The dearth surrounding discernment in the Body of Christ today is not
because there are few with the gift. Rather it is because the number of those who actually function in the gift are few, and those who function in the gift with accuracy and excellence are even fewer. But regardless of whether we have the gift of discernment or not, it is the responsibility of each Follower to grow in the basic areas of common discernment, of which there is also a dearth.
The area most challenging to nurture, is the area of personal common discernment. This is the ability to hear or perceive the Shepherd as He speaks to our individual heart. The primary way He does this is through the spiritual illumination that comes by reading the Word and listening. Everyone has a different and individual starting level of ability to hear the Shepherd speak in our heart. For example, those with the spiritual gift of discernment have a definite initial advantage to hear and recognize His voice over those who don’t, however, it is not the ability to hear, but rather the responsibility to listen that is the level playing field for all.
The more that we read and listen, the more we become familiar with how he illuminates and speaks to our heart, and then our ability to perceive Him generally becomes easier. Growth in personal discernment is not always a linear progression, but in this case, the ability to hear His voice is an essential key that will bring balance to the other areas of discernment, and precedes the ability to distinguish between His voice. We cannot distinguish between sounds that we cannot hear. John 10:27 says .. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me..” Like common sense, sometimes common discernment is not so common. The challenging part for most, is that it takes time and practice to learn how to hear well. T. Long