Discernment – Question and Answer

by Rayola Kelley

Q: After much prayer and time I feel that God keeps showing me something that is wrong with a certain ministry. But others do not agree (that I heard from God). How does a person know if their conclusion about something such as a ministry or leader is of God or not?

A:The fact that you have come to the same conclusion after much prayer does not mean it is of God. There are three main things that can influence the most sincere prayers. They are:

Wrong inclinations of the heart. These are made up of speculations that have formed a determination. This determination is nothing more than a presumption but is considered truth by the person. Presumptions will always lead a person back to the same conclusion, even in prayer. I know that at least 99% of my speculations are wrong because they are nothing more than vain imaginations. This is how I keep them in check and avoid taking them too seriously especially when I am praying.

Personal agendas. These are very sinister and idolatrous in nature. They may appear to be good and righteous but they are self-centered and self-serving. It is not unusual for people to adjust conclusions as well as truth to these agendas. We all have personal agendas, but we must recognize they belong to us and must be offered up at all times to insure God’s will in all matters.

Concepts. If a person has wrong concepts or notions about something then conclusions will always be interpreted within the boundaries of these notions.

Since you are concerned about a particular ministry, you might find that the confusion rests with your understanding of this ministry or how it presents itself. Many Christians have preconceived notions about ministry that are not scriptural but worldly.

For example, in America we judge the success of ministry based on size and numbers. Sadly, ministry has become nothing more than a sick means of accumulating masses of finances and followers. Through teaching and example, Jesus defined true ministry. He taught the masses, but salvation and ministry was always offered and imparted to one individual at a time. Therefore, we must not test a ministry by the standards of worldly success but whether or not the ministry is in God’s will and being faithful to minister to those God entrusts it with.

Ministry must never be deified by being considered more important than an individual person is. Ministry can take place anywhere there is hurting people. It must not be treated as an entity unto itself but rather as an avenue to reach out and touch lives with the reality of Christ.

It is not wise to measure leaders of ministries by their public image but rather by their private commitment to keep God’s heart, will and mind ever before them. These leaders’ authority must not be based on public exaltation or recognition but on private humility, submission and communion before God. I realize people mainly see the image, but in time a person ‘s fruits will reveal his or her private life with God.

You must also test the spirit behind everyone involved. If there are wrong inclinations, personal agendas or concepts they will not only taint a person’s perception but they will cause the individual to operate out of a wrong spirit. A wrong spirit leaves victims as it brings division, false accusation, hurt and unbearable burdens.

Your conclusions could be right, but I encourage you to test them according to these measures as they may help you come to a righteous judgment.