Probing Proverbs: 5:1-2 My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel. Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned.
When my son was 3 years old, we had a toilet that would not seal properly, so it would continue to run unless you moved the handle that flushed it up and down lightly. The bathroom was directly behind my office and my son’s room was to the right of mine.
One day while working at my desk, my three year old stopped and…as all three years old do, he announced that he was going “to pee in the toilet.” I said that was great but to remember to “jiggle” the toilet. He said ok. Some minutes later I heard the toilet still running, so I called to my son and told him to please jiggle the toilet, he said he had done that, so I asked him to please do it again. After some time, I still heard it running so I called him to me. I explained that if he did not jiggle the toilet it would keep running and waste water. He exclaimed, ‘daddy I did it twice!” I got up and asked him to show me. Instead of just moving the handle, he straddled the toilet and shook it! This was a great lesson for me…he had failed to discern what I met, and it was my fault.
This Proverb promises us the ability to discern if we apply the knowledge we learn from Scripture, which is really called wisdom. Knowledge unapplied produces Pharisees and theorists. I have met many a Pastor that preaches a lot on “grace” but fails to be able to properly express it! When we realize that wisdom produces discernment, that can lead to a very intentional life.
Discernment is a word that is so needed today. We have individuals writing books and on TV that are compromising the Truth, even adding things to Truth just so they can appear deeper in their knowledge. The ability to discern is essential in our daily walk in this world as we endeavor to represent Christ to all we meet. Consider what this word means:
Discernment, from the Latin: discernere - to separate, divide, and distinguish between
Defined: (1) To see distinctly
(2) To distinguish mentally
Most of how we live in this world is not based on black and white commands. The majority of what we do and how we live, has been given to us as a stewardship by God. There are Scriptural principles that guide, but in the end as Romans 14 points out, our conscience needs to be right with God. With all the decisions we have to make; how to dress, what to own, what to watch…the list is endless, we need to be able to discern properly.
I have found three Key questions that I ask myself before I make a “liberty” based decision:
1. Does it glorify God? Even eating chocolate can glorify God, when we celebrate enjoying our taste buds, which He made. The problem is when we try to enjoy 6 pounds of chocolate! That is not liberty, but license to sin!
2. Am I walking in love? How is my liberty affecting others around me? Today it seems more believers spend time demanding their rights, instead of asking, “how will this make others view Christ?”
3. If you doubt what your about to do…Don't! If you need to ask your discipler for permission, then you need to wait. God will lead you to the peace He wants you to have, the problem is if we want it, many times we are not willing to wait for the peace in our heart.
Discernment is different than judging, though many do not make the distinction. When we discern something we are examining what it states, we are not attributing motive to it. This includes individuals. I cannot state why a certain teacher teaches something, but I can discern if it is founded on Truth. That is the beauty of possessing the Word of God. We always have the source that validates what truth is!
Engraft the Word into your heart and you will never have to fear being deceived, no matter how slick the teacher sounds!
The so what? Do you ever try to memorize Scripture? When a verse speaks “loudly” to you, do you meditate on it? When it comes to doing something that has no direct command, what do you go through before you make that decision? Do you need a verse to do everything you do? How realistic is that? What is the difference between having a verse, versus having a Biblical principle? Have you ever spent a good deal of time reading, meditating and journaling over Romans 14? Try it!