Christian discernment depends on a clear grasp of reality. Without this our perspective on life is, to some degree, distorted. A distorted vision makes discernment difficult. The options available to us from which we can choose will be skewed. This is why Christian discernment makes such a big deal of seeing what is ‘really real’ as best we can. How does one become sensitized to see reality well? Spiritual formation is the answer.

Before moving to the positive, Christian spiritual formation makes it clear that at least 9 ‘passions’ (as Evagrius called them) manipulate human perception and distort reality. These 9 ‘deadly sins’ contribute to spiritual and psychological defenses which make trusting the goodness of God difficult if not impossible. The list includes pride, deceit, envy, avarice, fear, gluttony, lust, acedia (laziness), and anger. To the extent these are at work in us we are hindered in our ability to ‘see’ from a truly Christian perspective.

The opposite of the 9 deadly sins are the 9 fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control shape the soul so that it sees what is really real. Under their influence our soul can discern with the mind and heart of Christ.

The Spirit, spiritual disciplines, spiritual direction are the means by which our soul is formed into the character of Christ.

Want to see reality well? Commit yourself to the life of Christian spiritual formation. The more it becomes our habit of life the more we will enjoy seeing with the eyes of Christ.