Discernment is a gift from God. it is a noun, which means
1. the ability to judge well.
"an astonishing lack of discernment"
2. (in Christian contexts) perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.
"without providing for a time of healing and discernment, there will be no hope of living through this present moment without a shattering of our common life"
Discernment is often times misunderstood as the supernatural ability to judge something well when truth be told - it is the willingness to listen in order to judge correctly. Discernment is constructed from the word discern, which in other terms means to decode, observe, see, or recognize. Discernment, just like faith, is a gift that can be obtained by anyone simply by asking God. NOT through life experiences. For example, if I have experienced both, tilapia and whitening fish, I am able to discern their differences between taste, sight, and even texture. Majority of people feel gifted or feel as though they have strong discernment because their many years of experience. Yes, experience is a key factor in strengthening your discernment or ability to decode, however spiritual discernment removes ability.
Natural Discernment gives you the ability to judge, while spiritual discernment keeps you in tuned to the judge. As a Prophet, Samuel was assigned to go anoint the next king. Upon arriving at the house of Jesse, He summoned all the sons of Jesse with the knowledge that the new king would be found within that household. However, his own discernment led him astray.
“When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “This is not the one the Lord has chosen.” Next Jesse summoned Shimea, but Samuel said, “Neither is this the one the Lord has chosen.” In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.” “Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.” 1 Samuel 16:6-11 NLT
Samuel, being a Prophet, anointed to discern and judge - immediately thought the crown was for Eliab. His natural discernment , or past experience suggested that the one who looked like the king, would be such. However we find out that Samuel’s discernment was off because as He attempts to anoint the young man the oil refuse to flow. After several trials and error, Samuel finally comes to conclusion that either “I heard God wrong, or I’m not listening hard enough to discern or decode what is hidden.” So then Samuel asks, well are these all the sons? Then find out the one He Need wasn’t invited and left in the field to work. What we must remember about sharpening or gaining spiritual discernment is that it isn’t our ability to recall or remember, it’s our ability to listen and decode that empower discernment as a gift!
The Bible says in Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. Which plainly says that often what looks like God or look to be good may not always be good, or sometimes God is doing something different. We tend to forget that the devil is the imitation or the impersonator of light. Therefore, it is his job to consistently confuse us through falsified imagery. Hence the reason, we walk by faith and now by sight. Discernment is a faith gift, but you must have faith in the right thing. God! Most people are ignorant that their discernment is off because their faith is stronger in their own past experience or what someone told them instead of in God. True discernment comes from your faith in hearing God, because even sugar looks like salt until you taste it.