“And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?”
Jesus struggled with the fact that the disciples lacked the discernment to understand what was being taught and to see why He said to the Pharisees what He said to them. Jesus asked the disciples, “…perceive ye not yet…” He was asking them why they didn’t have the discernment to understand what He was teaching. The disciples seemed to be able to only see the present. Jesus knew that they would go astray in the ministry if they didn’t learn how to develop their discernment.
One of the greatest things that Satan has used to destroy people over time is their lack of discernment. There are good people are who doing a work for the LORD who have lacked discernment, and the lack of discernment eventually caused them to do things they thought they would never do The ability to discern will keep you serving the LORD for many years to come. In the verse above, Jesus made several statements to the disciples that teaches a person how to develop their discernment.
First, you must get a soft heart if you are going to develop discernment. The reason the disciples couldn’t discern what Jesus said was because their hearts were “yet hardened.” The only way to soften your heart is to work with people who are hurting. Jesus had compassion on the people because He was with the people. You will never develop discernment without being a soul winner, and without working with people whose lives have been hurt by sin.
Second, you must get understanding if you are going to develop discernment. The Book of Proverbs teaches that the way to understanding is by being wise enough to obey the instruction of wisdom. Discernment can never be developed with a disobedient spirit or heart. The more you do right and acquire the understanding as to the process of why you do what you do, the more you develop your discernment in decisions and circumstances.
Third, you develop discernment by having a good memory. Jesus asked the disciples, “Why reason ye, because ye have no bread?” He was teaching them that discernment comes by looking to the past. History is one of the greatest teachers that will reveal what the present decisions will cause you to do and where the present actions desired to take will take you. One of the greatest reasons people lack discernment is because they fail to look at the lessons from history. Before you ever decide whether you should do something, you should always look back and see where that decision has taken others.
Fourth, you develop discernment by listening. Listening to God’s Word and the preaching of God’s Word will help you to develop your discernment. Listening to what others have taught you about what to do in every situation is one of the greatest ways to develop your discernment.
Fifth, you develop discernment by looking to the future. In other words, you must look where today’s decisions will take you tomorrow. Discernment never looks at the immediate satisfaction or result of today, but it always looks at where it takes you tomorrow. You could save yourself from much heartache if you learned to look to the future to see where today’s decisions will take you tomorrow.