, giftings, and hardwork to reach the goals and level of success in life that you desire, not discerning the character of the people with whom you do business or otherwise interact can quickly undermine the majority of your efforts and greatly hinder your path to success. 

My spouse and I have usually worked together in our careers and are visionaries, tending to be workaholics and overachievers.  We always want to see progress.  Some years back, at a crossroads in our lives, a person wisely pointed out to us a main source of the setbacks we had been experiencing at that time in our careers.  Being visionaries, we sought after working with other people of vision, people who were “going places” and achieving things.  However, we were repeatedly accepting jobs with people who were the type that achieved their goals by being controlling and abusive to those that worked with them.  As a result, not only did we have to work harder to accomplish our goals, but it would eventually lead to the need to change from that environment due to the physical and emotional drains it created.  The fact was that their lack of character in their modes of operation made the accomplishing of our goals more difficult than was necessary.  We were advised to be discerning as to the personality and character of people before choosing to do business with them.

It is both a practical as well as a spiritual concept to be discerning.

Discerning the character of the people with whom you need to interact is practical; it can keep you from investing money with a con artist who is planning on stealing it.  It can keep you from getting into an abusive marriage.  It can prevent you from committing to projects that are either headed for failure or will create more trouble for you than it is worth. 

God also instructs us to be discerning.  Philippians 1:10 says,

That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best. (NIV)

The ability to discern what is right and best before getting involved in relationships, projects, or business ventures is invaluable.  The Amplified translation of 1:10 says it this way,

That you may surely learn to sense what is vital, what is excellent and of real value, recognizing the highest and the best, and distinguishing the moral differences…so that you may not stumble or cause others to stumble.

When you can discern what is excellent and of real value, you won’t commit to projects that waste your time and efforts.  When you recognize what is highest and best, you are able to see which opportunities will help you achieve a good life sooner.  When you are able to distinguish the moral differences in people’s character, you are less likely to get scammed financially, or commit to an abusive workplace or relationship.

There are 3 main sources in which you can glean discernment.

First, you can gain discernment from God.   There is what scripture refers to as a gift of discernment, a special impartation from God to be able to tell the difference between good and bad, safety and harm.  Ask God for this.  He has said, “Ask and you will receive (Lk.11:9.10).”  God has also promised to generously provide His divine wisdom when you ask for it.  Wisdom is the ability to know what is good and best for your life and how to properly implement it. Here is God’s promise regarding wisdom:

If anyone is lacking in wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to everyone  liberally and ungrudgingly, without faultfinding, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt…for that person should not imagine that he will receive anything from God.  Jms. 1:5,6

The latter part of that quote may sound harsh, but it is not.  It is just re-stating what we already know, that everything spiritually comes by faith – believing in who God says He is and what He said He would do.

Second, we can gain discernment from wise and discerning people.  They may take a little work to find, but you need to find at least 1 or 2 people who you can tell are wise and discerning by the peace and success of their lives.  Learn from them.  Run ideas and opportunities by them.  The decision still needs to be yours and be based on your spirit and destiny, but you can learn from how they handled similar decisions or people.


Third, you can gain discernment from an understanding of personality types.  There are a couple of different well-known charts or profiles that explain personality types.  Becoming aware of the tendencies in personalities will help you notice when people are trying to manipulate you, even in subtle ways.

This is the first in a series of three posts on Discernment.  In Part 2, we’ll cover some examples in scripture of how God says His wisdom and discernment will benefit you.  In Part 3, we’ll look at the personality profiles in more detail.

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