I’m sure you’ll agree that not everyone has the gift of discernment. In fact, I believe it’s a fairly rare gift.
Discernment is the innate ability to recognize the moral and practical consequences of our decisions. In these times of moral degradation, we would be wise to consider ways of deliberately developing discernment however we possibly can.
Of course, the obvious place to start is in our own backyard. Once we’ve met the challenge personally, then others will, hopefully, ask us what they can do to develop discernment in their lives. They may actually use words like wisdom, knowledge, insight, perception and understanding.
The whole point is this: We need a great deal of discernment as we confront the many ambiguities prevalent in this present world.
So where should we start this task to gain discernment/wisdom? Let’s start with these few words found in Psalm 111:10: “The fear of the LORD is all wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”
Let’s break down those few words. Notice the psalmist talks about the “beginning of wisdom” rather than having full wisdom. To me, that means I must deliberately strive to develop wisdom as I live this life here on earth.
Yes, there are people who don’t follow the Lord, who have developed some form of discernment. However, I truly sense that God is the One who gives discernment to those who intentionally desire to gain it.
Over the past 37 years as a Christian businessman, I’ve personally witnessed the value of discernment and the impact of the lack of discernment quite frequently. Yes, there have been times where I have lacked Godly wisdom.
The good news is this: I have learned from my unwise choices of the past. And, fortunately, God has brought me through those bad decisions with minimal consequences. His patience with my past behavior is greatly appreciated as I continue to strive to learn from the mistakes of others as well as my own shortcomings.
Life is designed to be a learning experience.
The writer of Hebrews talks about this learning process in Hebrews 5:11-14: “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
Many in the Christian faith don’t appear to have much desire nor do they find the time to dedicate to growing in discernment. God obviously shows much more patience than this soul has shown, but there’s no doubt in my mind that He wants all His people to seek the very special gift.
This world would be quite different, if we would all take this premise seriously.
So. what’s next? I suggest we start with prayer as Jesus’ half-brother, James, exhorts to the early church in his letter found in the General Epistles of the Bible. In James 1:5 he proclaims, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
With this said, I believe there’s much to be done, if we truly want to see this world once again grab hold of the ancient principles established by God in the very beginning. I pray that you will take this discussion seriously for the good of mankind and for God’s glory!
Passages to Ponder
— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at email@example.com for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.