Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Every spiritual gift is given to us by the Holy Spirit as He wills. Though it is not our choice as to what spiritual gifts we have, we should pray for and seek to develop and cultivate all the spiritual gifts in our lives and in the church. The wisdom gifts include the gifts of discernment, knowledge, and wisdom. These gifts used properly in the life of the church can bring great edification to the church and can contribute to the mission of the church.
Discernment. The gift of discernment is often described as the gift of ‘discerning spirits’ or the ability to ‘distinguish between spirits.’ We see this gift listed in 1 Corinthians 12:10. The word ‘discernment’ comes from the Greek word ‘diakrisis’ which means, to distinguish, discern, judge, or appraise a person, statement, situation, or environment. The Holy Spirit gives this gift to mature believers in the church. Those with this gift are able to warn believers in time of danger and keep them from being led astray by false teaching. 1 John 4:1 tells us to test what you hear and determine whether or not it is of God. Malachi 3:18 teaches that we are to discern between the righteous and unrighteous. Considering the definition of discernment, let’s examine how this gift can be used in the life of the church. (1) Discerning people. Those with the gift of discernment are able to discern whether or not someone is genuine. They have the unique ability to read people. They are good at interpreting the motives of others. Such an ability is needful in the church to provide guidance and warning concerning who can be trusted. There are times when we make mistakes because we did not practice good discernment. It is good to have those people in the church to slow us down and help us think through the actions that we are considering. We should lean on those who are able to discern people and heed their warnings. (2) Discerning statements. Those with the spiritual gift of discernment are able to discern what people mean by what they say. They are good observers of not just the words people say, but also their body language. They are able to discern whether a statement is true or false. They are also able to discern if a statement made has an ulterior motive. (3) Discerning situations. Those with the gift of discernment have the ability to discern whether or not a particular situation is good or bad. They are able to assess a situation and give guidance on how one should respond. (4) Discerning environments. Have you ever walked into a church and was able to sense if there was a good or bad spirit in the church? Have you walked into a church and was able to sense if the environment was honoring to God or not? If so, then you may have the spiritual gift of discernment. Those with the spiritual gift of discernment are able to sense the presence of God in a place or the lack of it. They are also able to sense if there is an evil spirit or some type of stronghold present. Those with the gift of discernment are very spiritual people that are able to determine if a person, statement, situation, or environment is right with God or not.
Knowledge. I Corinthians 12:8 says that the Holy Spirit gives to some the gift of knowledge. The spiritual gift of knowledge is the ability to speak knowledge to others in a given situation. The Holy Spirit gives this gift to some believers in order to inform the church. Those with this gift is well-versed in the scriptures and they are very knowledgeable of God’s Word. They are able to understand truth and can apply it to a given situation. Those with the gift of knowledge are able to relate the scriptures to all aspects of life. They understand how the scriptures connect to every circumstance and situation in our lives. Those with the gift of knowledge is needful in the church to help us stay focused on what is right and true. Knowledge is something we should all pursue. We should be life-time students, always learning and always growing. In Hosea 4:6 we see strong words from the Lord warning us concerning the lack of knowledge. We cannot expect God’s favor on us if we forget or reject His Word. We should all grow in the knowledge of God’s Word.
Wisdom. The spiritual gift of wisdom is also found in 1 Corinthians 12:8. The spiritual gift of wisdom is very similar to the gift of knowledge. The Greek word for wisdom is ‘sophia’ and it means to have an intimate understanding of God’s Word and His commandments which results in holy and upright living. In regards to wisdom as a spiritual gift, wisdom is the ability to speak life into someone or to a specific situation. Those with the gift of wisdom are able to guide others in a life of holiness. Wisdom does not end with knowledge, rather, it is able to guide others to be transformed by the knowledge of God’s Word. Those with the spiritual gift of wisdom are able to use the power of God’s Word to transform the lives of others. Look at 1 Corinthians 1:17-31. Here we learn the foolishness of the world’s wisdom compared to the wisdom that comes from God. Those with the gift of wisdom do not yield to the foolishness of the world. They rely on the power of God. It is the power of God in them along with their knowledge of His Word that produces Godly wisdom that they use to impart in the lives of others. The wisdom they give leads others to Godly living and steers them away from the things of this world.
What about you? Has the Holy Spirit given you the wisdom gifts? Do you have discernment, knowledge, and wisdom? If so, look for ways you can use these gifts for the edifying of the church and the advancement of God’s Kingdom. Pray that God will give you these gifts so that you can guide others to a transformed life in Christ Jesus.