Discernment…

My mental wheels are turning this morning as I review discussions I’ve had with others in recent days. What comes to mind that I consider to be of paramount importance is the issue of discernment. Discern is defined this way: 1. to perceive by the sight or other sense or by the intellect; see, recognize, or apprehend. 2. to distinguish mentally; recognize as distinct or different; discriminate: to discern right from wrong.

As I engage group after group of college students from one semester to the next, I recognize the competing worldviews that exist. I chose the word competing intentionally as they, indeed, are competing, not complementary. What hurts and astounds me, though, is that many who profess to be Christians hold a wordview that conflicts with the teachings of Christ. I believe these folks have unknowingly bought into a worldview that is in opposition to Christ Himself. In other words, I believe many have failed to discern truth from what is false to their own detriment and to that of those with whom they relate. What is happening and has happened over time is that the predominant, secular worldview has been fed to us in a steady diet through television and other media over the course of time with bits and pieces of truth reaching us in much smaller doses from Sunday to Sunday and what takes up residence as authoritative truth is what we hear and see most.

It pains me to see and hear the laughter of many over grossly impure and immoral messages delivered by an actor, actress, or other entertainer/performer by the masses without discerning the outcome of our acceptance and promotion of depravity. As a parent, I shudder to think of the grand persuasion away from truth, away from godliness, that our children are exposed to in popular culture. I truly believe that as a society we have lost our way and the evidence is paramount. Just look and see the violence, drug abuse, pornography, sexual immorality, greed, and deceit that is rampant. What is the cost of failure to discern? Calculate the cost and then ask, “am I complicit in this falling away from purity and truth? What do I watch and listen to? What do I laugh at? What do I allow or bring before the eyes of my child or bring to his ears daily?” These questions matter. The consequences of our lack of discernment have not only temporal, but eternal consequences. Without doubt, I believe this to be true.

I see and hear people creating their own god, one who agrees with worldly claims and with the desires of their own hearts, minds, and bodies, not the God of the Bible. When we make up a god, that fits all of our liking and requires no surrender or sacrifice on our part, we are simply participating in idolatry. How this saddens my heart! The One True God is perfect, without flaw, righteous in all His ways. He does not conform to us, we are called to conform to Him, to His ways.

Our society has eroded as a result of the move away from belief in absolute truth. Truth is absolute. It is not relative, subject to manipulation. Truth and righteousness were established long ago by God Himself and they remain unchanged and unchangable. What was true is forever true and we, as followers and children of God are to say, “amen, so be it!” That is our call. It is one of wholehearted commitment and humble submission to His ultimate and sovereign authority.

Without absolute truth, there is no basis for discernment. If all arguments are equally valid, what is the point of anyone opening the mouth ever to speak? Truth, my friend, will set us free. Anything short of the truth is deceit and leads to destruction, demise, and death. The battle that began in the garden exists today on a grand scale. Will we believe the truth or buy the lie? That is still the question to all. May we choose truth and be blessed by discerning well.

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