2020-05 The Need for Discernment in a World of Deception - part 1
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So give Your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of Yours?’ 1 Kings 3:9


Discernment — such a valuable commodity!

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, the amount of false and misleading information from social media sites and disreputable websites was unrelenting. It saddened me to see how easily this false information was swallowed by some, giving rise to fear, complacency, &/or harmful ‘advice’ which was then shared with others. As those early weeks unfolded, I was reminded of something the Lord led me to start writing and speaking about a while ago — the very subject of discernment. It is one of the integral gifts of the Holy Spirit and something we all need to exercise.

When God asked Solomon what He could do for him, it was this very trait that Solomon asked for — a wise and discerning heart. God honoured Solomon for this wise and humble request, replying (in part): “…11Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind…”

I found it interesting to study the definitions of the words “discern" and "discerning" used in the original language. The word Solomon used in verse 10 is defined as to ‘distinguish, understand, feel, inform, be prudent, give heed to, have insight.’ However in verse 11, as God replies, He uses a related word which means to ‘hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively, to tell) to listen to understand, hearken, obey.’ God then uses the same word in verse 12 that Solomon used in verse 10. So, why is that interesting to me? What is the significance of these definitions?

God, in His wisdom connected for Solomon (and consequently for us) the ideas of wisdom and discernment with that of the importance of listening, heeding and obeying. He knew that what Solomon was asking for was not mere mortal intelligence, but the ability to acutely tune in to God for His insight, direction and wisdom, and the fortitude to then obey the Lord in whatever direction He gave.

Discernment is the ability to see beyond that which is apparent; to move beyond seeing things from a mere human perspective, to that of perceiving with a spiritual one. It is the ability to see, hear, perceive from the perspective of the Spirit. Discernment grows as we exercise this gift with and by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 24 that there will be a proliferation of deception as the end days proceed. Paul encourages us in Philippians 1:10 “to discern what is best” in order to be “pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” In Romans 12:9 we are told to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).

In these days when what is not right can easily look right and sound right, when facts can be manipulated, and conspiracy theories abound, the gift and ability to distinguish and separate truth from fiction is all the more necessary. Satan even used the “sounds right” strategy with Jesus, as he tried to tempt Jesus using Scriptures he'd manipulated (see Matt 4). Since Jesus was well acquainted with Scripture and maintained ongoing intimate relationship with His Heavenly Father with open lines of communication, He was able to discern the deception. May we, too, grow better acquainted with both the written and the Living Word of God day by day.

Father, grow us in closer intimacy with You. Help us grow in the gift of discernment, to grow in our ability to pause and tune in to You and receive Your mind on matters that concern us. Help us develop in our ability to hear Your Spirit clearly, and also to grow in our confidence to obey You. In Jesus’ Name we ask this. Amen.

For more on this topic — notably, tips for how to distinguish fact from fiction with information shared online, visit The Need for Discernment in a World of Deception - part 2 or go to belindatigellministries.com “Blogs”.

Belinda Tigell is an Australian singer-songwriter, speaker, teacher, worship leader and author. Find her regular blogs on belindatigellministries.com. 
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