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Why We Need Spiritual Discernment - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
November 2, 2022 12:00 am

Why We Need Spiritual Discernment - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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November 2, 2022 12:00 am

Dr. Stanley teaches why spiritual discernment is essential to our spiritual maturity.


Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, November 2nd.

The Internet is full of sensational stories that play on your emotions. How do you know what's true and what isn't? Today's podcast teaches how to weed out lies and cultivate true spiritual discernment. Now, what I want to talk about is spiritual discernment. What is spiritual discernment? Well, spiritual discernment is that quality and that capability within us that every single one of us needs, no exception. It is that capacity to judge things rightly. It is the ability to be able to see things as they are, not as they appear to be. It is the capacity to be able to distinguish between right and wrong, good and best, wise and unwise.

It's the capacity to be able to see beneath the surface and analyze and expose and understand in a way that normally looking at things and seeing things would not be true. So I want us to think about this and think about how needful this is in our life. And so really what I want to do is to give you some examples of how important this is. And then I want to talk about how to develop a discerning spirit. But I want you to think about this for a moment.

Let's look at it this way. These illustrations I want to give you, illustrations of how essential it is that you and I are able to judge rightly. We can know the difference between what is authentic and what is not authentic, what's counterfeit and what's real. We face it every single day of our life. We meet people who are not truthful with us. We listen to advertisements that we think, no way could that possibly be that perfect. And so oftentimes people don't realize that they need to be discerning about every aspect of life.

So let's begin with this one, the most simplest one of all, and that's simply this. And that is, it is absolutely essential to live in the will of God. If you don't have a discerning spirit and you cannot judge wisely what is of God and what is not of God, then you'll never be able to live in the will of God. Living in the will of God, that's the pathway of peace. It's the pathway of fruitfulness and productivity in your life.

It's the pathway in which you're going to find happiness and joy, even in the midst of difficulties and trials. So what you have to ask is this, do I have enough discernment to make wise choices in life? Do I have enough discernment to make wise choices?

Am I making decisions based on how much money I have, making decisions based on whether I'm going to have somebody's approval or not, or if I'm going to get rejected, or is it on the basis of wise, godly judgment that is in keeping with the living Word of God? That's why God gave us discernment to protect us. That's one of the reasons, to protect us from messing up our life, getting ourselves in a position where we feel hurt and pain and suffering and sorrow and all the things that go with disobedience. But also it's essential again, because as we've said again and again and again, and I say these things again and again and again because I want you to remember, because we don't all, all of us are not in the same place. A discerning spirit helps me choose between what is good, what's best.

Now watch this, and listen to this carefully. Usually, most of the time, when something good comes along, it is usually like before, the best is offered. And oftentimes when God has the best for you and me, Satan will offer us something, looks good, feels good, man, it can't be any better than this. And something inside of us goes, we don't know what that is.

That is our discerning spirit saying, hold it, hold it, hold it. I agree that's good. I agree it looks good, feels good.

I agree that you could enjoy that. But here's the best. God has the best. That's not the best.

It's not the best. What you have to decide is this. You want to go through life with the good or you want to go through life with the best. And I think I could ask any of you, do you want God's best? You would more than likely say, why sure I want God's best. Why anybody won't want God's best?

No. Many people don't. It's very evident by the way they make choices. They don't have enough discernment, enough godly judgment to judge this is good and this would be fine, but it's not God's best. And so what we have to watch is we have to watch listening to other people because listen, somebody else can't tell you the will of God for your life. And this is what makes spiritual discernment so absolutely essential. There will be times when nobody knows the answer but God. There'll be times when you'll face something nobody, nobody can tell you what to do but God. Only He knows what is right and good and best for you at this moment. And if you don't have spiritual discernment, you more than likely make your choice based on what appears.

And listen now watch this. He is not responsible to always tell us why. And if God says don't do that, He doesn't have to tell me why because you know what?

I can't inform Him of anything He doesn't already know. And to argue with God when He says no is only wasting your time and revealing your ignorance. When God says no, He has a reason.

Now listen, if you can come up with enough good reasons to do something that's not the will of God, I want to remind you you haven't changed His mind. God wants to protect us from wrong decisions. He desires to protect us. He loves you. He wants you to choose what is right. Listen, what is best? What's the will of the Father?

What did He plan for you? Why take something second best? Yet that is exactly what people do. And so they want to argue with God. Well, in other words, if anything can be this right, it must be right and therefore I'm going to do it. And then they find themselves having made the wrong decision in life. And so therefore sometimes what is so good, it just looks so good to everybody else except God. And that's why you have to be sure you know the difference between what's good and what's best.

Just because it looks good doesn't mean anything. Another thing that I think is so important is this, and that is we need to have a discerning spirit to be able to distinguish between legalism and grace. Now I want to give you a brief definition of legalism.

Very brief, but I'll explain it. Legalism is that pressure, listen, of personal preferences. It's a pressure of personal preferences that are imposed upon other people as if they are mandate from God. The reason a discerning spirit is so important at this point is if a person does not have a discerning spirit, they will accept what they hear. For example, if you go to, let's put it this way, there's a difference between finding out what God says and reading something into it.

When you hear the word exegete, that means I go to the scriptures and find what it says and take out what God says. But I can eisegete by reading into it what I wanted to say. And oftentimes people will tell you, well, here's what the word of God says. You say, that's sort of strange.

I don't remember it saying that. You go read that passive scripture and you can tell they put a meaning on that scripture that's not of God. What they're doing is they are imposing on you their personal preferences in a particular situation.

And this can happen in most any area. And so what you have to do, you have to discern, is that what God says? Is that the teaching of the word of God?

Or is that somebody just putting on me something that I know that's not what it says? But the issue you have to ask yourself the question, when somebody says, well, here's what you ought to do. Here's what God says. Here's what you ought to do.

You know what you do? You say, Father, give me a discerning spirit to understand what's your will for my life. You see, you can't project God's will on somebody else's life when you don't live their life for them. When you're not, in other words, you don't have the background to have, you don't know what God is saying to them.

You have to be very careful of telling somebody something like that. Legalism boxes you where God does not box you. The grace of God is the love of God in which he understands that we are weak and human and frail. He does not want sin in our life. This is not license for sin. If we sin, we get disciplined. That's a principle of scripture. But a principle of scripture is not if I sin, I'm lost. That is pure legalism. It is imposing upon someone a theological doctrine that is absolutely, totally untrue, cannot be proven in the scripture.

So therefore, you don't want to fall in that category of being legalistic. Then, for example, there's this whole idea, very important idea, that a spirit of discernment is absolutely essential if you're going to be able to know that you've heard from God. Because there are lots of voices out there. And sometimes our influential friends in all good desire to help us will say, now, I've been praying for you. And here's what I believe God's told me to tell you. Watch out.

Because they have their viewpoint of something. But the scripture says we are to be careful. And we are to be wise.

And we are to judge things rightly. So when you think in terms of judging things rightly, you think in terms of listening to God, for example, how will you ever know that you've heard from God if you don't have a discerning spirit? Because let's face it, many times when you and I ask God to give us a sense of direction, this looks just as good as that. This sounds just as good as this.

This feels just as good as this. How are you going to know the will of God? In other words, how are you going to be able to know when God has spoken to you if you don't have a discerning spirit? That is a spirit that's able to judge and distinguish between. Now, for example, one criteria of that would be God would never tell you to do something that's not scriptural.

I believe one of the primary reasons He's given us a discerning spirit is that you and I can pray and seek His mind about something and know that we've heard from God. Otherwise, here's what's going to happen. You're going to live with hope, possibly, maybe, and lots of doubts in life. God doesn't want you living that way.

And here's what will happen. If you don't have a discerning spirit that you know how to determine what God is saying to you, I guarantee you, you won't pray much. And here's what you'll say, consciously or subconsciously, well, you know what, I prayed and, you know, I don't know whether it's true or not. You know, you say, well, has God spoken to you? Well, I think He has.

I'm not sure whether He has or not. God doesn't want you living that way. Listen, He wants you to live with confidence and assurance and boldness that you have the mind of God. Because you see, when you and I come to Him and we are able to judge things rightly, what we've done, we have judged and made a decision based on the mind of God. That is, He gives us, in other words, we think the way He thinks. We see things from His viewpoint.

We see things from a biblical sense of values. And if you're going to be able to listen to God and know His mind about things, and every, listen, we need that every day. We face decisions every day. We need to say, think, what are you saying, Father? When you're making decisions about your life, you want a very clear channel.

How do you have a clear channel? With a clean heart and a discerning spirit. And listen, watch this, a discerning spirit gets clouded and fogged by sin. You want to have a discerning spirit to make wise decisions because you know that you've heard from God.

And when I think about how many people say, well, you know, I prayed and I asked Him and I talked to them and I think so, but I'm not sure. Then my friend, you have a reason to hesitate. Ask God, Lord, give me a discerning spirit so I will know when I've heard from You. Then there's the whole issue of counsel.

Now listen carefully. When a person goes to a counselor, if you go to a counselor who is not a godly counselor with spiritual discernment, first of all, you're going to waste a lot of time and a lot of money. You're going to spill your insides to somebody who's going to give you worldly advice, worldly psychology or psychiatry and they're going to tell you what you ought to do and what they think you ought to do and what they think is good for you.

What you want to know is what does God think is good for me? And if you have to go to a counselor, there are some very wise godly counselors out there, no question about that. But these are the people, listen, who hear what you say and hear what you don't say. They're wise enough to uncover your thoughts, dissect your thoughts and that is to distinguish between what you think you want and what you really want.

What the real trouble is in your heart and what you think it is and who's really to blame versus who you think is to blame. In other words, godly wise counselor will not only discern what is said and not said, but will be able to listen, reach down into the deeps of your heart, your soul, your mind and spirit and help you and guide you to understand what God is trying to say to you. Because you see, you're going not for information. I certainly hope you do not go because you're looking for someone to tell you what you want to hear. Godly counselor will have a discerning spirit and they'll be able to help you reach down and help you to see things as they are, not as you thought they were. The way you really think rather than what you thought about your thinking.

What you really want, what you don't really want in life. They'll help you. Godly, wise counsel.

Now let me say this. You have the same responsibility when someone comes to you and says, really hurting on the inside. I'm going to tell you what's happened in my life.

I need to know what to do. Don't spout off out of your experience and your little bit of knowledge and a little bit of knowledge oftentimes devastating. Don't be quick to give an answer, but you as a godly person need to ask God to give you wise discernment so that you are honest with that person and you can discern what you're to say and what you're not to say. Because you see, part of spiritual discernment is keeping quiet. Spiritual discernment doesn't say speak up, speak up, speak up. Sometimes spiritual discernment says don't open your mouth. Sometimes spiritual discernment says don't say anything.

And if somebody's telling you about their heartaches, don't jump into them. Just let them keep talking. You know what they'll do? They'll probably tell you what the answer is.

They'll probably come up with a solution. So spiritual discernment doesn't mean that you are one of these wise godly counselors and you have the answer. Just tell me what the problem is. Sometimes God just wants you to be quiet. Don't say anything. Listen carefully until you've heard the whole story as they know it. And then you have time to discern from the facts and from the truth and from what's real, from what's unreal, and give godly counsel to a person who came to you, trusting you, depending upon you to help them. Now, these are just a few examples of how absolutely essential it is that you and I have wise godly counsel.

Now let me just say this. One thing I know for certain, I don't even have to ask God about this. Somebody says, well, I'm trying to discern whether I ought to be saved or not.

No, you know what? You don't have to discern that. There are some things that are so absolutely evident in Scripture. Somebody says, well, I'm trying to discern whether I should be baptized or not. You don't have to discern that.

When God makes something crystal clear, only one way to interpret it. You don't have to be praying over it and saying, well, should I be saved or should I not? Should I go to church or should I not? Should I be baptized or should I not?

Should I give or should I not? These are not questions. These are principles so clearly A, B, C, D in the Scripture very clear. So if you've never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, here's what discernment says. Discernment says, my life could be over any minute.

Things really aren't working, to be honest, the way they are. There needs to be some changes in my life. That's why I'm listening to this program.

That's why I'm sitting here. The truth is I do need a change in my life. I do need God's forgiveness. I do feel guilty.

I feel like my life is wasting away. Then you're thinking wisely. And you see, if you read the Scripture, you listen to the Word of God, you'll know that salvation is absolutely essential. If you intend to go to heaven when you die and you go into one or two places, if you intend to go to heaven, you must be saved by the grace of God. And that comes by the confession of your sin, your belief in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior based on the fact that He went to the cross and died for your sins. And when He died, He paid your sin debt in full in the moment that you accept Him as the virgin born Son of God, God walking in human flesh upon this earth. You accept Him as your personal Savior by faith. Your sins are forgiven. You become a child of God.

And what happens? The Holy Spirit comes into your life to seal you as a child of God. And you will begin to have the capacity to have real genuine spiritual discernment. Father, in Jesus' name, we pray the Holy Spirit has spoken to every single person who's listening and that each one would be wise enough to do exactly what you're telling them to do, whether it's to be saved, to be baptized, to begin to read the Scriptures and search the Word of God, to share the gospel of that person that you've been reminding them of over and over and over again, whatever it is, grant them the courage to do exactly what you say in Jesus' name. Amen. Thank you for listening to part two of Why We Need Spiritual Discernment. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-10 01:04:24 / 2022-11-10 01:12:56 / 9

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