How do we know information that we are reading, watching, listening to or being told is accurate? Maybe we will say, “Because it comes from my mom”, “It sounds believable”, “Everyone is saying it”, “I read it on the internet.” Since we live in a time of disinformation, fact-checkers and fake news, how do we know what is true and thereby make important decisions, comments or accept certain beliefs on things?
As we close out 2021 and begin 2022, let us call out for wisdom and seek it like vast treasures hidden in our backyard. The Bible speaks of people who “. . . have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14). Discernment is a form of wisdom. It causes a person to stop and consider, and provides understanding and good judgement.
When what is true could be false and what is false could be true, and the implications of such are costly, we need discernment. When the pressure is on from family, friends or others, we need discernment. When our job, health, finances, or our very lives are on the line, we need discernment. It helps us see more clearly what is truth versus error and good versus evil, so we can wisely respond to what is before us.
How do we practice godly discernment? 1. Pray. Ask God to provide you with discernment or understanding over your situation in order to make a wise decision. 2. Read the Scriptures. It is the source for wisdom, where God will show you something in His Word to give needed guidance. 3. Identify the costs. There are consequences to decisions, so identify what they are for deciding or believing one way or the other. 4. Identify pressures. List out the various pressure points you are feeling to go this direction or that. 5. Research. Take time and effort to read, ask questions, learn and gain as much information as you can. 6. Getting advice. Search out a few people you would consider to be wise, maybe with differing points of view, and get their input. 7. Trust God and act. After you have done all this, there comes a time to stop dithering, place your complete faith in God and make a decision.
Godly discernment is a faithful guard, protecting us against lies, deception and manipulation. It can literally save our life and the lives of those whom we love. But there is a high cost. It means we question things when we are discouraged from doing so. It means we may have to separate from the crowd, while we go one way and they another. Though the cost is great, the benefits are worth it. There is a peace that abounds knowing it is well with our soul when we have chosen to do right, no matter the outcome. There is also a sense of confident trust in God, knowing we have obeyed Him, as best we understand, and He will take care of the unknown.
How do we obtain such a form of wisdom, that the Bible calls more valuable than silver or gold? It comes through a covenant relationship with Jesus. He is the very embodiment of wisdom and discernment. When we turn from our own understanding and disobedience, then call upon Him with all our heart, He will save us and give us the gift of Himself and His wisdom.
A prayer for you – “Lord God, open the eyes of the confused, frustrated, fearful and anxious. Give them godly discernment in the situation they face. Turn them towards yourself, for you are the very wisdom they so desperately need. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”