Discernment is defined as “keen perception or judgment; insight.” The best way to gain discernment is through meditating upon the Bible and seeking God’s wisdom in prayer.
It’s so foolish to think that I have better insight into what’s best for me than God, who already knows my whole future. But I have a foolish nature and I often do think I know better than God, obviously, or I’d surrender to Him more quickly!
I have seen the power of prayer and waiting on the Lord, though. One assurance I’ve gained is that, when I’m truly seeking and desiring His will, He will help me to see through all my fears and sinful motives and find the right path, as long as I’m persistent in seeking His wisdom. He promised in chapter one of James that He will give wisdom when we ask for it, and that we only need to believe that we’ve received it and act upon it. He also promised to guide us. I’ve never been disappointed when I’ve prayerfully followed my “instincts.” He just keeps refining my insights until I’m on target.
I like what I learned from a children’s tape, once, about the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is knowing what to do. Wisdom is doing it. For example, you can know that it’s best to put on a seat belt when you get into a car, but you may ignore what you know. Wisdom is actually putting the seat belt on.
We can gain knowledge from many sources, but God gives us the wisdom to know how to apply that knowledge. He also gives us the grace needed to do it!
See under the category of Resources for a book I recommend on this subject.