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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

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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!”


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