Discernment: Part II
Part II: How Can We Discern Good from Evil?
The basic principle for applying discernment is a solid understanding of Scripture. Scripture is the inspired, infallible, inerrant, and authoritative word of God.
It is to be our only rule of faith and practice. Discernment is the application of scripture to life; it is finding that wisdom we need to deal with all manner of circumstances, and the fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom; it is the living of our lives Corum Deo (before the face of God); it is having a God centered view-His glory as that which motivates and directs us. We could go on and on. But look at how S. Michael Houdmann describes the use of wisdom for discernment.
“God must shed light on the human mind to enable us to understand truth. It is impossible to attain wisdom without God. He gives discernment or takes it away. (Job 12:19-21).
“Some have mistakenly defined spiritual discernment as a God-given awareness of evil or good spiritual presences—the ability to tell if a demon is in the room. While some people may possess this capability, it is not the biblical meaning of discernment. Spiritual discernment ultimately has to do with wisdom and the ability to distinguish truth from error.
“It is not wrong to possess knowledge or have an education, and it is not wrong to use reason and logic to solve problems. However, spiritual discernment cannot be attained that way. It must be given by the revelation of Jesus Christ to the believer, and then developed by way of training in righteousness (Hebrews 5:14) and prayer (Philippians 1:9). Hebrews 5:11-14 shows how spiritual discernment is developed. The writer speaks to those who had become ‘dull of hearing,’ meaning they had fallen out of practice discerning spiritually. The writer of Hebrews tells them that everyone who lives on ‘milk’ (rather than the ‘solid food”’desired by the mature) is unskilled in the word of righteousness; however, the mature Christian has been ‘trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.’
“So, how does one increase spiritual discernment? First, recognizing that God is the only one who can increase wisdom, pray for it (James 1:5; Philippians 1:9). Then, knowing the wisdom to distinguish good from evil comes by training and practice, go to the Bible to learn the truth, and, by meditation on the Word, reinforce the truth.”
“We are given two clear tests by which we may be able to tell truth from error, divine inspiration from delusion and deception. And not only do we have the tests, we have an exhortation to put them to use. How then are we to go about testing the Spirits? In what circumstances is such testing important and even necessary? If “testing the Spirits” implies rejecting what is false, are we to reject both the teaching and the teacher? We may suggest three guidelines as to how we can test the Spirits with discernment, that is, with wisdom, care and humility.”
But what strikes you? How do you think we can discern good from evil?
God didn’t make us to be successful. He made us to be Holy.