Posts tagged #4 factors of discernment

Jackie's Journey "How Observant are You?


I have always loved the promise of Proverbs 14: 33.

“Wisdom reposes (rests) in the heart of the discerning woman”…

The word that stands out to me in this verse is “discerning”.   I want to be a wise, godly woman…a worthy disciple of the cross, don’t you?

Recently I had the opportunity to open my home to a young lady from out of state for a week or so.  Wanting her to be comfortable and open to talk to me I engaged her in multiple conversations regarding her spiritual condition and the condition of her marriage.  When the time came for her to leave I had grown to love her and I was encouraged.

My encouragement was short lived; however, when a few weeks later I received news that she had left her husband and had returned to her life in the world.  Had I missed her bottom line need or was she just bent on her own way and had no ears to hear?  “The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is the knowledge of our own ignorance”!  Charles Spurgeon

 I can hear you busy moms out there saying, “This is the problem.  Discernment is a word that is ethereal in my understanding and wrapped in what looks like a lot of time and work.  Don’t get me wrong.  I want the wisdom that comes from it.  I need the wisdom…I’m a MOM!“ 

 What is a discerning woman, anyway?

 As a mom and a Pastor’s wife I have had the opportunity of listening to a multitude of problems and needs.  Being objective is easier when it is not an unresolved issue in my own home.  Hearing the words spoken to me and knowing from whence the complaint is originating is often a conundrum that leaves me stammered at times.  Discerning between what has been superficially stated and recognizing the root cause to find a solution is the challenge!  Discernment is a God-given ability to understand why things happen.  I Samuel 16:7

“God never gives us discernment in order to criticize,

but that we would intercede.”  Oswald Chambers

“Discernment incorporates four important factors:

1)   Learning to operate within my aptitudes (abilities, skills, talents, gifts…) to look beneath the surface of a problem.  It takes time to find the underlying problem, as opposed to making a judgment on surface words and manifestations.

2)    Learning to detect the true wishes and feelings of others (and be brave enough to speak truth when rejection is on the other side of the door!).

3)    Knowing what to look for in assessing the needs of people, problems and things. The addict on the corner that thinks his need is money for a fix is blind to his real need.

4)    Knowing if God wants me to reach out and then, harmonizing with His timing to meet the need.  It is nearly impossible these days to engage in any conversation without sensing someone’s need.  It is important to listen for His leading.” (Institute of Basic Youth Conflicts with added emphasis)

We are known and read by almost everyone we talk to. (II Cor. 3:3)  We are reading facial expressions, attitudes and actions of others continually.  We are aware of the way people respond to us.  We are exceptionally self-sensitive.  We, women, are the observers in life…on the playground, in the park, in the grocery store, post office, Bank, Church, Bible Study, Child Care facility, school…. everywhere we go… we can’t help ourselves…

We moms are forever being called upon to discriminate between right and wrong, settling family issues with our husband or with fussing children.  We are particular with whom we trust our children when we are not present.  We know the safe places to walk our little ones and we are alert to dangers inside and out of every environment.  Need I go on…?

Discernment is not new to us.  What is new is taking what is God-given intentionally purposing to use it for the benefit of another person and the glory of God!  He says, “If we lack wisdom to ask of Him…

Will you pray this prayer with me?

Lord, I want to pray this promise of your Word into my life.  To be wise I must be discerning and your spirit must teach me how to use all my God-given abilities to become that woman of discernment for the benefit of others and for your glory.  Teach my heart, Lord…Phil. 1: 9-10


~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.