But it goes one step further than just eliminating from our character any undesirable traits. We must also inculcate into our character those attributes that God does want to see in us.
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There are certain attributes that we must develop and make a part of our very being, or else God will not have us in His Family. In addition to these two there are other equally important character attributes we must also develop in order to please God. Ultimately we will have to develop every single character trait that God Himself has, because that will be the only way for us to ultimately "become one" with God, having the same character God has. One important attribute which God expects us to develop is discernment.
Discernment refers to the ability to distinguish between things, to separate things, to have good judgmental perception, to have insight, to recognize differences between things. Discernment requires both knowledge and understanding. Discernment is an ability which requires time to be developed in anyone, because discernment requires the accumulation of a certain amount of knowledge. When we came into this world we had no discernment at all. Those are things we had to learn and develop over time.
When people lack discernment they may at times be described as simplistic, naive, shallow, superficial, shortsighted, or even as deceived. In fact, discernment is one specific opposite of deception. A deceived person cannot discern between right and wrong. Deception and discernment are mutually exclusive because the one will block out the other.
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You understand that Satan has deceived "the whole world" Revelation This means that "the whole world" lacks real discernment, because they are all deceived. Because deceived people cannot discern what is right and what is wrong , therefore deceived people cannot really be called by God in this age. In order for anyone to potentially be called by God, that person must have a certain amount of discernment regarding what is right and what is wrong in the sight of God.
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world : he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Revelation Without discernment between right and wrong, people are uncallable by God.
They are easy pickings for Satan. That requires discernment. There are two aspects to this area: discerning the effect our words and actions will have on other people, and secondly, discerning the correct meaning and intentions underlying the words and actions of other people. In regard to this last point, discernment is the ability to correctly see and understand the viewpoints and the motivations of other people.
That ability will have a major influence on how we relate to and get along with other people. And how we relate to other people, and how we get along with other people is after all a large part of what true Christianity is all about. So a good sense of discernment has a major impact on the heart and core of basic Christian living. Jesus Christ very clearly says to us "ask and it shall be given you Give therefore your servant an understanding Hebrew " shama " heart to judge your people, that I may discern Hebrew " biyn " between good and bad: for who is able to judge this your so great a people?
And God said unto him, Because you have asked this thing, and have not asked for yourself long life; neither have asked riches for yourself, nor have asked the life of your enemies; but have asked for yourself understanding Hebrew " biyn " to discern Hebrew " shama " judgment; 1 Kings The Hebrew word "shama" has the basic meaning " to hear ".
But it also frequently has the extended meaning of " to obey ". That is somewhat like when we in English say: "now you listen to me", with the implied message that you will then do what I am telling you to do, that you will then obey me. In the KJV "shama" is translated times as "hear", times as "hearken", and 81 times as "obey". When "shama" is used in reference to a man responding to God, then it invariably has the meaning of "to obey". Our English translations have translated " shama " in verse 9 as "understanding" and in verse 11 as "discern".
Then our English translations have translated " biyn " in verse 9 as "discern" and in verse 11 as "understanding".
These translations imply that "shama" and "biyn" are interchangeable synonyms. But they are not interchangeable! Our translations have blurred the intended meanings. Solomon asked God not just to give him " a hearing heart " so that he could then discern between good and bad. Solomon was also asking God to give him " an obedient heart "; i. Solomon was asking God to give him an obedient frame of mind.
To this request God then replied: "you have asked for yourself discernment to hear judgment". While our English translations are not a major problem, we should be clear that what Solomon asked for was not wisdom. Solomon really asked for an attitude of being willing to listen , being willing to be obedient to God , so that he would then be equipped to discern between good and bad when he would have to judge the people. Wisdom, on the other hand, is typically a consequence of this particular attitude, but wisdom is not, and cannot be, a cause for such an attitude.
All our attitudes are always under our own control. And God does not give us attitudes. We ourselves have to provide the right attitudes. God never gives anyone "an obedient attitude". Now because Solomon was already providing the right attitude himself, i. Notice what God said to Solomon. Behold, I have done according to your words: lo, I have given you a wise and an understanding Hebrew " biyn " heart; so that there was none like you before you, neither after you shall any arise like unto you. Can you see that?
A "biyn" heart is not really the same as a "shama" heart. Solomon had asked for an attitude of being teachable and willing to obey God. And God certainly does not give us "an obedient spirit". We ourselves provide the attitudes we have. Specifically, Solomon himself had to provide a teachable and obedient attitude. And that is exactly what Solomon did at that stage of his life; he provided to God a very teachable and submissive attitude.
What God then gave Solomon was not a teachable, obedient attitude. God gave Solomon an ability , specifically the ability to discern between right and wrong. If Solomon would ever lose that humble, teachable attitude , then he would also lose the ability God had given him. This is something we really need to understand. This dependency of the ability on the continuation of the attitude is also reinforced in what God said next. And if you will walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as your father David did walk, then I will lengthen your days.
Our attitudes are one example in this regard. It never works for us to ask God to give us a good, teachable, humble, obedient attitude, because we ourselves have to provide that good attitude. This point also applies to other things for which we sometimes ask God, that the things we ask for are actually things for which we ourselves are responsible. For example, God does not give us any of the fruits of the holy spirit, like love, joy, peace, faith, meekness, etc.
God gives us the tools and the means for us ourselves to then produce fruits. God upon real repentance gives us the holy spirit, and we ourselves then have to produce "the fruits of the spirit", which Paul listed in Galatians chapter 5. We need to understand the difference between what we can ask God for, and what we ourselves are expected to do. But it was also a request that was made from a position of a certain lack of understanding.
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And there was much that Solomon did not yet understand at that point in time. I suspect that Solomon within the next two decades i. He learned that this is not something that God somehow gives to people. We ourselves have to provide the right, submissive, obedient attitude for God to work with us.
When we do provide that right attitude, then God will make discernment, amongst many other things, available to us, by giving us understanding. We must provide the fertile soil in which God can then plant the seed. So in order for us to develop the attribute of discernment, we need to ask God for understanding.
It is understanding that will then empower us to develop discernment in all areas of life. Without understanding, discernment is impossible. We develop discernment by making use of the understanding that God makes available to us.
the dividing linethe difference between discernment and deception Manual
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him , because we So God gave Solomon the ability to produce what is typically one of the fruits of the right attitude. If our speech is the expression of an attitude that is pleasing to God, then God will also answer our requests. When we bring our requests before God, then we should be following in the footsteps of a very young Solomon , one who was very humble, obedient and teachable.
It was pleasing to God when Solomon desired a better discernment so that he might do a better job in ruling over the people of Israel. This was not a selfish request. When our motivation is to develop a sense of discernment so that we can then more effectively fulfill our Christian responsibility to love our neighbor as ourselves, by the way we treat our neighbor, and by the way we correctly understand the motivations for his actions, then our prayerful requests will also be pleasing to God.
And when our requests are pleasing to God, then God will also answer our requests.
1. It Contradicts God’s Commandments
If our requests are not pleasing to God, then God will not answer our requests. The only requests God answers are those that are pleasing to Him. Therefore the most important point to ensure that God will answer our prayers is to always ask God only for things that will be pleasing to God. We must provide the humble, teachable attitude, and then God will provide the abilities and the means we will need to live the Christian life. And never forget that through the words of Jesus Christ God has already said to us: ask what I shall give you.
Let me give you an analogy. Here in the USA most adults learn to drive a car. And learning to drive is not difficult. All drivers know how to operate the steering wheel: when they want to turn right, then they turn the steering wheel to the right; and when they want to turn left, then they turn the steering wheel to the left. All drivers also know how to use the gas pedal and the brake pedal. When they want to slow down, then they step on the brake pedal; and when they want to speed up, then they press down the gas pedal. What is not so easy to learn is how to deal with unexpected circumstances.
What do you do when a small child suddenly runs in front of your car? What do you do when you suddenly see a big pothole right in front of your path? What do you do when you drive around a corner and there is a large object lying in the middle of your lane? What do you do if after some very heavy rain the road in front of you is flooded by what you think is a foot of water?
What do you do when your car starts to make some unexpected noises What if it is winter and drizzling with the temperature just above freezing, and then as you drive into the night the temperature starts to drop. How do you establish whether the road is still safe to drive on, or whether it is freezing over and becoming very dangerous?
What do you do when one of your tires suddenly bursts? What do you do when you are driving down a hill and your brakes fail? What do you do when your window wipers stop working during a rain storm and you must get to your destination in a hurry? What if there is a fire ahead of you, and the flames have already jumped over the road, and there is dense smoke everywhere?
What do you do when there is a stretch where your dirt road is very muddy Even though the driver knows how to drive his car, a lack of experience can lead to a driver making wrong decisions in such unexpected situations, and perhaps getting stuck or perhaps having a serious accident. An inexperienced driver commonly does not read the unexpected situation correctly , and as a result he easily makes a bad decision.
Judgment vs. Discernment
Correct discernment prepares a person for correctly dealing with unexpected circumstances. A person with good discernment is like a very experienced driver. A person who lacks discernment is like the novice driver who has no experience at all with unusual circumstances, and whose reflexes have not been conditioned to respond to unexpected situations. A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
Proverbs One key for developing discernment highlighted in this verse is to always look ahead.
In driving looking ahead gives us an earlier warning of potential problems on our road, and in life looking ahead helps us to anticipate potentially undesirable situations in our personal dealings with other people. The single greatest factor that sets people with discernment apart from those who lack discernment is this matter of looking ahead! Ecclesiastes The person with discernment knows when to present some information, and when to keep that information to himself.
He knows whether that information is suitable for sharing with other people or whether it should be kept private. The foolish person commonly does not discern that his words can very easily cause a great deal of damage. It goes without saying that a person who gossips is utterly devoid of discernment. As Solomon wrote:. A talebearer reveals secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit conceals the matter.
The words of a talebearer are as wounds , and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. Proverbs ; Proverbs A lack of discernment marks the talebearer. Talebearers have an awful lot of hatred in their lives. And they have no discernment at all. And wherever there is a total absence of discernment, there is also an absence of conversion. In plain language: talebearers are not converted. Their minds have not been changed. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Hebrews And the Bible, the written word of God, makes discernment available to us. The Bible is a tool for developing discernment in us. It is a tool that we must use. Specifically, the Bible enables us to discern between outward actions and appearances on the one hand, and the inward motivations and intentions and desires of the heart on the other hand. This discernment between these two things will help us distinguish between right conduct and right actions which stem from a godly motivation, and right actions and right conduct which are based on selfish and ungodly motivations.
But just like becoming a good driver requires a lot of experience in actually driving a car, so also getting discernment requires a lot of use. It requires a lot of practice, like an athlete training for a competition. For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. We have to practice discerning right and wrong. Discernment comes with lots of practicing. Jeremiah God tells us that it is dangerous for us to rely on human beings.
That is where we need discernment. We all experience many situations where the people we are interacting with have some kind of self-interest at stake, as for example when we are dealing with people who want to sell us something. Often such people attempt to disguise their own self-interest, trying to appear objective and unbiased.
Perhaps we bought "a lemon" from a second-hand car dealer? Or we were conned into buying a totally new piece of equipment when our old piece of equipment could easily have been repaired very cheaply. Or we bought something that turned out to be totally useless. Our problem was that we lacked discernment. We did not discern that the other person was trying to get as much money from us as they could possibly finagle out of us. But we were deceived, and we were then tricked into buying something.
It is all psychological trickery. It is especially helpful to keep Jeremiah in mind when dealing with salespeople. So how do we get discernment? Here are five ways. Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter. Ask for discernment. Like wisdom, discernment flows out of a fear of the Lord and you can ask for it. James says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without criticism, and it will be given to him. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
God wants you to have discernment. He wants you to be wise regarding the manifestation of spiritual gifts and decisions about your life. If you need discernment, ask for it. But don't just ask for it in the moment you need it. Ask for it regularly. Remember, our emotions can betray us. Seek counsel from those who are more experienced in life or more discerning than you. Personally, I always seek counsel from various perspectives when I face a problem or need to make an important decision. I hear the voice of the Lord in good counsel. Stay in the Word.
The Word of God gives us God's perspective on all matters of life. The book of Proverbs, in particular, is an excellent tool for strengthening your discernment. When we need discernment, we should pray and ask the Lord—then go to His Word. Judge your discernment against the Word of God.
If you know the Word—and you know the character of God by studying His Word—you will cultivate discernment. Anything that does not line up with God's Word does not come from God because the Spirit and the Word agree 1 John Exercise discernment. For though by now you should be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God and have come to need milk rather than solid food. Everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a baby. But solid food belongs to those who are mature, for those who through practice have powers of discernment that are trained to distinguish good from evil.
We need to be open-minded but, as it's been said, we don't need to be so open-minded that our brains fall out. When you meet new people, use discernment. The Bible says to know people by their fruits Matt. Don't go by what you see with your natural eyes. Remember, Joshua and Samuel both went by what they saw or heard. Paul, by contrast, didn't let what he saw or heard move him.
On the surface, she spoke facts. But the Bible says the girl did this for many days. Paul was greatly troubled in his spirit—he discerned something was wrong. Finally, he turned to the spirit and told it to come out in the name of Jesus. Great Resources to help you excel in !