Summary: Discernment is more than just being able to make the right choice, it has to be married with the capacity to do the right thing
Spirit of Discernment
Disaster waiting to happen
• Ask one of the little kids to serve a tray of drinks to the audience
Was this a good idea? Why not?
• Congratulations, you have the gift of discernment
What is discernment? Think about the exercise we just did – How come you knew it was a bad idea to ask a small child to carry a big tray of drinks?
• So discernment is the ability to be able to see the future consequences of a particular course of action
• You knew there was a good chance the glasses would be spilt if I gave this job to a person who did not have the ability or experience to do it
Let me tell you about Jenny – one of my nieces in America
• The day we arrived at Susan’s parents, Jenny (24) was going out on to lunch with a guy friend who had a small baby
• Jenny is one of those people who doesn’t like to wear seatbelts
• They were driving alone one of the freeways in SLC when a semi trailer switched lanes on them unexpectedly, sideswiped their car, sending it into a roll, which bounced them across the center divide and into the path of oncoming traffic
• Fortunately the oncoming traffic stopped in time and things weren’t any worse than they already were
• Miraculously in this case Jenny had decided to wear her seatbelt but only because she wanted to set a good example for the child who was with them
• You see she knew better, she knew she should be wearing the belt
• So she was lucky, she got out of that accident with a couple of scratches and a few bruises, and maybe a broken tail bone
• The guy she was with wasn’t so lucky. He didn’t like wearing seat belts either, and he didn’t have his on
• As the car rolled, his head smashed through the windshield and scraped along the ground as the car ground to a halt
• Fortunately for him he only lost some skin on his skull and the baby who was in a car seat was unscratched
• So they were all very, very fortunate
• Chances are, they will all wear seatbelts in the future, at least for a short time
• The human mind has a great capacity to forget
So discernment is the ability to be able to see the future consequences of a particular course of action
• Many times in scripture we are told to learn the trait of discernment
• The apostle John challenges us in his epistles to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1)
• To learn to discern between truth and error (1 John 4:6).
• He calls on us to avoid sin, which requires that we discern what is sinful (1 John 2:1; 3:4–10).
• He tells us to distinguish between the things of the world and the will of God (1 John 2:15–17),
• and he appeals for us to identify deceivers and avoid them (1 John 2:18–29; 3:7).
• Paul too in 1 Cor 2:15 to “judge” (discern or test) all things
So it is something we need to be learning in our own Christian walk and teaching our kids to do
• My kids got so sick of me saying to them as they’re growing up, “that the consequence of your decision!”
• If they didn’t do their homework and got into trouble with the teacher, I would simply say, “that the consequence of your decision!”
• I wanted to get them into the habit of thinking about the consequences of the choices they were making
• Parents don’t like to see their kids making dumb decisions that lead to painful consequences
• That’s why we nag
• Jenny’s mum had told her a 1000 times to wear a seatbelt because she didn’t want her injured
• God too hates to see his children suffer, that’s why he wants to rescue us from sin
That’s also why He wants you and me to learn the spirit of discernment – to avoid the hurt of sin and to learn the way of love
• However God wants more from us than just avoiding the hurt of sin – that can be a pretty selfish motive
Let’s do a little exercise here. Lets look at a couple of situations and look at our motives to see if they are selfish or godly?
• What is the selfish motive for not drinking and driving? – going to cost you money and a lot of walking if you lose your license
• What is the godly motive? I’m not going to drink and drive as it puts my fellow man at risk of death and injury