God has woven into us the ability to discern what is best, if we’re closely following Him.
"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ." Philippians 1:9-10 (NLT)
Have you ever had that deep-down knowing of what to do in a situation but ignored it? I understand.
My husband was out of town recently when a large box was delivered to my doorstep.
The delivery man graciously brought it inside. But I figured it might be a bit much for me to ask him to take it past the foyer, up the stairs, down the hall, and into the room my husband calls his man cave.
So there it sat, this mysterious, heavy box.
Deep inside, I knew this was nothing but some product one of my people had ordered.
But I didn’t listen to that awareness deep inside. I ignored it and listened to my fears instead. You know you’ve watched one too many mystery TV shows when your first thought about a mysterious box sitting in your foyer is that a person with scary intentions could fit inside. Yes, a crazy person with weapons could mail himself right into your foyer and sit there all day, quietly waiting until you went to bed.
So I kicked the side of the box to see if there was any kind of reflex action from a living thing inside of it. There wasn’t, of course. But then I decided just to be sure, I would stand around the corner from the box to see if I could step out of its line of sight and possibly hear something: a cough, a sneeze, anything.
I could leave no room for doubts, no room at all for any possible bad outcome from this box— a box that I eventually opened with a knife. Just in case. Only to discover a dorm-room refrigerator that someone had ordered.
I wasted half my day worrying about a box that contained a dorm fridge.
But we do this sometimes. We have a decision to make and we have that deep-down knowing. We know what to do. We know what the answer is. But we don’t go with that knowing. We over-process the what-ifs and the maybes until we find ourselves standing around a corner listening to see if a cardboard box containing a refrigerator might sneeze.
Now, there are certainly some decisions that need to be processed. But then there are other decisions we just simply need to say yes or no to and move on.
Find that courageous yes. Fight for that confident no. Know it. State it. Own it.
Sometimes it just comes down to that deep whisper within that says, "Uh-huh, yes." Or a simple, "No, not that."
God has woven into us the ability to discern what is best if we’re closely following Him. Philippians 1:9-10 says, "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ" (NIV). Discerning what is best is something we’re capable of doing as we layer knowledge and depth of insight into our lives. Read those verses again and see that gaining knowledge and depth of insight will allow us to develop a trustworthy discernment.
Knowledge is wisdom that comes from acquiring truth.
Insight is wisdom that comes from living out the truth we acquire.
Discernment is wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit’s reminders of that knowledge and insight.
I know a young mom who has really been struggling with the decision of whether to let her 2-year-old go to preschool a couple of half days a week next year. As I listened to her, I felt compelled to ask her three questions:
- Have you been reading and praying through God’s Word?
- Have you been applying God’s Word to your mothering?
- Have you sought godly counsel and insights from wise people who know specifics about your situation?
The answer to all three of those simple questions was yes, so I reminded her that she was assigned by God to be this child’s mother. If she had done these three things, then she had the ability to discern what was best.
She didn’t need to wait for some big neon sign to drop down from heaven to know what to do. If she had that deep knowing this was a no answer for her child, then she should go with that. If she had that deep knowing this was a yes answer for her child, then she should go with that.
It’s not about trusting ourselves. Rather, it’s about trusting the Holy Spirit to do what Jesus promised us in John 14:26: "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (NIV).
When we’ve done what we need to do to acquire the knowledge and insight of truth, then the discernment of that truth is there. We must learn to trust and use that discernment because the more we do this, the more wisdom we acquire to make God-honoring decisions.
Dear Lord, I want to make decisions that honor You this year. Lead me as I develop a trustworthy discernment. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 119:66, "Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Your commandments." (NASB)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Consider the three questions Lysa asked her friend to check her discernment. Is there one you need to work on this week?