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  • Writer's pictureJenna

Discernment is a Spiritual Gift - Part 2

Updated: Mar 29, 2022

When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. John 10:4-5

Truth Mixed with Error

False teaching can be subtle because often times it’s masked in a good amount of truth that is mixed with error. Because of this, people may let their guards down since they hear sections of truth within it; a sneaky trap for the undiscerning and those who don’t have the Holy Spirit to alert them of the error. After a while, the error in false teaching will begin to erode away at their minds and distort the truth that they may already know, sinking them into it even further, getting them to invest in it even deeper. This is because deception is often times progressive. The only way we are able to recognize the deception in false teaching is to be serious students of Scripture and to abide in God’s Word. Without first truly comprehending who Jesus is, what the pure Gospel is, and what Scripture teaches, we won’t ever be able to understand what false teaching is and how to recognize it. The way we fight error is with absolute Truth; the Word of God. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Thankfully, we’re not left by ourselves to study and interpret Scripture. God has given us the blessed gift of the Holy Spirit who teaches us about all things in every single aspect of life. He is our great teacher and helper who dwells within us as Christians. The Holy Spirit is also the One in us who gives us that desire to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and hunger and thirst after righteousness and divine wisdom. A person without the Holy Spirit has very little interest in what Scripture says, because Scripture can only be discerned, comprehended, and loved through the Spirit - and not by mere human intellect. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14). The natural mind is obstinate against God’s law; it cannot truly understand His Word nor accept it, let alone love it. However, true believers have been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). We have an anointing so that we have the ability to truly understand what God’s Word teaches (1 John 2:20). Christ says His sheep hear His voice, and they will not follow the voice of another (John 10:4-5). True believers will not be led into damning teaching, and if they are, the Holy Spirit will convict them, and God will bring them back to His flock.

False Teaching Stunts Growth, Biblical Truth Transforms

With the Holy Spirit, Christians will recognize that the fruit produced from false teaching will inevitably be bad, simply because bad trees cannot produce good fruit. And good trees cannot produce bad fruit (Matthew 7:18). The bad fruit that comes from false teachers won’t have the power to transform our hearts, feed our souls, or renew our minds. Neither will it safely guide us on the narrow path in this life in order to get to the narrow gate in the next life. False teaching will hook us in the short-term, but it will starve us in the long-term where we will keep coming back to breadcrumbs and an empty well. Satan promises all "great things," yet he never delivers. His promises only play to our fleshly and earthly desires. and anything we do get from Satan comes with a price to pay. The only place we can drink from the living waters and eat the bread of life is through Jesus Christ and His Word. “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst’” (John 6:35). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1). The thing is, even a little error mixed in with a lot of truth will only end up stunting our growth and leading us astray in the end.

The Holy Spirit Teaches You About Everything

The apostle John writes to us in his first letter about abiding in the Truth with the help of the Holy Spirit; the anointing we have received from God as His beloved children. 1 John 2:24-27 says, “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us - eternal life. I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no a lie - just as it has taught you, abide in him.” As we test doctrine with the help of the Holy Spirit we must ask, “Does this teaching lead me holiness? Does it teach correct Christology? Does it agree and align with the rest of Scripture? Does it teach submission to authorities or does it teach rebellion?”

Apart From Me You Can Do Nothing

In John 15:5, Jesus tells us that we as Christians are protected against deception. “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” As we abide in Christ and in His Word, the Holy Spirit who is our helper will protect us from deception and give us the ability to bear much fruit. Without the Holy Spirit and knowing God’s Truth for our lives, we are all sitting ducks for Satan’s layers of deception. Ephesians 4:14-15 says, may we no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him, who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.


Added Scripture:

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. Jeremiah 23:16

“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:16

But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 1 John 2:20

They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 1 John 4:5-6

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. Jeremiah 23:16

Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. John 8:47

"Walk as children of light for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true, and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them" Ephesians 5:8-10

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. Matthew 7:15-20


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