Near the end of his sermon on Mark 1:21-22, I heard Chris say, “Christians who desire to follow God’s Word must grow to be discerning and teachable.” He referenced Hebrews 5:14, which says that mature believers “practice to have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
Afterwards, I was thinking, “How do you do that? What kind of training would change a heart and mind, so that both were able to tell the difference between right and wrong.” Many people I know would say that all Christians need to do is “trust their gut” in order to tell the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Earlier in my walk, I believed something similar.
Simply wanting to follow God, though, isn’t enough to give proper discernment. Here’s one of the ways I figured that out — I was thinking about the story of King Josiah from the Old Testament. Many of the kings of that era were evil in their hearts, but not Josiah. Josiah had a heart that wanted to follow God, and he tried hard to do what he thought was right in the eyes of the Lord. The Book of the Law, though, had been lost, and the story of the Book’s discovery unfolds in 2 Kings 22.
Despite his efforts to do right, Josiah tore his robes when he was read the law, deeply convicted of his lack of obedience to it. What hit me about this passage is that Josiah’s disobedience wasn’t because of a callous heart; it was because of a lack of knowledge of God’s Word.
For me, the process of becoming more discerning starts with stopping my thought process that relies heavily on MY reasoning. Instead, I have learned to ask myself the question, “What does the Word say about this?” The more I ask these questions, the more my heart and mind are trained to recognize the will and character of God, and thus I am able to detect the difference between that (which is good) and the opposite (which is evil).
Aren’t you thankful that God didn’t leave us to our own devices to figure out good and evil? Since my heart is easily deceived, I know that I would be lost without His Word, just like Josiah. Praise God that He gives us His Word so that we can “have [our] senses trained to discern good and evil.”