Discernment, the ability to rightly and accurately judge well in light of God's counsel, can be developed. Contrary to how some see it, the gift of discernment doesn't happen in the blink of an eye: it takes practice.
Views on Discernment
I've known people who view discernment as a mystical ability, like even when you see someone for the first time you already automatically know them, what they think, who they are, and what they do. Although God is capable of revealing one's heart issues to a prophet, the gift of discernment should not be confused with psychic mind-reading, which is false.
There are also some who think of discernment as a gift that can be instantaneously received through an encounter with God. People who think of discernment this way usually spend much time asking God for it, but don't read and obey their Bibles. That is also wrong.
Discernment is a gift, one that is developed through a deep relationship with God characterised by a disciplined adherence and dependence to His Word and the Holy Spirit. Charles Spurgeon once said, "Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right."
Do you want to be a discerning person, knowing how to tell the difference between right and the slightest hint of wrong that the devil so often embeds in an otherwise innocent truth? Here are some ways you can develop discernment.
1. Build Yourself Up in the Word of God
"I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you." (Psalm 119:11)
Andrew Fuller was a powerful man of God during his time, able to refute the false teachings of hyper-Calvinism and Sandemanianism. How did he do it? By loving the Word of God.
When we go deep in the Word of God, it becomes the basis for which we judge all other things.
Hebrews 4:12 tells us, "For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires."
2. Pursue Intimacy With God
Developing an intimate relationship with God requires that we pursue holiness (see Hebrews 12:14).
When we are able to build an intimate relationship with Him and seek Him and His plans, He will guide us and reveal to us things that only He knows.
Hebrews 4:13 tells us, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable."
3. Train Yourself to Know the Difference
Another way is through basic application of God's Word in everyday circumstance. When we apply God's Word in carefully testing if something is true and from God or not (see 1 John 4:1), we will be able to develop discernment in us.
"But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." (Hebrews 5:14)