Discernment is perception with a view to obtaining spiritual guidance and understanding. It’s a deeper awareness achieved by learning how to apply knowledge from the Scriptures. True discernment means being able to distinguish the right from the wrong; it means distinguishing the primary from the secondary, the essential from the indifferent, and the permanent from the transient. And, yes, it means distinguishing between the good and the better, and even between the better and the best.
While there’s much that can be done through the collective fellowship of the church to stimulate and encourage spiritual discernment (Hebrews 10:24), developing discernment is an individual commitment. George Eliot wrote, “The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice”. This means that you have to examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5) and train yourself (Hebrews 5:14). Additionally, discernment is forged, not in the classroom, but in the good and bad circumstances of life.
Paul commanded the Philippians to “abound more and more in all knowledge and discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent” (Philippians 1:9-10). Discernment helps us order our priorities, handle the trials and temptations of life, and protect us from Satan. Therefore, discernment will always boil down to making spiritually appropriate decisions and then (most importantly) applying them as you walk in Christ’s calling (Ephesians 4:1).