by Neil Anderson

September 2

OUR FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE

Ecclesiastes 8:5, 6 NIV 
The wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter

I had dear friends who were being used by the Lord in full-time ministry. Some difficulty developed in their marriage so they consulted a pastor/counselor. The wife's response after the initial meeting was negative, but they continued with this particular counselor because other people they respected said he was a good man.

Over the next year, the ministry my friends were in, as well as our relationship, deteriorated. A short time later their pastor/counselor was exposed for having sex with a number of counselees. The damage he did to several women was incredible. He justified his behavior by explaining, "What we do in the flesh doesn't matter. Only what we do in the spirit counts!"

My friends were confronted with an ultimatum by their ministry group: "Choose your ministry or choose him." They chose to stay with him!

Why won't people judge righteously? "Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil" (1 John 3:7, 8). The authoritative, arrogant spirit of this man had some kind of hold on many since half his church stayed with him. The initial discernment of my friends was correct, but they ignored the warning of the Holy Spirit.

I believe discernment is a critical part of our walk with God. This divine enablement is our first line of defense when our ability to reason is insufficient. Jesus demonstrated spiritual discernment throughout His earthly ministry. We need to learn how to develop our ability to discern good from evil, truth from lies.

Prayer: Dear Father, I want to have a wise and discerning spirit. Teach me to be responsive to Your leading so I can have my senses trained to discern good and evil.

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