Summary: Ask the Lord to help your decisions take into account Biblical, spiritual, moral, mental, social, historical, and interpersonal factors.
Quote: Jesus said, "If anyone is willing to know my will they will know of the teaching if it is from God or whether I merely speak from myself." (John 7:17)
Illustration:To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
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.
Example: 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.
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)
Application: 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. 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.
Application: 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.
Example: 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.