From the desk of  ...  Preston H. Hazzard, Sr.  ... My Daily Blog    


Contending for the Faith
Our Need for Spiritual Discernment
Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 8:00am

"For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God."   Philippians 1:8-11


 

Have you ever asked yourself, How do I know this is the right decision? 

Often there’s no scripture that addresses in detail the particular choice we need to make. 

 

Here are some examples:

  1. What kind of car to buy, ... New?, Used?, for cash or payments?, etc.

  2. The best investment to make,  ... of our time, our money.

  3. Whether to work or spend time with the family when overtime hours are offered.

  4. Which job to accept, or ... what should be my motivation to seek a new one in the first place?  Is it because I'm bored in my current job? ...

  5. Or, do I desire a more impressive job title, or more status, money, and perks?

  6. What cost is there to moving ... to my spouse and kids, and extended family, and to my church?

  7. Should a Christian intentionally patronize a business, (e.g. you shop there regularly) ... supporting a company that takes a public stand contrary to our Christian values?

  8. Should we KNOWINGLY be enablers of something that goes directly against what God’s Word teaches?

  9. How does this decision effect my Christian witness and / or advance HIS Kingdom?


Rather than specifying exhaustive rules that speak to every possible situation in life, God’s Word contains principles and instructions to guide our decision making.

 

That is not to say God hands us His Book and then leaves us alone. To ensure that our feet remain on the right path, He grants us spiritual discernment—the capacity to judge between right and wrong, wise and unwise, good and best.

 

We are commanded to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good(Romans 12:9). But, unless we have true discernment, how can we determine what is “evil” and what is “good”?
 

In cultivating such discernment, we’re inviting God to be intimately involved in all our decisions; there is no matter too insignificant for His consideration and assistance. A plan that is outside the Lord’s will—or even good decisions formulated without consulting Him—can short-circuit His plan to give us His best.


Spiritual discernment protects us from making decisions based on what looks good or feels right. We are limited to five senses and our experience, but God views our lives from a vantage point of infinite knowledge.

 

Our instructor, the Holy Spirit (3rd person of the Holy Trinity), teaches us the wisdom of God’s way and knows precisely how to apply it to our unique circumstances. As we develop a habit of following His promptings, our senses become trained to distinguish good from evil, and we mature spiritually.  Keep in mind though ... "But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil."  (Hebrews 5:14).

 


 

So, how does one increase spiritual discernment? First, recognizing that God is the only one who can increase wisdom, pray for it (James 1:5; Philippians 1:9). Then, knowing the wisdom to distinguish good from evil comes by training and practice, go to the Bible to learn the truth, and, by meditation on the Word, reinforce the truth.

When a bank hires an employee, he is trained to recognize counterfeit bills. One would think that the best way to recognize a counterfeit would be to study various counterfeits. The problem is that new counterfeits are being created every day. The best way to recognize a counterfeit bill is to have an intimate knowledge of the real thing. Having studied authentic bills, bank cashiers are not fooled when a counterfeit comes along. A knowledge of the true helps them identify the false.

This is what Christians must do to develop spiritual discernment. We must know the authentic so well that, when the false appears, we can recognize it. By knowing and obeying the Word of God, we will be “trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” We will know God’s character and will. This is the heart of spiritual discernment – being able to distinguish the voice of the world from the voice of God, to have a sense that “this is right” or “this is wrong.” Spiritual discernment fends off temptation and allows us to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).

 


Sources: Adapted in part from devotionals at http://www.gotquestions.org and http://www.intouch.org

Note:  All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB), with links to the www.classic.biblegateway.com


  "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong."  1 Corinthians 16:13  

Call or email me if you have questions.

"Saint Pete", Sr.

 

Author & Webmaster: Preston H. Hazzard, Sr.
Copyright © MMXIII