By Allen Domelle, Old Paths Journal
“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
The ability to discern is one of the most critical abilities lacking in our day. The ability to discern is more than making a decision; discernment is the ability to see where a decision will take you in the future. Most people only make decisions based on how it affects the immediate, but what is good for the immediate isn’t always good for the future. If you are going to be a helper of people, you are going to need the ability to discern.
In the verse above, Paul makes it clear that some people don’t have “senses exercised to discern both good and evil” because they are not able to take the strong meat of the Word of God. Having the senses to discern comes to those who have spiritually matured. If you are going to have senses to discern, there are several things you are going to have to be willing to do.
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First, you must be willing to make judgments to discern. A discerning person must judge between good and bad. There is nothing wrong with saying someone is bad, or something is bad. There are times when you are discerning that you are going to have to say that a certain person or crowd is bad, or a certain action is bad, or a certain spiritual direction is bad. You cannot discern without making judgments.
Second, you must be able to separate yourself to discern. You can’t discern if you are not able to separate yourself from people. You always have to take yourself out of a situation to see it clearly if you are going to discern. You can’t look at how a situation is going to affect you; rather, you must look at a situation to discern if it is good or bad.
Third, you must look at history to discern. You can’t throw the past out if you want to have senses to discern. The past is what tells you where the actions of the present are taking you. Most discernment is not a person who is gifted to discern, but it is their ability to look at the past and see where something has gone and be able to say that what you are doing now is good or bad. History is a great teacher to help you to discern where present-day movements are going. If they were bad in the past, they will be bad today.
Fourth, you must know what is good and evil to discern. You will never have the senses to discern if you don’t know God’s Word. God gave you a book to read that teaches you right from wrong. Your senses to discern will never be what they should be if you are not a student of the Word of God. The Scriptures have a way of sharpening your discerning senses. If you regularly miss times in the Scriptures, you are going to find your ability to discern will wane.
Fifth, you must be able to see a direction to discern.
For more information, visit the Old Paths Journal Website.