Monday, June 13, 2022

A Lesson In Discernment


What makes something good for one person and bad for another? How do we know which path to take when we're at a fork in the road? I think these are the nuanced situations where we find ourselves relying on spiritual discernment to figure out our next move.

Discernment is knowing who to listen to. The word discern, and its derivatives are translations of the Greek word anakrino in the New Testament. It means "to distinguish, to separate out by diligent search, to examine." Discernment is the ability to correctly discriminate or make determinations. It is related to wisdom. The Word of God itself is said to discern the thoughts and intentions of one's heart (Hebrews 4:12). Spiritual discernment ultimately involves wisdom and the ability to distinguish truth from error (source: gotquestions.org). A result of discernment is the settled peace that follows.

I have a (new) car that has a built-in navigation system. When I use the built-in navigation system, I notice that my ears must be attuned to what the GPS says. Typically the radio is playing, but when it's time to provide direction, the radio gets a tad bit softer, and the navigation system seems louder. Sometimes I'm so caught up listening to the music from the radio, bopping my head and singing the lyrics. Incidentally, the volume is lowered, and the navigation tells me to go left, right, or exit. Initially, I was annoyed because it seemingly interrupted my flow. But if it hadn't, I'd be bopping my head while going in the wrong direction. That's discernment - knowing which voice to listen to for the correct result.

Discernment seems relatively simple when we have to figure out evil from good; it almost seems obvious. Its application becomes trickier when we discriminate between what is "best" and what is merely "good," like deciphering if to follow the GPS or enjoy the radio.

Discernment helps us know what's good for us, and it's only fine-tuned by spending time with the Discerner. May our prayer be "I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes" (Psalm 119:125).

But test everything; hold fast to what is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God. 
Philippians 1:9-11

Think of this illustration the next time you're confused about what discernment looks like. Listening to the GPS - God's Protective System won't steer you wrong.


--Nylse

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10 comments:

  1. Let's make it official: God, you have permission to interrupt my flow whenever and however you decide!

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  2. I love your GPS analogy...as my son says, give God the wheel.

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  3. I'm turning on my GPS right now!!

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  4. Visiting from Wednesday Recharge #22

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  5. I pray for discernment every day as I know my GPS will fail me, His will not! Wonderful analogy!

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  6. Love the way you clearly highlight true discernment Nylse, and how much we need that daily! I love that God steps into my "flow", because I so often foolishly think I'm headed in the right direction!

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  7. Very effective analogy Nylse. You have to be receptive to discernment. Sometimes we choose to ignore the voice. Thanks for linking.

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  8. While not Four Somethings, I appreciate this statement, Nylse, "That's discernment - knowing which voice to listen to for the correct result."

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