Truth or Almost Truth
Scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 1 John 4:1 Ephesians 4 Acts 17:10-11 2 Peter 1:3-4 1 Corinthians 12:7-11
I am blessed to have 2 wonderful great grandchildren, and watching them grow is both fascinating and awe inspiring. It staggers me that, although they are both toddlers and only just learning to speak, their perception of what is going on around them is developing so quickly. They are able to distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour because they are being taught and guided by those who love them. Theoretically, as we have all grown, our ability to discern between truth and error, right and wrong should also have grown. Without this discernment, communities become chaotic, with no self-control or care for others. Does this sound in any way familiar in this 21st century?
But what benchmark do we use to apply this? How do we make this distinction in our thinking? There can only be one arbiter, God Himself has to be the plumb line by which all else is measured. And, as followers of Christ, this discernment has to be an intrinsic part of our walk with Him.
Thinking about this has made me wonder whether I place enough emphasis on learning how to discern in the way both Paul and John instruct. Their warnings are clear, the need to examine everything is essential for all who are doing their best to follow Christ. Unless we actively work on this learning, we will be tossed about by every wind of doctrine. We will be swayed by the false teachings of those that the enemy uses so effectively.
For many churchgoers through the ages the need to be obedient to these teachings seems to have been supplanted by the attraction of doctrines that take less dedicated, often hard to accomplish, step by step learning. In Paul’s day, the Bereans were well known for the way they tested every spoken word against God’s word. I have to ask myself, am I that diligent?
In these days when the whole world seems intent upon shifting the goal posts so that their own actions suddenly become acceptable and right, we desperately need to be able to discern God’s Voice, that still small Voice of Holy Spirit whispering in our ear. That Voice that doesn’t seek to shout louder than the clamour of all the other voices, but waits for us to open our ears and our hearts to seek for Him.
And we need to be encouraged, because God has granted to us the ability to effectively do this.
In his second letter, Peter is clear that we have been given all we need, in Christ Jesus, to be able to walk in this fallen world while discerning what is the real Truth and not wavering. Charles Spurgeon once said, "Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather it is telling the difference between right and almost right."
Being obedient to God is not optional, and it is often not easy, but we have the life of Christ within us, Holy Spirit guiding, teaching, leading us day by day, hour by hour. Discernment is essential to our own safety and peace of mind amongst all the noise and chaos of the world. It is the God given ability to think and then apply Biblical truths in all areas of our lives. These precious truths are our anchor, God’s Word is our safe harbour.
Prayer: Father God, grant us all the determination to set our faces to seek You, to apply Your gift of discernment to all we do and all we hear. In the Revelation of Jesus Christ and by the power of Holy Spirit. Amen