“About this we have much to say, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Therefore, go on to maturity.” Hebrews 5:11-6:1
“Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting.” “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 Kings 3:9; James 1:5-6; 1 John 4:1
Recent musings on a flurry of opinions and dictates from experts on everything from immunology to politicking, from economics to journalistic persuasion, have brought to light the dire need for discernment. It has been said we need to ‘train a child for the road, not the road for the child,’ and, ‘we need to be trained how to think, not what to think.’ It is vital to our fruitful living as Christians to be able to understand the world and events in our culture through the filter of inerrant biblical truth.
In a day when we have access to a glut of information from a myriad of sources, it is a challenge to know what to read, where to tune in, how to discern. It is also easy, because of information fatigue or simple exhaustion, to become ‘dull of hearing’ and fail to question and test what we are being fed. God commands that we grow mature and wise by taking seriously our spiritual training in His word. He also promises to provide wisdom and guidance when we seek it. (Psalm 32:8; Proverbs 2:1-11)
To distinguish between true and false we need to be familiar with the Bible, and to train our perception by applying it in our day to day. Counterfeit money specialists study the real thing so they recognize the false when they see it. We can practice assessing truth in conversation with others by understanding objectives and listening keenly to arguments, trusting God’s Spirit to train us to discern what is fact and how that might be colored by personal vantage point.
Are we curious and brave enough to seek true information, not just confirmation of what we want to hear and believe? In whatever information we take in, do we expend the time to ponder, the mental and spiritual effort to truly discern? The conviction of the Spirit is far superior teacher to lazy reception of others’ views, and it is ours for the asking. (John 14:26; 16:13)
O Lord, send me daily Your light and Your truth. Hone in me the proper fear of You and holy discretion. By Your Spirit, shape my powers of discernment and lead me. (Psalm 43:3; 1 Corinthians 2:13-16)