The Bible mentions many different forms of discernment. The most common form of discernment that we hear most about is the gift of discernment mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:10. Firstly, I want to talk about our foundation in the word of God, which is most important. If our foundation is not right, our discernment will come out of the wrong spirit.
"Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even by those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14 KJV).
The author of Hebrews is not necessarily talking about the gift of discernment. He is talking about mature believers that are discerning good doctrine vs bad doctrine, right thinking vs wrong thinking. Not everything that we hear, even though it is well meaning, is truth. Not everything that we perceive to be truth is truth. It must be in line with God's word and heart. We cannot have proper discernment without first a foundation of love. How we see ourselves in Christ has everything to do with how we see others. Paul talk about us being accepted in Christ and the beloved (Ephesians 1:6). The Word of God causes us to truly know the heart of the father towards us, and His children. The heart of the father is love, patience, and long suffering. These are the fruits of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 6, that mature believers walk in! However, some Christians may be growing in faith and are still on a certain level of spiritual maturity.
Jesus gave us two commandments: love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength AND love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:29-30). We are to love our neighbor because we are all members of his body. We are a family! We can never go wrong with love. Jesus desires for us to love one another despite flaws and differences. Paul often told Christians not to judge one another (Romans 13:14). The Bible calls Satan the accuser of the brethren. He will condemn you! Yet Jesus will never condemn you. He will correct you, he will convict you, but not condemn you. Jesus always calls us back into his love and presence.
"Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or peril, or sword?" Romans 8:35
If we do not discern out of the right heart, we end up condemning people, or making false assumptions. It could be that we are pointing the finger at those that are still maturing in Christ. I've noticed that some people think that there is a demon under every rock, behind every door. They are so focused on the demonic, mainly because they have been influence by 1980s deliverance ministries. So their belief system is always geared toward the demonic. They often think everything is a demon, everyone has a demon, or that there is always a principality out to get them. They often think someone is moving out of the spirit of Jezebel or that someone is a betraying Judas. In all my years of being in ministry, I have never met a Judas. I may have met carnal Christians that are still growing in grace and love, but never a Judas. I've heard some of the harshest criticism come from those that think they are discerning something about someone. If everything is negative, harsh and critical, then you have to question, is there any love in it? Discernment does not always mean demonic. Even if someone is doing something that is demonically influenced, or out of line, we should forgive and pray for them out of love. How are we any different from the world if we point our finger at others. Let's remember that the gifts of the spirit are for edifying the church, His body. Even the gift of discernment must be used out of love for members of the body of Christ! We are all apart of this one family, as we are of His body! Anyone can have the ability to tear someone down, but few answer the call to build an individual up and celebrate their progress and cheer them on.
"Some things that folks attribute to the devil are really nothing more than works of the flesh. It's important to realize that everything that's wrong in life is not directly the work of an evil spirit" - Kenneth E. Hagin, The Triumphant Church
The Triumphant Church is one of the greatest books I have ever read about discernment and deliverance. It's about resting in the victory that Christ has provided for us through the cross. I highly recommend this book. Hagin talks about how to cast out devils, and how to walk in your divine authority as a believer! Jesus never intended for us to live in a constant state of paranoia. We do not fight to get the victory; we have the victory already, through Christ! Believe that you have it! Walk like it, and talk like it! Kenneth Hagin was truly a new model for deliverance ministry. Some of the greatest teaching that we hear today about our authority in Christ came from Kenneth Hagin!
In His Love,