"For this reason we also, from the day we heard of it, have not ceased to pray and make [special] request for you, [asking] that you may be filled with the full (deep and clear) knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom [in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God] and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things-- 10That you may walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition]. Colossians 1:9-10 (Amplified version)
It wasn't until two days ago that I realized something very incredible about God. I had posted about our home search and the clear no answers I'd been receiving about different places as we looked at them. Then someone e-mailed me to ask for a little more understanding- how did I feel? Was there something special that confirmed to me that the answer was no? I was able to explain, and I'll do so a little here as well. With each of those times, every time I decided that the answer was indeed no, I felt a real calm, a peacefulness about the decision. There wasn't any pang of regret, I just felt an overwhelming peace in my spirit, and I was able to rest with my decision. The other night, I had been thinking over and over about that house, I couldn't stop thinking about it. So I started to pray and ask guide for guidance. As soon as I had my answer, and I agreed with it, the house no longer occupied my thoughts. Not only was there peace, there was almost a...dismissal of the object in question from my mind. I just knew that I'd made the right decision- and God showed me how to reach it.
I didn't realize, until the moment I was typing out a more thorough response to my friend, that all this time, I've been learning something. This whole time that we've been home searching, God has used the process to teach me an incredible gift- the gift of discernment.
Just saying that out loud is overwhelming to me. Here I thought we were simply looking for a home and learning to trust in God, and it was so, so much more for me. Last summer I was told to be patient and trust in God, and the reward would come. And I've been extremely patient (much to the bafflement of all around me, I'm certain), and I've trusted completely (again with the bafflement), and I discovered that my reward was not what I thought it was going to be. Honestly? I thought the reward for now was going to be a home for my family, and I suspect that is coming too, but to find the reward in this long journey is a real and true gift from God... I AM overwhelmed by His Goodness and His mercy.
Because this spiritual gift of discernment is... amazing... I have thought for a long time that I was experiencing a portion of it. I can sometimes function as a human lie detector- I can see the truth hidden behind people's words sometimes. I don't know how to explain it, but when someone bends the truth, I just know what the real truth is. I don't tell them I know it, but I know it all the same, and I've just always assumed that it was part of the spiritual gift of discernment.
But the gift of discernment...
"and to another distinguishing between spirits” 1 Corinthians 12:10
The gift of discernment is the ability to distinguish between good and bad, in essence. All those houses we looked at, or even just talked about, I had an unrest in my spirit about them. About a month ago we were about to be in a situation with a house that I had just felt uneasy about in my spirit. I didn't say anything to anyone about it because I just felt like even though it wasn't ideal, that maybe it was where God wanted us anyway. Every time I thought about it, I would think on the good things, but in the back of my mind there was this unrest, this uneasiness. One Sunday, on our drive into church we had been talking about it again, the next day I was to go make a final walk thru and a final decision. I looked out my van window and silently asked God to make it very, very clear to me if this was the house.
I didn't even have to wait to do the walk-thru. Just a few hours later after church, Andy talked to his coworker- the house was falling off it's foundation, and the cost to fix that wasn't worth it. Let me tell you, I had such a sense of relief when I heard that! Part of me was disappointed, because it meant our search was not over, but my spirit felt like it had been freed of something- that unrest and uneasiness was gone. That unrest was gone because the situation was gone.
When I think about that... when I am thinking about this house hunting, and the feelings of uneasiness I've had about each one, I know exactly what God is telling me about the spirit of discernment. God has used a basic situation to teach me how to discern His spirit in a situation. I can only imagine how He might have me put this to use in the days to come.
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8
Have you ever had those conversations where someone brings something to your attention and asks what you think of it? It could be something like the latest "guru book" on how to live your life to the fullest. It's those moments where the spirit of discernment can be utilized to help steer someone back to the right direction. By taking a quiet moment and reflecting on God and asking the Holy Spirit to guide the conversation, the gift of discernment can guide me to saying the right things- asking if the book can be pointed back to scripture for a basis. Or, I can use the gift of discernment to sense an unease- an ugliness about the book that might indicate that it was inspired by things not of heaven, and should be avoided as much as possible.
I can't even begin to number the situations where the gift of discernment could be applicable- in everyday situations and conversations... and now, now that I've been going through this season of teaching, I know exactly what "feelings" I'm looking for. I know that when that sense of unease and unrest are stirring up inside me, that it means something- that it's not just something in the back of my mind to be ignored. At the very least, it means to look closer and spend some time talking to God about it.
Do you know what the best part of this whole story is? Yes, the Holy Spirit has just spent the last several months teaching me about the gift of discernment, and yes, I am humbled by it. But do you know the greatest part? It's for you too.
"For God does not show favoritism." Romans 2:11 (NIV)
or in the Amplified version:
"For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another]." Romans 2:11 (AMP)
God is no respecter of persons. What He does for one man, He will do for another. God has seen fit to teach me this precious gift of the Holy Spirit, and He wants you to experience it too! How awesome is that! All you have to do is talk to God about it- be blunt and say "I want what she's got!" and it's yours! It's as simple as that!
Although, I pray that you don't have to go through nearly 8 months of home hunting to learn it. God loves you just as much as He loves me- and He wants you to have the tools you need to succeed in your walk with Him just as much as He wanted me to have them. God is a God of love, and where there is love- He is also.
"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8