Discernment is sadly underrated in our days. Some people hold to very strange beliefs indeed. Others swing to the opposite side of the spectrum and believe that everyone has the right to their own opinion when it comes to theology, the Christian faith, knowing the difference between good and evil, and Christ. Those that hold these views believe that others are automatically unfairly “judging” them based on what they believe to be true or right. Fortunately, we have the Bible to guide us on where to fall on this often overlooked subject. Tim Challies zeroes in on the main points of discernment in ten chapters in this easy to read volume.
Chapter 3 defines discernment. Challies tells us that we need to be able to judge, evaluate, and/or decide between multiple options or viewpoints with wisdom and prudence.
Chapter 5 is titled “Truth and Discernment.” As Christians we are to tell the truth, proclaim the truth, know the truth, and distinguish it from error. Lacking discernment, Pilate asked Jesus, the very embodiment of the truth, “What is truth?”
Challies reminds us in chapter 7 that discernment is a spiritual gift. Every member of Christ’s church has some measure of the gift of discernment. However, some have received this gift in greater measure than others. Examples would include Paul and church elders, in general. Remember, Paul drew a contrast between babes in Christ and the mature Christians who ate solid food. Some of what these babes lacked was discernment.
The last two chapters talk about how to develop and put discernment into practice. Knowing the Word of God is the key. We need to familiarize ourselves with the truth to know when error and evil is at the door. We must study the Bible and spend time and energy cultivating this attribute. Paul encourages this behavior and refers to it as “labor.” It takes work, and knowing when to implement this gift takes practice.
I encourage you to check out this book. This is an evil age in which discernment is on the downslide. I pray that we will not be caught unaware due to sloth. Picking up this book will help you get on the right path.