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Within the Christian life, there are many pillars of truth which are critical to our spiritual development and one of these is discernment. The word may have several meanings, but mostly it’s associated with having spiritual sensitivity.

Within the Biblical view it is used to identify whether something is good or evil and being able to interpret and understand God’s voice. You see, we cannot hear what He is saying if we are not walking close to Him or even aware of His presence. It’s elementary that the closer we are to God, the more clearly we will perceive what He wants us to do.

I’m convinced that becoming aware of God’s presence is the key to dwelling in His Spirit, which by the way is the foundation of our salvation. If we do not have any intention of walking in His Spirit, just what do we believe the Christian life is about? Grace does not mean we have been excused from the responsibility to walk holy, it’s an opportunity to know Him and develop an understanding of who He is.

With being surrounded by deception in this fallen world, we cannot overemphasize the importance of our ability to perceive what is going on around us. Recently, I found myself in a situation where I could have used a stronger sense of discernment, but discovered that my perception was lacking. Lets just say, I was approached by an individual through email who seemed to have good intentions.

They said they were a messenger of God and began to relay a few things that was supposedly from the Lord. It’s true, I’ve encountered people through the years who have prophesied to me and given me good advice, so I was not really alarmed. This person appeared intelligent and had some good things to say, however they also included certain ideas which I sensed were red flags. Nonetheless, we continued to exchange dialogue until I finally came to a point where I realized this was not exactly what I had hoped it would be.

Yes, I was disappointed that this was not one of those “once in a lifetime” spiritual experiences, but even more concerning, I realized that I should have had a stronger spiritual insight and recognized the signs much earlier than I did.

God’s word warns us that deception will increase and along with the chaos of so many conflicting voices, we should awaken to the fact that we need to know truth from error. So how do we maintain the intensity and enthusiasm of our relationship with God which will also keep our discernment on high alert? With perseverance and determination, we must see our need to abide with God as a lifestyle which is much deeper than just a religious ritual. It will require a fervent passion to be a constant reflection of His attributes.

This has everything to do with being obedient and willing to surrender our will to His control while allowing Him to renew our mind. What does renewing our mind mean? It’s submitting the independence of our thoughts and embracing His desire for our life. It’s learning what it means to love and trust Him with all of our mind, strength, and soul

Billy Holland writes a weekly column for HD Media. Visit billyhollandministries.com.