Discernment is greatly missing in today’s Christianity in America. I also believe it is one of the reasons we have a divine healing drought going on in this country. It is definitely one of the missing pieces of the puzzle. Discernment is simply tapping into the desire and direction of God.
The book of Acts gives a very clear transition from pre to post Pentecostal experience. The Apostles drew lots in Acts 1:26 to choose the replacement for Judas before the day of Pentecost. After Pentecost, this practice was never mentioned again. Instead, when we go to Acts chapter 16, we see two enlightening examples of how the Holy Spirit gave Paul discernment on how to handle situations. First, in Acts 16:6-12 during Paul’s second journey, he tried to enter a certain part of Asia to preach the Gospel, but was forbidden by the Holy Spirit. Instead, he was given discernment in a vision to sail on to a certain part of Europe and preach the Gospel there. Later, in Acts 16:16-18, he was followed and badgered by a possessed woman for several days until, through discernment, it was time to turn around and cast the demon out of her. Discernment was vital in Paul’s life.
There were no generic formulas when it came to miracles and healings as they are recorded in Scripture. Each case was specific. No one can claim to have the gift of healing without having Holy Spirit discernment. When someone who has the gift of healing encounters someone who needs a healing, they immediately seek discernment on how to speak and pray for the individual. It is not a cookie cutter routine to be carried out.
I have a book on the healing ministry of a great man of God from this past century. It is written in the first person. It was amazing how he was totally dependent on the discernment God gave him. The stories are incredible and give great insight how God healed. Each incident is unique and fascinating.
Even though discernment is a necessity to accompany those who have the gift of healing, it is something all Christians should have. All Christians are designed to possess both discernment and the anointing, but not all reach out to possess them. The anointing is simply God’s stamp of approval along with the power to perform. The anointing goes hand-in-hand with discernment. The seven sons of Sceva in Acts 19:11-16 soon learned that doing things in the name of Jesus was not enough when dealing with the forces of hell. The demons knew who the seven sons of Sceva actually were and they knew they lacked the Holy Ghost power like what Paul and Jesus possessed. It’s not just being saved that makes you anointed. Jesus made it clear that when dealing with the spiritual realm, other factors are involved (Matthew 17:21).
The Christian life should not stop at just reading the Word, praying, and going to church (Acts 2:42-43). To be a dynamic force in the kingdom of God, you need to have discernment and the anointing. If you do not possess them, I encourage you to desire them now. It will transform your life. All Christians should be continuously seeking for all that God has to offer. As the US Army motto is ‘Be All You Can Be’!