We’ve talked about the importance of asking the Lord to increase our discernment, and also asking His perspective on particular situations and then listening for His answer. As we develop the habit of inquiring of the Lord for His vantage point on the circumstances which surround us, we grow in discernment.
Even more important, however, is to immerse ourselves in the Bible. Intimate familiarity with the Word is vital, if we are to understand God’s nature and hear Him accurately. It teaches us how God speaks, what His voice sounds like, and how He ticks. It clues us in to His viewpoint on life. If we are not well-versed in the Bible, our discernment will be stunted and skewed.
Multitudes of Christian people in our day are buying into all sorts of false teaching and popular, but unbiblical, opinions. It is almost hard to grasp how duped many believers are. But it is due to not regularly reading the Bible, while indiscriminately absorbing whatever looks and sounds good through the Internet and other forms of media. Truly, even among the Church, we are back in the days when “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” (Judges 21:25) and “There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
One of the greatest antidotes to deception, and also one of the best ways to increase discernment, is to immerse ourselves in the Word. Reading it is important. Go beyond reading it to studying the parts which puzzle or intrigue you. E-Sword is an excellent free downloadable Bible program, with many translations, commentaries, and Bible dictionaries within it. You can look up the original Greek and Hebrew words to enhance your understanding. There are also lots of great online resources available. I personally like Bible Gateway. Do you have other favorite Bible tools? Why not share them by commenting on them and leaving a link to them?
Besides reading and studying God’s Word, we also need to meditate in it, which means to ponder it. The goal is to be thinking throughout the day about a particular verse or passage which is meaningful to you in your present circumstances. With a whole book of verses to choose from, where does one begin? What works best for me is to ask the Lord which verse He wants me to meditate on. He then either brings one to mind as I go about my daily business, or else He highlights one to me in my regular course of Bible reading. As I begin to ponder that verse, He shows me how it applies to me in ways which I would not have thought of on my own. Often, He then brings other verses to mind which correlate with the first one and further expand my understanding.
Listening to Scripture is another way to immerse ourselves in it. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17), so we really ought to avail ourselves of this method of absorbing God’s truth. Read it aloud to yourself or use one of the audio recordings abundantly available online.
Next time I will share with you a couple more practical ways to increase your discerning skills.