Part 3 in the “What Is Discernment” series
One of the most common unbiblical biblical statements we hear these days is “Judge not”. Some do go on to say “Lest ye be judged”, which is straight out of the KJV Old English version of scripture. Thing is, this is a biblical statement, but only as long as it is said in context. A simple and blanket statement of “Thou shalt not judge” is neither correct nor biblical.
As we saw in me last post (Types/ Kinds Of Biblical Discernment) we are told to practice discernment. What is discernment? Making an informed decision based on knowledge to provide the correct reaction to a particular issue, action or whatever else we face. This is also the definition of judging something. We look, hear, smell, taste or feel and those senses reach our brain at which time we will use our experience (our knowledge) to make a judgment. What’s the first thing you do when you take the milk carton out of the fridge? Open it, twist off the top, look into the opening and then take a big old sniff. What you’re doing is practicing discernment. You do it every day, all day.
So why is practicing Biblical discernment frowned upon and seen as a hindrance by most church goers? Why are people who are labeled “fundamentalist”, “Bible thumpers”, “Holier than thous” and “Jesus Freaks” because they take seriously the things of God, most specifically God’s Word and instructions for this world.
God’s Word is a mirror of His character, it gives us a glimpse of God, in His chosen manner, to know what He requires, desires and demands of us. It is a sad fact that most Christians (professing, truly converted or false converts alike) have only a cursory understanding of scripture. Most preachers only feed their congregations milk, sometimes chocolate milk when they indulge their message with the sweet, feel good stories, but most of the time, in most of the church buildings attendees are given a baby bottle as they enter the door along with their weekly church bulletin. Why that is is open for discussion, either the preacher desires to be a buddy instead of a leader, denying God’s command for them to preach the Word in truth or the preacher knows that the people will choke from solid food instead of milk and the occasional pureed veggies. Either way, the preacher is wrong.
How do we feed a baby? It starts off with milk, then progresses to cereals, then to soft foods, then to semi-solids, then the baby usually starts grabbing everything that it can and shoving it into its mouth. It should also be a natural progression for a follower of Christ. We do not stick a T-Bone into a 6 month old’s mouth, but one day that child will have grown enough and developed the capacity to chew and digest a steak.
Where am I going with this post? I’m attempting to show that a Christian should be seeking growth, should be examining scripture, should be seeking Christ more every day, should be eating the solid food of scripture. This is the way to progress in discernment, as we stated in the last blog post, from an understanding of God’s Word in context.
This is not to say that we are to have a judgmental spirit about us or to be critical of people, but that we are to take all aspects of our lives and apply scripture to them. As I stated before, we do the same thing in “normal” areas of our lives and think it to be good. So how much more then should we be applying scripture to our lives? We are to use our judgment to decide the proper course, the proper path, the proper action to correspond to every choice we have. There is no secular/ sacred divide in the life of a believer. A Christian’s life will all be sacred, as the Spirit of God dwells within us, which is the catalyst and the way we must judge/ discern our actions, words spoken and all choices.
So, as we saw in the last post we have the learned ability to judge things, from the study of God’s Word. Then we have the Spirit within us that gives us the Supernatural discernment in other areas. These work in tandem, as a grace of God to guide us through our life, our walk with Christ.
Our lives are full of choices that require discernment and judgment. As a follower of Christ make sure that those choices glorify God. Look at each choice with the question of “How will this affect my walk with the Lord?” then make the choice. Then things will become more black and white in your mind. As you practice your discernment you will begin to build on the foundation and grow in your discernment. We should desire to be discerning, we should desire to grow in understanding the Word of God.
Why would someone who has encountered God, who has His Spirit living within them, not have a desire to have a greater understanding and greater application of God’s Word in their life? It shouldn’t be. This is why it is hard to understand how people who claim to have been changed by God can remain stuck with a baby bottle in their mouth instead of eating steak and potatoes. Is it that they are false converts? Possibly. Is it that they have not been taught the whole counsel of Scripture? Probably. It is also up to them to study scripture, to show themselves approved of God, not to depend on 1 hour sermons each week to be their only sustenance. It just couldn’t be or they would starve.