Benefiting From Discernment

Table of contents for Discerning People’s Character

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

The ability to discern the character of the people with whom you do business or interact is essential for a clear path to success. 

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed how discernment is important to your life.  (If you missed Part 1, click here for Safety in Discernment or use the above Series link.)

Love Yourself Enough to Choose Discernment

How much do you love yourself?  The level of your desire for discernment may be proof.  There is a proverb that says,

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding (discernment) prospers. Pr. 19:8

Wisdom and discernment are connected, as we will see in a moment.  Your desire for wisdom proves how much you value yourself. When you desire discernment, you show that you value yourself enough to choose to bring prosperity to your life.  Most people have a natural love for themselves; their self-esteems might have room for improvement, but the innate desire for self preservation and a “life worth living” is there.  As scripture says, “No one hates his own body. On the contrary he nourishes and cherishes it (Eph 5:29).”  Evaluate your present life perspective to see if you are choosing a path that demonstrates love for yourself and your destiny.

Discernment is also a part of emotional/spiritual maturity.

We can observe in the natural realm how discernment is an aspect of emotional growth and maturity.  We admire those who have attained it, along with the stability and success it has brought their lives. God says that discernment is also a part of spiritual maturity:

But solid principles are for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil [Or in another translation] who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern (distinguish, discriminate) both good and evil.  Heb 5:14

We all desire to have a mature perspective regarding relationships with people and the circumstances of our lives.  The ability to be discriminating between what is best and prosperous or what is not helpful, to distinguish between what is healing or what is harmful, is a part of maturity that we all need to attain.

How should we define discernment?

Before looking further at the connection between wisdom and discernment, and the benefits of this path, let’s take a moment to define it.

In the quotes below, there are 2 Hebrew words used for discernment.  One is usually translated as discernment and the other as understanding, but both include similar concepts.

Hebrew “biyn” means to separate mentally or distinguish, understand, consider, discern.  It includes in a diligent manner. To perceive, be prudent, skillful. To view and deal wisely. (1)

Hebrew “tabuwm”  is defined as discretion, reason, skillfulness, understanding, wisdom.

“Wisdom” in the quotes below is translated from the Hebrew term “chakam” meaning

To be wise in mind, word or act, including the aspect of being exceedingly so.  To make yourself and show yourself wise. To deal wisely.

Discernment is connected to wisdom.

Here are a few proverbs that reveal the connection between wisdom and discernment, another valid reason for choosing to become a person of discernment. 

Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning. Pr. 10:13

The discerning heart seeks knowledge (learning). Pr. 15:14

The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction. Pr. 16:21

A discerning man keeps wisdom in view. Pr. 17:24

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge (learning). Pr. 18:15

Let’s look at examples of the benefits you can derive from discernment.

There are some very revealing proverbs as to the vast benefits of discernment.  Remember, both words translated “discerning” and “understanding” come from root words referring to discernment.  My comments are in brackets.

A scoffer seeks wisdom, and doesn’t find it, but knowledge comes easily to a discerning person. Pr. 14:6 [The facts you need to succeed will be obvious and easily accessible to you.]

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Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. Pr. 1:5  [You receive more wisdom by choosing to learn from other wise people, but the chosen path of discernment also causes you to receive the direction you need by having a perspective that is looking for it.  This is basically, again, the Law of Attraction. By making a choice to be discerning, you will become aware of the right choices because you are looking for them and expecting them.]

Folly delights a man who lacks judgment, but a man of understanding keeps a straight course. Pr. 15:21 [Discernment, here translated as understanding, helps you avoid destructive choices, making for an easier life.  The “straight course” or level path is a common concept in scripture, referring to a godly path that keeps you from stumbling through life.]

When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a man of understanding and knowledge maintains order. (Another translation) Because of the sin of the land, its troubles are increased; but by a man of wisdom and knowledge they will be put out like a fire. Pr. 28:2 [Discernment in leadership can bring peace or order to a troubled nation.]

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding (discernment) it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. Pr. 24:3,4 [A perspective of discernment enables you to make choices which will result in a prosperous household–acquiring the best that there is in life, relationally, career-wise, spiritually, and financially.]

How do you choose a path of discernment?

Making a life-change to become a wise and discerning person comes the same as with other new directions in life-by a decisive choice.  It starts with a mental and spiritual change.  You must decide that you love yourself and your God-given destiny enough to give yourself the benefits of discernment.  We mentioned in Part 1 that discernment can be gleaned from other wise people, from the mind of God, and by being aware of typical personality patterns (which we will discuss in Part 3 of this Post). 

God has said, “Ask and you will receive (Lk.11:9.10);”  He will give wisdom generously when you ask for it in faith (Jms. 1:5,6).  The decision and desire to live in a discerning state causes you to be more attentive to (a) the direction God is giving you, (b) good opportunities for your well-being and goal achievements, (c) people who are helpful and healing to your life, (d) opportunities that will take more energy than any resulting benefits, and (e) people who are being manipulative with potential negative results.  Ask God today for a mindset and spirit of discernment.  He can give you discernment beyond that of any of your peers.  Look at this statement Pharaoh made to Joseph.

Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. (Gen. 41:39)

Joseph received such outstanding wisdom and discernment from God that he impressed Pharaoh-no small achievement since Pharaoh was considered like a god in that culture.  Jesus was also known for a life of wisdom and discernment.  He was able to act wisely in his dealings with people and discern those who were trying to manipulate him.  The quote below is a good way to end Part 2. Receiving wisdom and discernment from God brings us endless benefits, including a level of maturity that provides a sense of completeness.  Discernment becomes illustrated by a life that is conducted in the way that Jesus Himself lived.

But he who treasures God’s Word, who keeps His precepts in mind, who observes His message in its entirety, has been perfected, completed, and reached maturity. By this we may recognize and be sure that we are in Him: Whoever says he lives in Jesus ought to, as a personal debt, walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself. 1 Jn.2:5,6

(1) Hebrew definitions are from Strong’s Dictionary of Old Testament Words

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