The spirit of our age is one of tolerance. But the church is the keeper of timeless truth. Too often, Christians in our culture throw discernment to the wind and accept everything that's labeled "Christian" without testing to make sure it truly aligns with the truth of God's Word. The consequences can be disastrous. 

 

It's only by developing discernment that you can be sure to walk in God's wisdom. Here's how you can discern truth in an age of error:

 

Desire wisdom. Humbly acknowledge your own potential for self-deception. Distrust your personal feelings and cast scorn on self-sufficiency. Look to the Bible as the final arbiter of all things.

 

Pray for discernment. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth.

 

Obey the truth. Once you know the truth, act accordingly. Understand that if God sees you obeying what He has already revealed to you, He will choose to reveal more to you.


Follow discerning leaders. Find and emulate leaders who display an ability to discern, analyze and refute error, and teach Scriptures clearly and accurately. Learn from their example how to think critically and clearly.

 

Depend on the Holy Spirit. Understand that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate counselor. Be filled with the Holy Spirit and stay attuned to the Spirit through frequent prayer. Rely on the Spirit's strength rather than just your own.

 

Study the Scriptures. Read the Bible regularly. Memorize it. Ponder it. Pray about it. Discuss it. Get to know God's real message well, so you'll recognize counterfeit teachings when you encounter them. Examine everything carefully using the Bible (rather than personal experience, a human teacher, or a feeling) as your standard of what's true and good.

 

Shun what's false. When you come upon corrupt, erroneous doctrine (which often contains a portion of truth mixed with contaminating falsehood), know that the only proper response is to shun it completely. Don't compromise by diluting biblical truth with secular ideas. Test the doctrine you hear against the truth of the gospel.

 

Beware of watered-down preaching. Look for a church where preachers derive their messages directly from the Bible. Don't settle for shallow, warm and fuzzy messages that simply present secular ideas dressed up as Christian principles. Make sure you're learning more and more about the Bible each week during your worship service.