Five Steps Toward Discernment

TASHA CHAPMAN | GUEST “…for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord” (Eph. 5:8-10). “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9-11). On most days we have hard decisions to make and tough responses to give. Some are especially burdensome and can easily result in conflict. Negotiating a project with a co-worker. Saying “no” to a friend. Meeting with a child’s teacher. Building bridges with a neighbor. These challenges immediately raise our need for discernment. Throughout the Bible’s stories, God’s people have urgent needs for discernment. Early in his reign, when God visited King Solomon in a dream, Solomon’s one request of God was for discernment to govern the people rightly (1 Kings 3:9-11).  The psalmists declare that they need God’s help to confess sin because God discerns our hearts better than we do ourselves (Ps. 19:12; 139:2). The prophet Isaiah exposes idolatry as a ridiculous lack of human discernment (Is. 44:18-20). We see the importance of discernment in the Apostle Paul’s command and prayer for the churches (noted above). How can we think more discerningly about our complicated decisions and challenging responses?