Discernment: Use It or Lose It

If we don't use our discernment, we'll lose it. This devotion offers 6 areas of concern.

Warning: This devotion may make you uncomfortable. 

We must prepare our hearts and minds for the increasing hatred, censorship, and persecution against Christian values. And we must avoid things that cause us to lose discernment.

The following things can make us weak, confused, and unprepared to stand firm: 

1. Entertaining ourselves with books, movies, and TV programs that glorify immorality or contradict Scripture (Psalm 101:3)

2. Listening to health, wealth, and self-esteem teachings (Romans 12:2).

3. Indiscriminately using resources from well-known Christians who've caved in to cultural pressures or aligned themselves with ex-vangelicals (2 Corinthians 6:14).

4. Listening to the gay revisionists, ex-vangelicals, and progressive Christians who deny major Bible teachings (2 John 1:7-11). 

5. Getting involved in pagan practices (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

6. Excusing sexual immorality (Isaiah 5:20).

All of these things will affect our discernment and make us less prepared for what lies ahead. So let's "prepare [our] minds for action and exercise self-control" (1 Peter 1:13).

💙Beyond 1-minute for those who want more:

If you are serious about having an uncompromising faith, read on! 

1. Entertainment that glorifies evil or distorts God's character.

It's easy to identify entertainment that glorifies ungodliness, but it's harder to give it up. I encourage you to ask yourself some hard questions about what you read, watch, and listen to. My husband and I have recently been examining these things in our lives. The more we allow ourselves to be entertained by immorality, the less discernment we have.

See Are you Enjoying Popular Pornography, and Porno is Porno and 20/20 Vision: Clean Vision

2. Health and wealth. 

The health and wealth gospel has been appealing to our fallen human nature for hundreds of years, and it continues to thrive despite the fact that it’s a clear misuse of Scripture. Even if we don't listen to health and wealth teachers, we must be careful not to take on the attitude that God owes us these things. Another false philosophy that appeals to our fallen human nature is the self-esteem movement. If our goal is to esteem ourselves, we'll fail to esteem God. These teachings distort the meaning and purpose of Scripture and cause us to lose discernment.

See the Healing Collection, In God's Economy, Sometimes Less is MoreThe Popular Teachings of Joel Osteen, and Biblical Self-Esteem.

If we don't use our discernment, we'll lose it. This devotion offers 6 areas of concern.

3. Indiscriminately using resources from well-known Christians who've caved in to cultural pressures.

Well-known Christian recording artists and Bible teachers are caving under pressure, denying the clear moral commands of Scripture in order to please our fallen culture. We need to pray for these people and quit trusting their teachings.

For example, Eugene Peterson, author of The Message decided that gay people who live homosexual lifestyles can still be good Christians. His compromised views are reflected in the way he paraphrased certain passages from the Bible (example). The Message isn't all bad, but reading it on a regular basis will lead to a loss of discernment, so why read it at all?

There are other teachers and authors who are remaining silent or making vague, evasive statements when asked questions about LBGTQ issues, women's issues, and abortion. Unless a teacher is willing to lovingly and unashamedly speak God's truth, don't use their materials. If your pastor or favorite Bible teacher says, “I affirm biblical marriage, but I think we’ve been wrong about gays and transgenders,” ask him to clarify. Is he talking about being kind and loving to gays, or is he talking about affirming their lifestyles? If your pastor quotes from The Message, ask him if he understands some of Peterson’s beliefs. 


4. Wilderness wanderers: rejecting the Bible but claiming they're Christians. 

I appreciate the honesty of Josh Harris when he gave up his Christian faith. He admitted that he couldn’t continue to call himself a Christian without believing biblical teachings. See When People Abandon Faith.

Unfortunately, we have many who are denying biblical beliefs but claiming to still be Christians. In fact, they claim that they know more about Jesus than the missionaries, martyrs, and Bible scholars for thousands of year of church history. Make sure you aren't reading materials from those cited in Wilderness Wanderers.

See the collection of devotions about these Ex-vangelicals and Don't Wander in the Wilderness.

If we don't use our discernment, we'll lose it. This devotion offers 6 areas of concern.

5. Pagan alliances.

I know that speaking against yoga will cost me multiple unsubscribes, but I'm more interested in protecting Christians from harmful influences than remaining popular with the thousands of Christians who have made yoga their preferred form of "exercise." In Are You Willing to Examine Yoga Objectively, I share how God helped me understand the dangers of yoga long before it became popular in the U.S.

Satan loves to disguise paganism. Hatha yoga is the model for all "non-spiritual" and Christianized versions of yoga. The book, Hatha Yoga Pradipika says, the ignorant masses are not yet ready for the lofty raja yoga and so hatha yoga has been developed as a 'staircase' to lead them to it. (source)

Albert Mohler, President of the Baptist Theological Seminary, believes “the growing acceptance of yoga points to the retreat of biblical Christianity in the culture.” (source)

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 says: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.' Therefore, 'Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.' And, 'I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.'" 

See Examining Yoga Biblically and be sure to read the concerns of well-known Bible teachers: Piper, Mohler, and Others on Yoga. See also Three Ways of Looking at Popular Pagan Practices and Pagan Influences.

Any involvement in the things above will affect our discernment, but involvement in #6 will destroy our discernment: 

6. Underestimating sexual sins.

If you are accepting the un-biblical claims that God approves of premarital sex or LBGTQ lifestyles, you are headed down a dangerous path. If you are viewing pornography at all. If you are allowing yourself to entertain dirty thoughts. If you are involved with anyone to whom you are not married, you are using the temple of the Holy Spirit for evil. You will definitely lose your discernment and be unprepared for the difficulties you will face in the future.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says: "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."

See the collection of 1-minute devotions called God's View of Sex.

Bible Love Notes

4 comments:

  1. I was a bit 'taken back' last night while watching a news program that I often view. Over the past few months, I have turned to this broadcast to get updated on 'current events' and had the impression that the newscaster is pro-life, supports our military, and is a God-fearing individual. He may very well be all of those things. However, when the conversation turned to a discussion regarding supporting a trans-gender individual for political office, I began to hear things said that were unexpected. (Disclaimer: I am not sharing this because of 'politics'.)

    The guests began to make 'the usual comments' (movie: 'The Usual Suspects'): "We are not suppose to judge"; "To each their own"; "It's more important that we support The Party than to base our decisions on any personal beliefs". I immediately turned off the TV.

    In addition to being caught off guard a bit, I was surprised, saddened, and reminded of a C.S. Lewis quote: "The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.... Most damned souls attain that condition without committing any blatantly evil act, but by slowly losing sight of what is good, and allowing their self-interest to take over."

    I may or may not turn to that broadcast again. What I do know is that if I do, I will be much more guarded in the future. For now, I'll view it as 'lesson learned'. However, it has left me concerned. When we place anything as greater importance than the instructions our Lord has given us in His Word, and especially of more importance than Him, we are on the 'slippery road' of idolatry. I pray we all seek Him more diligently in these times for His discernment. It is vital.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jude,
      I think you've addressed some important aspects of discernment. i.e. we need to recognize non-biblical views even when they come from someone we've previously trusted.

      We can't let someone else discern truth and error for us. We must do it ourselves.

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    2. So true. Romans 14:12 "So then each of us shall give account of himself to God." There will be no "the woman you gave me" (Gen. 3:12) or 'the (devil) made me do it (beguiled me)' (Gen. 3:13) permitted as a defense before the Throne. (((HUGS)))

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  2. Hey Gail,
    Thank you for writing this. I'm a huge fan of your blog page.
    As for me, I also realized much of what we watch on tv is made to desensitize us from the truth. So, I have also reduced my television intake...

    ReplyDelete