‘The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream… and… said, “Ask! What shall I give you?”’ (1 Kings 3:5 NKJV) Solomon said, ‘Give to Your servant an understanding heart to… discern between good and evil.’ (1 Kings 3:9 NKJV) Next, we read, ‘The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.’ (1 Kings 3:10 NKJV) But God wasn’t through talking to Solomon: ‘I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honour, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.’ (1 Kings 3:13 NKJV)
Discernment made Solomon one of the greatest kings ever. You have probably heard the saying ‘Go with your gut!’ Management consultant Robert Heller adds this advice: ‘Never ignore a gut feeling, but never believe that it’s enough.’ Discernment doesn’t rely on intuition alone, nor does it rely solely on intellect or experience.
The writer of Proverbs says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.’ (Proverbs 3:5–6 NKJV) There are two kinds of discernment: natural discernment and spiritual discernment. One can fail you—the other won’t. When natural discernment can’t take you a step further, spiritual discernment enables you to keep going with faith and confidence. How will you recognise the difference? James tells us, ‘The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.’ (James 3:17 NKJV) Can you imagine such a life? The good news is—you can have it!