Discernment is hard to come by in Christian circles nowadays. For fear of being labeled as bigots or overly critical, most of us do not want to make any judgments on others even though we sense that something is wrong. To preserve unity among the brethren, we have held back from making correct discernments. Here in the Gospel of John, Jesus called for discernment. He testified against the world and the people for their deeds were evil. His discernment came from the Father and that was why He made all the right judgments.
Jesus also had discernment about the time and opportunities. He told His brothers that His time was not yet there but their time was always opportune. Then He said that His time was not yet fully come. So later on He went to the feast where the people grumbled among themselves on how they should discern who Jesus was. Some said that He was a good man but others said that He was leading the people astray. The Jews were astonished at His teachings since He did not have formal education. Then Jesus began to teach them a few things about discernment.
The prerequisite for discernment is to be willing to do the will of God. Obedience is the key to knowing God’s will. Most of us want to know more in order to believe, but believers must believe and trust in order to know. Secondly, to discern a teaching to see whether it is from God or not, we must see if the person is speaking from himself or from God. If he is speaking for himself, he is seeking his own glory. But he is seeking the glory of the Father, the teaching is then legitimated and true, there is no unrighteousness in him.
Most of us judge by appearance and so we do not make the right judgments. The Jews in Jesus’ days did just that and they missed the Messiah who was right in their midst. When we judge others with unfairness, we are prejudiced against certain types of people. Without discernment, we may nail the innocent on the cross and persecute those who are righteousness.
The key to discernment is to obey God’s will and agree with His judgment of what is right and what is wrong. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was just that. When we try to discern on our own and speak out of the self, setting up our own standards, then we are not eating of the fruit of the Tree of Life. When we speak, we may hurt others and break their spirits. The first lesson in discernment is to discern yourself, your words and your actions whether they are in conformity with the Word of God. Do you have some teaching or persons to discern? Ask God now to give you the power of discernment. He wants you to know and your knowledge comes from your obedience to Him. Are you doing His will?
Ps 68:28-35 1 Sam 12:1-13:22 John 7:1-29 Prov 15:4