Monday, February 2, 2015

DISCERNMENT or DECEPTION (pt 7)

It is quite easy to tell the difference between black and white. And when you have 50 shades of gray in front of you, it is easy to know which is more white and which is more black.

However, when you only have one shade of grey in front of you, making the black/white distinction may become problematic.


So it is with this area of discernment that we are discussing.
In the realm of the physical senses, we know that there are people who have finely tuned senses in one area or another. Not everyone, of course, but there are some.
There are those whose sense of smell is acute, others with highly sensitive hearing or taste. These people are able to discern things that those with lesser sensibilities cannot.
We say that they have a “discerning sense of …”
As noted before, it takes very little discernment to recognize the difference between black and white, or between pornography and fine art.
It’s when we get into the “gray areas” that discernment becomes more challenging, and certainly more needful.
If, as mentioned above, discernment in these areas requires finely tuned and honed sensibilities, then what are we to do? That seems to obviously be a gift, and not everyone has it.
I have good news for you. That is not required.
While the answer may seem simplistic, the acquisition of such is not.
Let’s return to our verse in Hebrews:
But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (5:14)

There is an emphasis here on the idea of ‘practice,’ of doing something over and over again on a regular basis so as to become proficient at it. In other words, we are to train ourselves.
We are to become so good at discerning between the good and the not-so-good that it is as if it were second nature to us, according to Gerhard Delling, contributor to the Theological Dictionary of New Testament Words (vol. 1, page 188)
We are not talking here of the manifestation of the Spirit spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12:10. That is a gift that shows up when necessary and may only be given to one person at a time on various occasions.
We are speaking here of a skill that must be developed and possessed by every believer.
Toward the latter part of 2014, I heard on more than one occasion by more than one person that the need for discernment is becoming increasingly necessary in this time.
That, coupled with a devastating experience I had back in the summer of the same year, led me to begin looking into this idea of discernment.
The Lord began to open things to me that I had never considered before.
The process began to grow and grow to where I thought it would become unwieldy. It is very large in scope.
The lack of discernment in the Body of Christ is astounding. The failure to discern obvious signs in my own life led to some heartbreaking experiences.
We desperately need the ability to discern things that are going on in our lives, our families, our schools, our government, but most of all in our churches.

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