I call discernment a “skill” because, like any other skill, it can be developed and improved. This is how you develop discernment: READ AND STUDY THE BIBLE. Understand the Bible as a whole. Read all of it. Don’t pick and choose the verses that you like and that support your belief.
“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11 NIV Read full chapter
Spiritual discernment is good for more than just making monumental decisions according to God’s will. It is an essential, day-to-day activity that allows thoughtful Christians to separate the truth of God from error and to distinguish right from wrong in all kinds of settings and situations. It is also a skill – something that any person can develop and improve…”
Tim Challies, Canadian Blogger and Author
As I researched the topic of discernment this week, I found many instances where someone already said what I want to express, and it seemed prudent to quote that person, rather than saying it in my own words. It just couldn’t be improved upon. So you will find several quotes in this post. I hope they will give you something to think about.
Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right.”
Charles Spurgeon (19 June 1834 – 31 January 1892)
That’s an interesting quote. Especially when we consider today’s movement to be more ecumenical and to embrace unity in the Church. Yes, God wants us to be in unity, but not at the expense of good theology, and certainly not at the expense of staying true to the Word of God.
You see, almost right sounds really good. It sounds so close to the truth that it can be easy to mistake it for the truth. It might even come packaged with Bible verses and sincere sermons/speeches from the pulpit. It tickles ears because it sounds Christian. And when it comes from a person in authority, such as a pastor or professor, it’s not questioned because, “Hey, he studies the Bible a lot more than I do.”
Jason Foster, Christian Journalist
“For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires…” 2 Timothy 4:3 NASB Read full chapter
The Bible teaches that there are many false gospels out there. They aren’t always obvious because many of them are, yes, almost right.
Jason Foster, Christian Journalist
The first step to developing your discernment is to love the Truth, to love God’s Word, and hold it dear. We can’t have discernment if we don’t study the Bible.
“And this I pray: that your love may abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight [that your love may [a]display itself in greater depth of acquaintance and more comprehensive discernment],10 So that you may surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value [recognizing the highest and the best, and distinguishing the moral differences], and that you may be untainted and pure and unerring and blameless [so that with hearts sincere and certain and unsullied, you may approach] the day of Christ [not stumbling nor causing others to stumble].” Philippians 1:9-10 AMPC
Spiritual discernment is the great need of our day. Jesus, Himself warns us:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Matthew 7:21-23 ESV
Many books have been written that claim to teach new insights into God’s Word. Some of them are Best-Sellers. Some are written by people with a huge following. But none of that makes them true. Only when the teaching clearly lines up with God’s Word can it benefit you. The need for discernment is paramount. Make sure you are developing yours by being a student of the Bible. Only then can you discern what is false and what is true.
With Love, Cindy
Do you want to know more about Jesus? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?
100 Bible Verses About False Teachers
Christians Must Be Discerning by Jason Foster
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash