Discernment Begins With Wisdom

Waterfall Lattice Arch FrameAlthough discernment differs from wisdom in the sense that it makes distinctions between good and evil, true and false, etc., it is closely linked with the more general term of wisdom. That being the case, perhaps we should spend a few posts (today, Monday and Tuesday, for starters) looking at various Scriptures on godly wisdom. From there, we might have a solid foundation for determining the definition and use of Biblical discernment.

Right away, I thought of the passage in James that contrasts godly wisdom with earthly wisdom, and I’d like to apply the principles in that passage to discernment bloggers. I hope that, in so doing, I’ll encourage you to be cautious with blogs that claim to be discernment ministries.

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. ~~James 3:13-18 (ESV)

Okay, yes, I’m well aware that Jesus said He came to bring division, and that Paul advocated separation from certain types of people.  I’ve quoted those passages many times myself, and I definitely believe there’s a proper context for applying them. At the same time, our aim as Christians must be to promote peace rather than discord.

Does the discernment blog you read habitually work to discredit ministries and individuals that pretty much uphold sound doctrine? Does that blog seem a little gleeful when those they oppose make a misstep? Do they demonstrate a willingness to understand the other side’s perspective?

There indeed are evangelical celebrities that distort the Gospel and consequently deserve censure. I’d even admit that there are people in Reformed circles that require our vigilance as they make little compromises with Scriptural principles. But when bloggers nitpick repeatedly, without even trying to understand the other person, you might ask yourself whether or not the blogger genuinely sees danger or merely has an axe to grind.

Godly wisdom desires to restore people to the truth. Sometimes harshness is necessary, but such harshness should never be our default demeanor. Wisdom demands that, whenever possible, we seek peace.

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