Bible Ballistics: “BBs” #356 Are You Discerning Rightly???
As we continue our series today, we’ll consider the 3rd of our 5 D’s: Debt, Diligence, Discernment, Decency, and Dependence.
Discernment– “The ability to judge well”.
To be “ready” for Jesus’ return and to live faithful, holy lives, we must judge with wisdom in our everyday choices. And yes, we are to “judge” the things around us continually (and that’s a lesson for another day), we are supposed to judge: whether things are good or bad; right or wrong, true or false; godly or ungodly. We make value judgments every day, and those judgments create the consequences that follow each choice. We must be discerning/discriminating— “having or showing refined taste or good judgment”! God’s judgments are the best form of discernment!
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom…… to another discerning of spirits; …..11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will..” Portions of 1 Corinthians 12:7-11
The spiritual gift of ‘discerning of spirits’, is what we want to consider today. Rendering supernatural judgment in spiritual matters, and godly, daily living is essential to a productive and faithful Christian life.
Spiritual gifts are given to “every man”, “to profit withal” by the Holy Spirit’s choice and will (verse 11). Spiritual gifts are given to each believer, whether man, woman, boy or girl, for the good of the ‘Body of Christ’, and by God’s direction. These gifts benefit the body, and when used humbly and well, the gifts will benefit all around the recipient of the gift. The spiritual gift of “discernment” is a much neglected, but urgently needed gift today. It helps us know the way to go, and while every individual believer has the ability to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and discern personal right walking, the corporate body is greatly benefitted or harmed by the exercise or lack of this gift.
What does discernment look like in practical terms?
“and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.” Ecclesiastes 8:5b
Knowing when to do something, and whether it is beneficial or harmful, is critical to effective Christian service. And while we each have a gift/gifts, we are each to use them in God’s timing, by His direction, and for HIS glory, not our own.
“As every man hath received the gift,
even so minister the same one to another,
as good stewards
of the manifold grace of God.
11 If any man speak,
let him speak as the oracles of God;
if any man minister,
let him do it as of the ability
which God giveth:
that God in all things may be glorified
through Jesus Christ,
to whom be praise
for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11
Whether we have a speaking gift or a serving gift, we are to recognize and use them as God’s gifts, for God’s glory and the increase of HIS kingdom, and the maturing and blessing of His own; and in doing so we will be a beacon to a lost and dying world. We are to help God’s people understand His Word, His ways and His principles for holy living.
“And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” Ezekiel 44:23
We are to seek to know God’s will and His ways as we feast on His Word. Then we can grow in our ability to hear His voice. That often means that we must exclude some things from our lives, in order to make time and room for God’s voice to be heard, again–exercising discernment each day.
“And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying,
This is the way,
walk ye in it,
when ye turn to the right hand,
and when ye turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21
Often times we must simply be quiet! We must ‘Stop, Look, and Listen’ for the voice of our Lord, our Shepherd.
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
My husband gives testimony of an incident that happened in our lives several years ago. He was having a surgical procedure done, which changed from a 90-minute, routine procedure, into a 4-hour one that almost took His life. He was awake during the procedure and while he didn’t’ know at the time what exactly was going on, he knew they were having problems and his heart even stopped on them at one point. He said he was praying and God spoke to his heart and said “Psalm 46:10”. Now at that time, he didn’t remember what Psalm 46:10 said, but he felt a certain surety that God was telling him that it would be all right. When he finally got to his room, he got the Bible and looked up Psalm 46:10 and read it. His heart was overcome with joy and delight in the fact that while he “had to be still” during the procedure (he was sedated, and on an operating table), his ‘stillness’ was in God’s total, sovereign control. We still take great comfort and confidence in that small incident, but friends what I want you to know is that God is speaking, if we will but “Be still, and know that I am God”, and practice ‘listening’!
What is God saying to you today? Are you listening? Or are you so busy with the hustle and bustle of the world that the voice of God is drowned out by the clamor of all the noise around you? Will you exercise “discernment” and make right choices about your time with Him? Will you run to the One who wants to love, provide and direct you to His arms?
“The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10
The catch is, do you know the One who is that “strong tower”? Are you walking closely with Him, if you do? Or are you so busy with life, that you have not discerned the voice of the “giver of life”? We must learn to listen for His leading, seek His ways in all we do and be available for His will, work, and direction in all our ways.
“The steps of a good man
are ordered by the Lord:
and he delighteth in his way.
24 Though he fall,
he shall not be utterly cast down:
for the Lord upholdeth him
with his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24
So? The question is, ‘Are you exercising godly discernment’? Are you willing to dig out truth in His Word, and walk in light of what it says? Will you ‘be discerning’—making choices based on His Word, and the directing of His Holy Spirit? Will you pay attention to what you learn, and choose discerningly, the “holy” over the “profane”?
God will teach us when we,
read His word,
listen to His Spirit!!!
Keep looking up dear ones, God’s ways won’t usually be popular, but they are the right way, and I’d much rather have the approval of God than the world, and there is a test at the end! Are you ready? Will you join me in seeking to be—
Look up dear ones—“…..look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28b