Discernment is a skill that is terribly lacking in the church today as evidenced by the number of Christians who read books by heretical authors, listen to sermons by heretical preachers, and then happily encourage their fellow Christians to do the same. I could understand this with someone new to the faith who is not mature enough to recognize error, but there are a lot of Christians who should know better who are falling prey to movements like Word of Faith and NAR.
The Bible has a lot to say about discernment in these verses and those seeking it desire the ability to make a distinction between good and evil. King Solomon prayed for discernment in judging God’s people in 1 Kings 3:9. and Paul prayed that the Philippians would abound in real knowledge and all discernment in Philippians 1:9-10.
So, discernment skills must be important in the Christian life, because it is a much sought after ability in the Old and New Testament. Unfortunately, many do not seek it today. Rather, they seek cotton candy, man-centered entertainment that tickles the ears and makes them feel good about their sin. They trade reading the Bible for books offering moralistic therapeutic deism.
The writer of Hebrews wrote that solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil (Heb 5:14). You have to start with the Bible so that you can recognize error when you see it, hear it, or read it. If you don’t have a firm foundation in the word and you start reading an author such as T.D. Jakes, you are going to take what he writes as gospel…and it is anything but the Gospel! (Jakes preaches the prosperity gospel) Anyone with discernment skills would leave any book by Jakes on the bookshelf. In fact, any Christian with proper discernment skills would just stay out of most Christian bookstores altogether. If you don’t know what I mean, go take a look at all the heretical books they push.
I believe the remedy for this lack of discernment is for Christians to start actually reading the Bible every day, book by book, over and over and over, and by all means, pray for it like Solomon did. This is the solid food we all need to partake of daily so that we grow into mature Christians and develop the discernment skills required to recognize and avoid error.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2.