by Dr. Charles Stanley
Monday January 2, 2006
The Need for Spiritual Discernment
In Scripture, love is not a feeling but rather knowledge of the other person — an understanding of motivations, thought patterns, and preferences. In this passage, Paul says he wants the Philippians to grow in their knowledge of God so that they can choose the best way to live. Because our heavenly Father doesn’t want us living by feelings or sight, He provides the gift of spiritual discernment — this is the believer’s capacity to judge situations correctly and to determine God’s best by analyzing opportunities. Unfortunately, not every Christian will cultivate this gift, but those with wisdom recognize the benefit of always practicing good judgment.
To live in the Lord’s will, we must have a discerning spirit. God longs for us to walk in the way that simultaneously brings Him greatest glory and blesses us with joy and peace. Believers don’t search blindly for this road; our Lord will reveal the path to anyone who asks. But we must be able to judge what is of Him and what is not so that we don’t pursue avenues which merely seem right. Many opportunities and situations that look good aren’t His will.
Likewise, much information expressed as true is actually false. In order to remain in the Lord’s will, believers must be able to distinguish between truth and error. We would be unwise to accept as accurate everything we hear on the Internet, radio, or television. What we hear from influential people, the media, and even the pulpit must be evaluated against the only reliable measure for spiritual discernment: the standards of Scripture.