Christian

How To Be a Discerning Christian

The Bible warns us about false teachers. Yes, they exist today. But how do we know what is true and what is false? This is an important question. The answer is we must be discerning Christians.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about The Skill of Discernment. Since then, I came across an excellent comparison that I want to share with you. In his book, The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, Tim Challies compares spiritual discernment with identifying counterfeit currency.

Challies writes, “We can best know what is wrong by first knowing what is right. Experts on counterfeit currency know this as well. They train others first to know the traits of genuine currency because such knowledge will make apparent what is fraudulent.”

Experts in counterfeit money study every aspect of their currency including how it feels and every detail of its appearance and color. Only after they do this are they shown counterfeit currency. And guess what? They know immediately what is not real!

In the same way, it is only after we know the Bible well that we will be able to recognize false teaching. A mature Christian is a Christian who knows the Bible well. This is an important point because the Bible says that the immature Christian can be blown here and there by every kind of teaching (meaning false teaching). That makes sense, right? Ephesians 4:12-14 NASB says,

“… for the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the [b]knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature [c]which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 [d]As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of people, by craftiness [e]in deceitful scheming;

One thing about children, they’ll believe almost anything. And like children, immature Christians will believe almost anything, especially if it sounds good.

So the question is: How well do you know the Bible? How many times have you read it from cover to cover? How many times have you read the New Testament? Are you reading the Bible for yourself? Or do you rely on books about the Bible?

I challenge you to read the Bible from cover to cover at least twice before you read the Christian Best Sellers. Otherwise, how can you discern if what you are reading is true? Maybe you are thinking, “Oh I just know.” – I wouldn’t be so sure of that. But don’t take my word for it. Consider what the Bible says.

“I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.  Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.  So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” The Apostle Paul (Acts 20:29-31 NIV) Read full chapter

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. …21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Jesus (Matthew 7:15, and 21-24 NIV) Read full chapter

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” The Apostle Peter (2 Peter 2:1-3 NIV) Read full chapter

Remember this: “We can best know what is wrong by first knowing what is right.”

With Love, Cindy

Do you want to know more about Jesus? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?

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22 thoughts on “How To Be a Discerning Christian”

  1. Thanks Cindy. Discernment is so important to our faith. One “gotcha” I watch for is when a “Christian teacher” is overabundant with phrases or expressions that are meant to evoke strong emotions. Faith isn’t emotion. Faith is knowledge and wisdom and belief. Emotion is human. God is divine. (I’m not a stoic ant-emotion guy, but am saying I need to be careful because emotions are fleeting and God wants us to seek what is eternal)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post Cindy and Tim Challies is bang on. John 17:17 says “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” If we don’t know God’s truth we have nothing to compare error or “another Gospel” with and therein lies the problem. And the more that we study God’s Word, the more it takes root in us and God’s Holy Spirit will alert us when we encounter error or “another Gospel”. He will witness to us that what we are being told or taught is not in line with God’s Word. Jesus cautioned the Sadducees about this very reality in Matthew 22:29 where He said “But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” And interestingly enough, when Jesus was challenged by Satan, Jesus Himself responded with “It is written . . . “, correcting the false assumption given by Satan. Thank you! Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “We can best know what is wrong by first knowing what is right – I so agree with that. The best way to guard ourselves is to immerse ourselves in the word so that when anything is said that is contrary to the word, it would stand out to us. I remember when I was a new Christian, I listened to some speakers who I later realised were not trustworthy with what they said. The difference was I read the word more and more and that is how I realised.

    Liked by 2 people

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