Mastery is largely an illusion.
Whether it is learning a musical instrument or growing a garden or playing a sport, you will never outgrow ways to improve your skill or lessons to learn. Oh, a time may come when your ability exceeds that of most or even perhaps all others. This, I suspect, is what many of us really mean when we refer to mastery. But such excellence, as many masters will attest to, does not mean you have “made it,” whatever “it” is, to the point that they no longer need to learn anything.
Discernment is the same way. The day will never come when you are discerning and you will never have to worry about it again. Discernment, rather, is a process—an endless one.
On the surface, that may sound discouraging. As humans, we like end points. We want definite places where we can say, “We’ve made it.” We want ways to compare ourselves to others, to make ourselves feel important—which is probably one reason why things like maturity, spiritual growth, and discernment have no end points—it hinders pride and finger pointing.
However, if we will dig past the surface—and our selfish pride—the endlessness of learning discernment is a wonderful thing. It means we serve an infinite God.
For discernment is the ability to separate good from evil. We learn the ability to separate them by learning to recognize what is good. We discover what is good through our study of God. Because God is infinite, we will never run out of facets of Him to explore. Since our knowledge of Who God is will forever be expanding, our understanding of good will also continue to expand, our ability to separate good from evil will grow, and our discernment will keep on increasing.
And that makes discernment worth life-long pursuit.