Practicing Spiritual Discernment

We live in a time where we have plentiful access to spiritual direction, but not all of it is from God. A disciple of Jesus needs to practice spiritual discernment in confusing religious times. 

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

Not all “Christian” content comes from Christ.

Don’t Quench the Spirit (5:19)

  • The Greek word translated “quench” often refers to putting out a fire (cf. Mark 9:48; Heb. 11:34).
  • The Spirit of God provides motivation and direction for obeying the Word of God.
  • Don’t desensitize yourself to the Spirit’s leading by your habit of satisfying your flesh.

Don’t Despise Prophecies (5:20)

  • The Greek word translated “despise” often refers to looking down on something.
  • Prophecy can include telling the future – that which is predicted (foretelling) or possible (forth-telling).
  • Don’t despise good preaching just because bad preachers exist.

Don’t Accept Everything (5:21-22)

  • The Greek word translated “test” often refers to examining closely to determine its authenticity.
  • Don’t be quick to accept or reject something spiritual sounding until you’ve evaluated it against the standard.
  • Learn from what is helpful; discard what is harmful.

Those led by the Spirit welcome solid, biblical instruction and practice thorough, spiritual discernment.