Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Misconceptions about Discernment #3

Misconception #3: Reading the Bible and going to church are enough.

Truth: Discernment must be practiced. “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:14, emphasis mine

Yes, we need to study the Bible. Yes, we need instruction from pastors and teachers. Yes, we must spend time with other believers. Without these, it is impossible to gain discernment. Let me state that again. You cannot gain discernment without spending time in the Word of God and with fellow-believers. For church is necessary to our growth as Christians, and Scripture provides us the standard to “distinguish good from evil.”

However, many seem to think this is enough. This is a lie. While you cannot gain discernment without them, neither do church-going and Bible study guarantee the development of discernment. As James points out, knowing does not equal doing. This is why he says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) This admonishment would not be necessary if Christ-like character could be gained by osmosis.

Likewise, discernment: It is not gained by osmosis, but as the writer of Hebrew says, “by constant use.” Discernment is gained through practice, by applying it day in and day out in all situations.

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