“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.”
Discernment is more than just knowing how to do things. I have known people who are very good at soul winning, teaching, preaching, church building, and serving God, but they are very poor in the area of discernment. Discernment is the ability to see where a decision will take you, and it’s the ability to see the direction that an individual is taking.
Just because people know how to do things well doesn’t mean that they have the ability to discern. I have seen good men build great churches, but their discernment is weak which resulted in their churches going liberal when they were old or quickly after they went to Heaven. The reason their churches went this direction is because they lacked discernment with their associations, and they lacked discernment in the decisions they made concerning the things they did in their churches. I could tell you several stories of individuals who were good people, but they lacked discernment, and that lack of discernment hurt them in the future. In the verse above, God shows that He wants the believer to have the sense to discern. Let me share several things you can do to develop a sense to discern.
First, obtain a vast knowledge of God’s Word. Verse 13 says, “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness…” God’s Word develops your discernment because of the knowledge it places within your heart and mind. Once you start hiding God’s Word in your heart, the Holy Spirit will be able to use God’s Word to tell you when something is not right. Having a daily walk in the Scriptures is critical to developing a sense of discernment.
Second, have a walk with God in prayer. Discernment is sharpened by walking with God in prayer. Proverbs 13:20 says, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise…” If walking with wise men makes you wiser, walking with God will certainly give you the ability to see situations and decisions through the eyes of God. Discernment is seeing the tomorrow of today’s decisions through the eyes of God. This can only be developed by walking with God in His Word and prayer.
Third, listen to those who have walked before you. Verse 12 says, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again…” Having the ability to know the affect and effect of a decision can often be clearly seen by listening to those who have already been down the road of life. You will never have the sense to discern if you are criticizing those from the past instead of listening to them. The ability to discern is not a special gift, but it is an individual who is wise enough to listen to those from the past so that you can learn from what they have taught you. My friend, those from the past have been where you are going, and listening to their teaching and preaching will immensely help your sense of discernment.
Fourth, always ask yourself where your decision will take you tomorrow. The sense to discern is more about knowing tomorrow’s impact from today’s decisions. Too many people are concerned with the immediate impact without looking at the implications that today’s decisions will have on their tomorrow. The discernment to know the good and bad of a decision is made clear by knowing where your decisions and associations will take you tomorrow.