5 Benefits of Discernment

Discernment involves seeing life from the proper perspective. From a spiritual context. From God’s viewpoint.

It’s been said that when Goliath came threatening the Israelite army, the soldiers all thought “he’s so big we can never kill him.” David saw the same giant and thought, “He’s so big, I can’t miss him.”

In yesterday’s post, we introduced, defined and illustrated the concept of discernment. If you missed that post, read it first.

Be advised that discernment is necessary for spiritual growth. Paul prayed that the Philippian brethren would “abound more and more in knowledge and all discernment” (Phil. 1:9).

Conversely, the Hebrew Christians had failed to grow spiritually. They were still babes on “the milk of the word,” when they should have progressed to “the meat of the Word.” He, then, offers this insight regarding maturity and discernment.

“But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:14).

Earlier the writer reminded them how God’s Word possessed the power to discern “the thoughts and the intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). However, the maladies that result in hardness of heart, dullness of hearing, and spiritual blindness will limit our perspective and diminish our discernment.

On the other hand, abounding more and more in discernment will produce these 5 benefits.

#1 Discernment helps us get our priorities straight.

In the context of dealing with the challenges and concerns of life, Jesus simply admonished, “Don’t worry.” Then commanded, “Seek first the kingdom of  God” (Matt 6:33).

Our priorities will be based on the principles and values that either consciously or subconsciously guide our lives. If you invest 20 minutes to read Jesus’ entire Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), it will provide a spiritual perspective that will realign your priorities and help you discern what’s really important in ife.

#2 Discernment increases our love for God.

God wants us to understand “how long, how wide, how deep and how high his love really is” (Eph. 3:18, LB). When we get into the Word and come to understand the nature, personality and divine attributes of God, we grow to better appreciate Jesus’ statement, “God so loved the world…” (Jn. 3:16) and John’s affirmation, “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8).

#3 Discernment aids in resisting temptation.

The world’s view is to do whatever feels good. Whatever makes you happy. Yet, the Bible says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Prov. 14:12). When we see sin from God’s perspective we see how ugly it is. How it hurts others. And harms us emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and even physically. Then we realize that its short-term pleasure is not worth its long term consequences.

#4 Discernment helps us handle the trials of life.

The Bible teaches us that life’s pressures and problems, can actually make us stronger, develop perseverance and ultimately produce joy (Jas. 1:2-4). Furthermore, we know we’re not alone. God cares. God hears. And God will sustain us.

#5 Discernment protects us from error.

Our culture rejects the idea of absolute truth. We are influenced by humanism, secularism, relativism and individualism. In his book, What Americans Believe, George Barna reported only 28% of Americans expressed a strong belief in absolute standards. Barna concluded that nearly 3/4 of the American people believe that everything is relative and that man can set his own standards for right and wrong.

Jesus, however, still says, “God’s Word is Truth” (Jn. 17:17). And “you shall know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32).

Thus, it is important for pastors, preachers, parents, and Bible class teachers to arm our people with the Truth. To teach the Divine perspective about life and death. Good and evil. Right and wrong. Pleasure and pain. And every other issue in which God’s Word will provide “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3).

In the words of the wise man, “Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, But a man of understanding walks uprightly” (Prov. 15:21).

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


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