EBay had a commercial about “IT”. Basically the ad talks about finding “IT” on EBay – “IT” being whatever IT is you might be looking for. Now I have bought and sold items on Ebay, but I will freely admit, even if they will not, that you cannot find every IT you may be looking for. There are times I am looking for a new attitude, but I will not find IT on Ebay! It is important to use a bit of discretion and discernment when going there to look for IT.
Discernment is a word you do not hear very often. It is not a term that our culture uses much anymore nor is it – unfortunately – a term you hear in the church much anymore. Frankly, I like discernment and seek it wherever possible.
In the New Testament, several different Greek words are used to translate the idea of discernment. Although they all carry basically the same idea; to analyze, make a determination, to judge, investigate, etc. The point is discernment involves some ability to analyze and make a determination about something. It is a “gift” that not many people exercise. (1Cor. 12:10)
True, discernment is listed as on of the gifts in 1Corinthians. However, that does not mean that a non-gifting ability to discern is negated. We should all exercise judgement on what we hear, see, and may be taught. This years political campaign should teach us that, if nothing else.
In a recent Bible study discussion, a person said that the Bible teaches the proper position for prayer is on our knees. Naturally, I immediately reacted in my mind, thinking, “Uhm, I wonder where that verse is because obviously I have been doing it wrong for a long time.” Nevertheless, the statement went unchallenged – even by me – at the time.
Of course, small statements like that may not be of critical importance in the grand scheme of things. However, I do believe they should be “challenged” if it sounds like it may not be “accurate”. And ,I suppose we all make inaccurate paraphrases of scripture or parts of theology from time to time. Nevertheless, it is important that we be discerning, both in speech and hearing.
In a recent blog post, I read the account of a woman pastor who was being called as the Senior pastor of a fairly significant SBC church in a town in Texas. The issue centered around whether or not this was acceptable under the teachings of Scripture. It was NOT whether it was acceptable under our current cultural understanding of equality for men and women. My question was, is the church challenging “culture” or “scripture” in their action? In addition, were they attempting to draw attention to themselves or did they truly believe, no harm-no foul?
Does the teaching of the Bible change with our culture? Obviously yes, not many sacrifices are made any longer, and the Temple is no longer the only meeting place with God nor do we disallow women to speak in church (although that might be a good thing). 🙂 So how do we discern what is right and what is simply acceptable according today’s standard? Read and study the Scripture. Then, read and study the Scripture. Then, well – you get the idea.
Discernment is possible only when you have truth as the backboard to bounce things up against. Not cultural truth, but biblical truth.
Do you have IT?