Spiritual Gifts aren’t just about how you serve others; they’re about how you explore your spirituality and live into your relationship with Jesus Christ. Our upcoming Gifted to Serve class on February 10 will help you better understand your gifts, ministry style, and personal passions. You will leave this class feeling empowered and energized to live the life to which God is calling you. Sign up for the class at tmumc.org/nextsteps and take the Gifted to Serve Discovery to start the process. You won’t regret it.
Today, let’s focus on the gift of discernment. This sounds like a tough one to wrap our heads around, but people with the gift of discernment are simply able to separate truth from falsehoods. Are you basically a human lie detector? Can you easily tell when you are being led astray and recognize when someone is trying to manipulate you? Are you vocal about sharing the truth, so others aren’t led astray? You might have the gift of parenting! Just kidding, parents may have this gift with their own kids – but if you have the gift of discernment, you have this super human ability with most people.
Here is how we define the gift of discernment:
Discernment allows us to focus on what is truly important and to ignore that which deflects us from faithful obedience to God. Discernment aids us in knowing whom to listen to and whom to avoid.
This gift helps congregations make good choices in selecting leaders, setting priorities, and analyzing how to accomplish tasks. Intuitive by nature, the gift of discernment safeguards the church leadership from making unwise decisions. Discernment is also a vital gift for settling disputes.
Alyssa Shibata is one of our Trietsch staffers who has the gift of discernment, and she has this to say about it.
“It’s always been very easy for me to tell when something is not quite right. It’s usually a feeling more than absolute knowledge of what the problem is. An example is I walked into a church a few months ago, and although there were nearly 1,000 people in the room – it felt completely empty. I think there was something negative going on in the life of that church. I don’t know what it was, but I knew after one visit that it wasn’t the right place for me.”
She goes on to say, “Sometimes I get caught up in pride and when someone tells me God is calling them to do something I think to myself, ‘I have the gift of discernment and I don’t think God wants you to do that…I think you want you to do that.’ And in that moment, I am misusing my gift. I am not listening and caring for this person the way God wants me to.”
The greatest goal for those with the gift of discernment is to use it through the lens of love. It’s not just about being able to see what is really happening in the world but respond with God’s love and grace in the situations that they see evil or false teachings at work.
Paul, Barnabas, Judas, and Silas from the book of Acts were great examples of leaders with the gift of discernment. They recognized when people within their own church were going out and misrepresenting the teachings of Jesus and followed behind them to correct the mistake. They didn’t condemn those who had taught wrong or grow angry with the people who weren’t living according the Jesus’s teachings. They simply went to set the record straight with love.
Discernment in Scripture
But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property; with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. “Ananias,” Peter asked, “why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, were not the proceeds at your disposal? How is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You did not lie to us but to God!” Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard of it. The young men came and wrapped up his body,[b]then carried him out and buried him.
After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter said to her, “Tell me whether you and your husband sold the land for such and such a price.” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Immediately she fell down at his feet and died. When the young men came in they found her dead, so they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear seized the whole church and all who heard of these things. – Acts 5:1-11 (NRSV)
“If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” – Acts 11:17 (NRSV)
“Since we have heard that certain persons who have gone out from us, though with no instructions from us, have said things to disturb you and have unsettled your minds, we have decided unanimously to choose representatives and send them to you, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials:” – Acts 15:24-28 (NRSV)
One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. – Acts 16:16-18 (NRSV)
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. – 1 John 4:1-6 (NRSV)
These are just a few ways you can serve at Trietsch with the gift of discernment:
- Board of Trustees Member
- Finance Committee Member
- Leadership Board Member
- Nominating Committee Member
- Social Media Coordinator
- SPRC Member
- Sports Ministry Board
If you have questions about spiritual gifts, where you can serve, or how your gift can be used outside of Trietsch, email Denise Robinson at email@example.com.