Discernment – The Realities

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So back to the topic of discernment. I want to address some realities, based on my observations … so you may rightly question whether or not they are “realities.” I think they are. 😉

First, discernment requires awareness. Part of the problem is that readers or TV viewers or movie goers or gamers look at entertainment as a time to put aside the serious and just have fun. Escape. Play.

Nothing wrong with a little fun, escape, or play, but there is something very dangerous about letting our spiritual guards down. Think about it for a moment. Any potential temptations for a guy going to the beach these days? Would a wise youth counselor tell the guys in his Bible study to take the day off from fighting lust and just have a fun day at the beach? 😮 Please, tell me No.

But as dangerous as lust is to a hormone-driven teen, so is false teaching to the Christian. More so, because false teaching is really about Mankind and God and eternity and salvation and revelation—stuff that will not pass away.

I’m reminded of Nehemiah and the people rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem who “took their load with one hand doing the work and the other holding a weapon” (Neh. 4:17b). That’s what you do when you’re alert to a threat.

A second reality is that discernment is work. It requires us to think about what we are seeing and reading and hearing. We need to do some evaluation, and who wants to do that when we are in relax mode?

Now I think about the parable of the five wise and five foolish maidens waiting for the bridegroom to come. The foolish ran out of oil for their lamps. The wise were prepared. Note, neither the wise nor the foolish stayed awake all night. So I’m not saying discernment means we can never relax. But we are prepared, as the five wise were, when the need arises.

Which leads to the final reality for today. Preparation comes by knowing God’s word. Without knowledge of the Truth, we have nothing to compare stories with.

The analogy of law enforcement officers assigned to catch counterfeiters is apropos. These professionals prepare by studying genuine bills to the point that the fake ones will be easily recognized.

So, for us, the real work comes in listening to the preaching of the Word of God, reading it, studying it, meditating upon it, memorizing it … until ideas that clash with it jump out at us, even when we aren’t intentionally trying to make a comparison.

Published in: on August 3, 2009 at 12:35 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 Comments

  1. I would add to that we need to be able to discern the Spirit’s voice as opposed to the enemy’s voice. Sometimes we face things which surprise us and make decision difficult. If the Spirit whispers His instruction to us, we have our decision at the ready because of knowing how He speaks to us.

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  2. Nicole, you’re absolutely right. I just read I John 4 and the apostle starts this section by the admonition not to believe every spirit but to test the spirits. He goes on to give a couple criteria. One is that “every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God.” Another, implied a few verses down is (“he who knows God listens to us”), is that the spirit must be consistent with God’s revealed truth.

    Of course that doesn’t cover a lot of those “nudgings,” but I’ve found God usually confirms those one way or another.

    Becky

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