How Do You Know if You Have the Gift of Discernment?


Spritual Gift of Discernment

I don’t know about you, but I am intrigued with the spiritual gifts that God grants to every believer.

The Gift of Discernment is just one of many gifts of the Spirit. In this writing, I will list the manifestations of the Gift of Discernment. I hope to help you identify if you possess this gift and, if you do, to Glorify the God who entrusted you with it.

I will also list some of the other spiritual gifts. As you browse through these gifts from God, take note of His graciousness and goodness. It is God who enables us to minister and bless with the gifts He has given His children.

Other Spiritual Gifts

Just like the physical body has different parts and all of them work together (the hand combs the hair, feeds the body, satisfies the itch - the feet carry the body where it must go - the eyes show us what we need to see etc;) so is with spiritual gifts. Here are some scriptures listing the Spiritual Gifts God bestows on His children:

  • I Corinthians 12:27-28 lists:Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first, apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of healing (service) of guidance and of different kinds of tongues.
  • Romans 12:5-8 lists: So in Christ, we who are many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach, if it is encouraging, let him encourage, if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously, if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
  • I Cor. 12 1-14 lists: Wisdom, knowledge, discerning of spirits (human, angelic, demonic), speaking in Tongues, interpretation of Tongues, prophecy, Faith, working of miracles, healing.
  • Ephesians 4:11 lists: Apostolic, Prophetic, Evangelical, Pastoral, and Teaching.

God gives different gifts to each of His children to minister and complement the various needs of the body of Christ.

Some of his children are entrusted with one spiritual gift, others are blessed with several spiritual gifts. Each of us is accountable to use the gift(s) God gave us to bless others and to glorify Him.

Some of the gifts God entrusts to us are plain to see and easily identified by others. Other spiritual gifts, like the gift of a servant, are not so quickly identifiable. These inconspicuous spiritual gifts do not draw attention to the person who carries it; in fact, they often go unnoticed by people but never to the God who gave them the gift.

A spiritual gift is a trust ... a sacred trust that God has given to every believer.

Each spiritual gift is clearly identifiable.

As you read the list above, quoted from scripture, did you recognize one or more unique characteristics that are active and evident in your life?

It is important for every believer to know what their spiritual gift is so they can glorify God and use it to minister to others. Knowing your gift is just the beginning. Understanding it's manifestations and how to use it takes insight and discernment.

Your gift was given to you so you might minister to the body of Christ and win others to Him.

To demonstrate the manifestation of a spiritual gift, I will illustrate by story and application for four of the gifts.

  • The gift of mercy,
  • The gift of helps
  • The gift of teaching
  • The gift of a prophet

Gift of Mercy: Let me tell you about my friend Betsy. Betsy has the gift of mercy. When you tell Betsy about a hurt in your life her face expresses deep empathy and compassion, you can literally watch it rising within her. Betsy feels your pain and may even cry with you. People feel understood when they share their hearts with Betsy; they feel loved too by a genuine heart of caring. Betsy shares her time and attention freely. When you need a friend, Betsy is your girl. Betsy must learn, though, to guard her heart. As Betsy’s heart of compassion fills with hurt, it is easy for her to pick up and carry pain. She must learn to turn those cares over to Jesus or other people’s pain will consume her.

Gift of Helps: Sharon serves with her whole heart. It is a natural thing to her. When Tommy spills the milk, she is the first one to jump up, grab a towel and sop up the mess. Sharon does not draw attention to herself but quietly does what God called her to do - serve. When she sees a need her servant's heart goes after it, meeting that need.

Gift of Teaching: Tony has the gift of teaching. His gift enables him to take a tough concept and break it down into a thought that is easy to grasp. He also has an uncanny ability to tell stories and give examples which help people to embrace the practical application and apply it to their life. The gift of teaching makes Tony a powerful influence. People seek Tony out for wisdom and insight. He is also a popular speaker because his gift is appreciated and recognized by the body of Christ.

Gift of Prophecy: Jody has the gift of a prophet. She is a truth teller and is likely to be one of the first to speak up in any given situation. Jody voices herself, particularly when discerning any injustice. Jody doesn't always seek to be a public figure but offers counsel and explains the exact issue that needs to be addressed. She will also follow up to make sure her guidance is adhered.

Did you see yourself in any of these attributes? Know that God will use your spiritual gift (as His hands, feet, and mouth) to share the good news and to bless many. There are more spiritual gifts listed in Scripture, but the purpose here is reveal there are many gifts of the Spirit.

Do you see your Gift?
Do you see your Gift? | Source

Gifted with Discernment?

How do you know if you have the gift of discernment? Here’s a hint. Those who possess the spiritual gift of discernment can see right through smokescreens and obstacles as they uncover the truth.

The source of the gift of discernment is God. Discernment springs from the truth taught in His word. The insights that come from discernment stem from solid knowledge, understanding, and a firm belief in God's word.

Let me share some manifestations of the gift of Discernment. If you have this gift the following expressions will ring true to you:

  • Are you passionate about truth?
  • When you are placed in a situation where discernment is needed, do you experience an uncanny sense of knowing?
  • Does scripture flood your mind as you weigh the happenings?
  • Do you read between the lines?
  • Are you gifted with the ability to uncover wrong or evil?
  • Do you expose lies and bring them into the light of sound reason and truth?

If this depiction of discernment describes you, thank God for entrusting you with this extraordinary gift. There are many ways to use this ability. If you possess the gift of discernment, you will have the aptitude to minister as:

  • a counselor – adept at exposing the missing piece that stands in the way of healing
  • arbitrator – brings resolution and peace, between parties, by shedding a light on the truth, in the midst of a dispute
  • decision maker – see’s the answer and quickly moves from a decision to an action
  • the person in leadership – knows how to lead and discerns pitfalls and strengths in team members

Every Church is blessed with members who possess the gift of discernment. God uses those gifted to discern truth from lies; pure motives from evil intentions; and to help to settle disputes by communicating a clear picture of what the truth looks like.


Beware of Arrogance

If you have been gifted by God with the gift of Discernment beware of the dangers that come when that gift is used apart from God. Arrogance is a sure sign you are not submitted to His Lordship, nor have you recognized that it is God Himself who blessed you and desires to use your gift for His honor and glory.

A warning comes with each gift. A gift from God, not totally submitted to God and the Holy Spirit, can be misused.

Those who have been gifted with discernment may be tempted to feel superior because of their keen insights. They may be tempted to take personal credit rather than to glorify the one who gave them this gift. It is God who enables His child to discern more clearly than most.

Beware of pride, arrogance and the pitfalls of claiming the gift as inherent to you rather than bestowed on you by God.

A spiritual gift is a treasure to be cherished. Use it to honor God and bless the people He brings into your life.

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This Article on the Gifts of the Spirit

  • Helped me identify my gift
  • Made me want to dig deeper so I can use the gift God gave me
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Comments 37 comments

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 7 days ago from Michigan Author

John, Scary? How so??

John Hampton 10 days ago

Very scary teaching indeed...

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 months ago from Michigan Author

diane, the best answer I can give you is to ask God how you can minister to others using your gift. Whenever you serve the Lord there will be opportunities to speak truth into situations and to walk people through the process that reveals Truth. I agree with you, our time on earth is short. Seek the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. Prov. 3:5-6.

God Bless you,


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 3 months ago from Michigan Author

Hello Blessed Mama! I'm so glad that God drew you back to His heart and to His word too. It is through the Word we gain discernment. Anything that conflicts with the Word of God is not discernment. According to John 15:5 "Apart from Him we can do nothing." So God is the one who gives discernment. ;) I have no way of knowing if your feelings indicate the gift of discernments. Does your sense of truth and your feelings often prove true? Are there many instances when your inkling proves to be true through the person being exposed. Ask God to show you if what you experience is discernment. He will answer such a prayer. Thanks for dropping by for a read. May God use you as you are drawing near to Him. :)

God Bless and Keep you Close to His heart!

Mekenzie 3 months ago

Hi, I have the gift of discerment and i believe other gifts as well. Ive been asking God to use me as he will. My question is, if I am waiting on my asingment from God, how do I use my gift to help others in the meantime? I feel time on earth is running out and I want to help as many as I can. Thank you for your advice

Blessed mama 3 months ago

I was told a long time ago I have this gift. Just resentlywas drawn back k to God and church and the word. .I have felt thing s about people all the time. I can feel all of a sodden really dirty while standing in line at the store. Like someone is thinking dirty thought s. I also can feel when I can trust someone or if what they're saying is in truthful. Is this diserment?

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 4 months ago from Michigan Author

Hi Kat, Welcome! I am encouraged to hear that you have given your life to Jesus Christ and are on an adventure. He is worthy of all praise and honor and glory. :) The best way I know to help you understand more of the specifics of the gift is discernment is to send you to an article by a very gifted Bible teacher, John MacArthur. Here is a link, I pray you find answers to those questions in his article. God Bless you and use your gift(s) of the Spirit for His honor and Glory. Mekenzie

Kat2016 4 months ago

Hello. I believe I have this gift and I'm hoping for some guidance. Since I gave my life to Jesus Christ, there have been a few times in the past that I have seen demons on people or something like a "dark shroud" around a person. I am usually quick to spot a phony or see through a person's lies or what are the intentions behind a person's words. I also have experienced other things that I am not sure if its discernment or some other gift. I have noticed that quite often I will "sense" in my spirit when something is about to happen. Usually its something negative or a dangerous type of situation. Its like a sudden heaviness or restlessness that comes in my spirit all of a sudden and will badger me and get worse and worse to the point that it feels like I have a bubble in my spirit that is about to burst. When it gets to that point I pray and ask God what it is going on and he ALWAYS shows me. The situation will suddenly occur out of nowhere at that point. When the situation comes to pass, the feeling then goes away and I know that is what I was sensing. I'm not sure if I'm sensing something in the spirit realm or if that is some type of prayer burden. There have also been a couple of other times where I just had a "knowing" of what a person was about to do and they did it. I had no other way knowing. There was nothing they did that made me know they were going to do something. I just knew. I saw into their spirit with my own spiritual eyes. Or I guess I could say the Holy Spirit highlighted something in their spirit that he wanted me to know. I'm not sure what this is. I would greatly appreciate any information as it does make me feel a little awkward to go and talk to a Pastor about it.

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 13 months ago from Michigan Author

Sandy, When God gifts one of his children with the gift of discernment know that this gift will never contradict what God says in His word. The person entrusted with discernment must humble himself before God and ask to be a pure vessel whom He can use for His honor and glory. "Every good and perfect gift comes from above" James 1:17. God is the giver of all good and perfect gifts.

May God use the gift of discernment in your life to bless and draw many to His heart. Thank you for sharing!

God Bless You!


Sandy 13 months ago

For. Long time I was told if you have something like this it was the devil's work and you would go to hell. I fought this for many years. I have been called a know it all. Its been very difficult for me because satin has been messing with me for a long time. At times I thought I was loosing my mind. I started looking things up and trying to understand what has been happening to. I would say to myself that I wss cursed with knowing , feeling ,& seeing things. I cried alot .Its not till now that i have come to know I am not crazy and I was given these gifts for a reason. I am ready to embrace and move forward. I have helped my people.I can be anywhere and the feeling get stronger and i have to just say something to a total stranger and their response is how do you know this. My mother had these gifts and more. Reading all these comments today has let me know when people dont understand these gifts they have the tendency to say its eveil.Thank all of you and God bless all of you.

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 2 years ago from Michigan Author

Linda, As I read your comment I sensed a spirit of humility in your words and attitudes. You understand that the gift is just that .. a gift given by God to be used in the building up of the saints.

One of the tell tale signs of that gift is the discomfort and prompting of the spirit when the word is not fully revealed or when it gets twisted or interpreted through man's opinion. You understand that God's word is truth and everything else must be measured against it.

May God continue to use you as you bless others with the gift of discernment.

God Bless and Keep you close to His heart!


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 2 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi Madeline, Glad God used this article to reveal a gift He has given you. There are many spiritual gifts and I'd really like to do an article on each one. It is amazing to think that God gifts us so that we can minister to the body of Christ - He uses us!

Thanks for stopping by and sharing. I'm excited to know that you are waiting on Him to reveal how He will use the gift.

God Bless!


Madeline 2 years ago

WOW...grateful for this post. Linda, I can't tell you how much you described how I feel sometimes. I recently put two and two together and realized that God has been trying to reveal that this is a gift from Him and that I shouldn't look at it as a burden. I am just waiting on the Lord to see in what ways the He wants to use me with this gift He has blessed me with...thank you all for sharing your experiences!

Spirit48 profile image

Spirit48 2 years ago from Castleton, NY

Thank you for your response, Mekenzie! The Spirit is indeed a Gift we need to shout from the roof tops about. Thank you for highlighting the importance for us to be in touch with the Holy Spirit in our lives. I promise prayer for those who the Spirit will touch through your words and actions, and I ask that you do as well for me. Thanks again!

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 2 years ago from Michigan Author

Hello Spirit, Your comment caused me to go back and do some clarification in this hub - Thank you! :) I agree we all were given the Holy Spirit who grants discernment to each of God's children.

I also believe, as listed in the scriptures I highlight, that it is clear that God chooses an extra portion, of a particular gift, for each of His children. It is a clearly identifiable gift from God. Romans 12:5 "So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts according to the grace given us."

Thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights. God bless you for serving in ministry - you are in a position to lead and teach many.


Spirit48 profile image

Spirit48 2 years ago from Castleton, NY

Well done! I just would share one insight I have learned and most assuredly believe: The Gift of Discernment is given to everyone. The Holy Spirit is with each of us and wants to communicate to us every single day. Unfortunately, in our secular world, many do not turn to the Spirit for guidance. I do think too, that there is a great need for trained spiritual guides to help people learn how to use the Gift they have been given, i.e., how to discern with the Spirit. Many do not know they even have this Gift, but we all have it, from the moment of our Baptism.

I work in vocation ministry and see the great need we have to lead others to know how to pray, how to listen to God and how to be in tune and in touch with the Spirit in their lives. Blessing!

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 2 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi Shelly, Interesting question. First, I don't recommend always telling people any time you see they are in error. Before speaking into another's life, I feel we must care about them and they must know us well enough to trust our heart and motivation for sharing.

If the receiver believes we speak out of love in order to help - not to harm them; They are more apt to receive what we have to say - the hearer will grow as a result of a revelation given from a friend who cares. Make sense?

Thanks for the comment and visit. Happy Thanksgiving!


shelly 2 years ago

I just want to know how can I go up to someone and tell them it's a error .Then tell them this is what I see and go from there .I have done that and people get very offencive.I guess what I want to know is there a way that I can go about it in a better way .

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Linda, I appreciate hearing from someone who has been entrusted by God with the gift of discernment. I have observed that there seem to be levels or depth's with this gift. God calls us all, as believer's, to be discerning. The Holy Spirit gives us discernment when we seek wisdom and to see as He sees. But there are those, like you, who can look at a person and see inside their heads, so to speak. My daughter also has this gift and is rarely wrong. I have learned to listen to her when flags go off in her spirit.

I appreciate the extra insight of how this gift is perceived by others .. you are right, it is not politically correct to stand for truth in this day and age.

As believers we desire the Truth of God and our spirit longs to live in that truth. I am glad you pointed out the importance of knowing the word of God and having a solid grasp of Theology. Staying close to God is the only way to have peace and success in this life .. He is the vine, we are the branches ... without Him we can do NOTHING!

You've raised some important questions. How does God want us to use the gift He gave us? When do we expose the truth and when do we turn to God in fervent prayer on their behalf. How do we balance love and truth? Gal. 6:1 says "If someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted."

Oh that we would have a heart like this: Psalm 141:5 "Let a righteous man strike me--it is a kindness; let him rebuke me--it is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it. Yet my prayer is ever against the deeds of evildoers;"

I am glad you are not tempted with pride ... your own self examination is refreshing. I have known people to be arrogant with whatever gift God has bestowed upon them. "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

Thank you for giving further insight as one who knows.

God Bless you and Grant you JOY!


Linda 4 years ago

I've known for a long time that Discernment is my gift, although Satan did a fantastic job of making it a curse for a long time before I understood the truth! Very little is said about this gift in the Bible, and even less is written accurately about it. You've come closer than anyone I've read thus far. :-)

It's both a blessing and a great burden, because we sense, feel and know what's wrong with things--and people never like having it pointed out! Especially in this day and age when "positive thinking," political correctness and tolerance are expected of everyone, it's easier for most people to have the truth simply swept under the rug. Tolerance trumps truth.

And since these behavioral expectations are equally alive and well within most churches--where this gift is intended to be used--the net result is often hostility, discomfort and rejection, regardless of how gently observations may be made. I generally say very little, resorting to fervent prayer instead. It's still difficult, though, because I can't help looking "into" people instead of at them, regardless of how much I may want to (!) . . . they are often uncomfortable just meeting me (and don't have any idea why). I am also uncomfortable meeting people, as well, because I may look into their eyes and simply "know" that they have a deep problem with anger or pornography, or are hiding a dark secret, etc., etc. I may pass a complete stranger on the street and feel the full weight of their sorrow in a single glance.

I was joking with my Mother this week that I often feel like the Old Testament prophets who wandered around pointing out error and making predictions of doom and gloom (because we often see the future effect of current action as well). There is an uncomfortable parallel, truth be told (pun intended). :-)

I have read a few people now, who warn about arrogance as a potential pitfall, but I doubt it would be an issue, because we not only see the truth in others, we see it in ourselves! We can't escape it (how I'd love a vacation!) I know a number of people who share Discernment as a gift, and we all actually share something of a lack of value in our self-perceptions. In fact, we're probably much more likely to tell you all about our flaws, because they are part of the truth about us. (and I firmly believe that we all SHOULD be doing that. We are supposed to be bearing one anothers' burdens)

Lastly, the one thing absolutely everyone misses when they talk about this gift is that we are targets of Satan. The reason why is obvious, but spiritual oppression is simply a given. For anyone else similarly afflicted, music (good music) is an excellent help. A deep knowledge of Scripture and a solid grasp of Theology is also essential. Our "gut" is rarely wrong, but it's still wise to seek wisdom and Biblical principals. Staying close to God is also vital.

My heart goes out to others who know first-hand about the gift of Discernment. It's a hard one to bear, and if you have it, you understand . . . we're never going to be popular!

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Yes I see it too - Kindred Spirits. Thank you for reading and adding to this hub. It is amazing how God works in and through us to bring us to the place where we see everything we have, every gift we possess comes from HIS hand in our lives "Every good and perfect gift comes from above." I continue to be amazed at God's patience with us. He has been working His will in me, in a profound way,this past year too. He continually teaches me that HE is God and I am not. As I absorb that truth I am able to let go of my own so called 'wisdom, understanding, insight etc.' and that is when the gifts He bestowed are used to bless.

I'm going to go to your hubs now and read about God speaking to you through your IPOD .. I'm intrigued and can't wait to hear your story.

God Bless you friend!


The Stages Of ME profile image

The Stages Of ME 4 years ago

Mekenzie ~

Loved this Hub again I find you very similar in thought to me. So proving God places others in our path. My favorite part of this was when you discussed pride. I was just thinking today about how people compliment me on certain things I say or do. I usually credit God and say thank you God for the words or ironically discernment to know what to do. My personal prayer is for daily discernment on His plan for my life. I feel the Holy Spirit in such a profound way this past year. My recent Hub discussed how I felt God was speaking to me through my IPOD. I know that may sound silly but I know you get it! Thank you for sharing and for reminding all of us to remember where all the credit lies. I heard today those who are so confident by their works to meet the Lord on judgement day. Should be humbled to know the best we can hope for is to be considered a good and faithful servant. Anything more would be pride. I hope we can all have the discernment to know the difference. God Bless

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Alexis, The information above was written to help you determine if you have the gift of discernment. Read the part "Gifted with Discernment." Does that help?

God Bless You!


alexis 4 years ago

I never knew what this was till my coworker started telling her mom about me and they said i am this but i have some doubts. Do you know of anyone i could see to tell me if i am or not? Thanks

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Hi DeBorrah, so nice of you to stop by and read one of my older hubs. As I read it, I realized it needs some editing .. most of my time writing is spent in editing .. doing my best to be as clear as I know how. I love the study of the gift's of the spirit. Been quite awhile since I've written on the Hubs .. rarely have time these days. God will make a way when it is time.

God Bless you Sister!


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 5 years ago

Mekenzie, This is a wonderful hub! Very insightful! Thank you for sharing, Peace & Blessings! God Bless You!

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Hey Becky, Thanks for stopping by for a read and a word of encouragement.

God Bless YOU too!


Becky Puetz profile image

Becky Puetz 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Awesome Hub detailing the spiritual gift of discernment. Thanks for sharing. God bless

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 6 years ago from Michigan Author

heart .. we need each other in the body of Christ .. one is not better than the other .. as you say counterbalance .. we need each other! Thanks for your comments. :0)


heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

Yes, this is just one of the Spiritual Gifts. It is so awesome how God uses each of our gifts to compliment the other:) Even counterbalance our gifts, so that not one is more important than the other, as you mentioned. Great Hub, nice seeing a simple list, to question if you do have this gift of discernment:) God Bless You!

SL Perrin profile image

SL Perrin 6 years ago from South Carolina

Well said sister in Christ. I much enjoyed this piece. Feel free to read any of the hubs I have. Thanks for sharing.

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thank you dear Skye for dropping by to read the hub. Thanks for the sweet encouragement. I am so glad our paths have crossed too and look forward to following your journey through your hubs. Blessings dear one.

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skye2day 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

Glory to God. This is a beautiful, very nice, honest,sincere hub.The words flow like fresh living water..It is awesome our paths have crossed. I see we have a mutual friend mattv.Keep writing girlfriend, Christ is going to use you in a mighty way. Glory to him. You are precious. Nighty Nite.

In Joy + + +

Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 6 years ago from Michigan Author

and the two shall become one... isn't it awesome how God puts two together to complement and complete each other.... also how, in the body of Christ, we are interdependant on one another to carry out our ministry here on earth. God Bless you Lori as you use your gifts for God's Glory!

loriamoore 6 years ago


When I took the spiritual gift assessment, discernment was toward the bottom of the list, so I have to be careful and am glad that my husband is more gifted in that area. My top five were administration, teaching, knowledge, faith, and service.


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 6 years ago from Michigan Author

thank you matt - I wish you a very Merry Christmas as well. We will be having the whole family over and we always have a wonderful time. Blessings!

matt6v33 profile image

matt6v33 6 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

stopped by to wish you and your loved one a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. also thanks for sharing theee above.. nice.. very nice...

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