Summary: Guidance in helping us make distinctions between decisions that are good, better or best. Failure to make these distinctions in our decision-making leads to mediocrity, apathy and complacency.
How To Discern Between Decisions that are Good, Better or Best
Quote: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. (Prov. 3:5,6)
Quote: This I pray that you would be filled with the knowledge of His will with all spiritual wisdom and insight. So that you may discern what is best and may be prue and blameless until the day of Christ. (Col. 1:9-11)
Illustration:A bishop of a century ago pronounced from his pulpit and in the periodical he edited that heavier-than-air flight was both impossible and contrary to the will of God. Oh, the irony that Bishop Wright had two sons, Orville and Wilbur! Wright was wrong. Sure of himself, but wrong.
Robert P. Dugan, Jr., Winning the New Civil War, Page 38.
Illustration: Jessica Hawn, former church secretary who committed immoral acts with Jim Bakker (former host of the PTL Club), and later brought down the PTL empire, said today (9-28-87) that God gave her "real peace" about granting an interview to Playboy magazine and posing for topless pictures. On 9-29-87 the news reports that she still considers herself a Christian, but goes to God "one-on-one," not through any church or organization. Also: she doesn’t consider herself a "bimbo." But her mother does.
1. Have you ever wondered how to tell the difference between a good idea, a better choice or the best evaluative decision?
The most difficult decisions require a God given wisdom that helps us discern between what is good, what is better or what is best – from a Biblical perspective. Often, people evaluate information only on the credibility of the speaker.
In the case of the first century disciples they had to decide if Agabus was a true or a false prophet when he predicted there would be great famine all over the world. (Acts 11:28)
In the early church a true prophet could be recognized by his ability to speak the word of God with complete accuracy. The disciples were able to make a discerning evaluation of Agabus because they were in harmony with the spiritual discernment given by the Holy Spirit.
Illustration:Once while Francis of Assisi was hoeing his garden, he was asked, "What would you do if you suddenly learned that you were to die at sunset today?" He replied, "I would finish hoeing my garden."
Application: Ask the Lord to give you a finer discerning sense of the Spirit’s leading in all of your decisions.
2. The disciples grew in their discernment by experience and through Godly associates. They were not averse to learning from the experiences of Godly associates. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “But solid food is for full grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law.” (Heb. 5:14)
Quote: The more we become doers of the word, rather than merely hearers, the better we are able to make the best decisions in every situation.
3. The disciples based their decisions upon the teachings of scripture. When Agabus spoke they were able to evaluate if the thrust of his teaching resounded with the main Biblical themes. People who have exhibited a consistent delivery of Spirit led teaching are humble steward delivering merely what God has given to them.
Application: Learn how to be a good steward who can take the provisions from the Lord’s kitchen (The Bible) and not mess it up, dilute it or add to it during it delivery to the tables of those in waiting.
Ask God to help you to be a better discerner of those who are doing the best job as scriptural stewards.
4. The disciples learned from the experiences of discerning phonies from their experiences with Ananias and Sapphira in Acts chapter six. A counterfeiter tries to make an imitation of something genuine to deceive, defraud or pretend something to be what it is not in reality. Ananias’s lie to the Holy Spirit was probably the crowning act of a life of counterfeit goodness.
Few people commit spiritual counterfeiting unless they have a pattern of deception in their past. Check into people’s background to examine their track record and you will become much more discerning of how to distinguish between good, better and people who have made the best decisions. Remember that God is more interested in those who have shown faithful obedience where He gave the fruit.
5. The disciples learned from Peter who exposed the sin of spiritual counterfeiting for the benefit of the church in Acts six. It is often a painful task to expose someone who is guilty of lying to the church, but sometimes it is necessary. We live in a world that prefers people to be tolerant of everyone. Help people face facts of what is best in Biblical terms.