Tag: Discernment

Heedfulness or Hypocrisy in Ourselves?

Oswald Chambersby Oswald Chambers

If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. —1 John 5:16

If we are not heedful and pay no attention to the way the Spirit of God works in us, we will become spiritual hypocrites. We see where other people are failing, and then we take our discernment and turn it into comments of ridicule and criticism, instead of turning it into intercession on their behalf. God reveals this truth about others to us not through the sharpness of our minds but through the direct penetration of His Spirit. If we are not attentive, we will be completely unaware of the source of the discernment God has given us, becoming critical of others and forgetting that God says, “…he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death.” Be careful that you don’t become a hypocrite by spending all your time trying to get others right with God before you worship Him yourself.

One of the most subtle and illusive burdens God ever places on us as saints is this burden of discernment concerning others. He gives us discernment so that we may accept the responsibility for those souls before Him and form the mind of Christ about them (see Philippians 2:5). We should intercede in accordance with what God says He will give us, namely, “life for those who commit sin not leading to death.” It is not that we are able to bring God into contact with our minds, but that we awaken ourselves to the point where God is able to convey His mind to us regarding the people for whom we intercede.

Can Jesus Christ see the agony of His soul in us? He can’t unless we are so closely identified with Him that we have His view concerning the people for whom we pray. May we learn to intercede so wholeheartedly that Jesus Christ will be completely and overwhelmingly satisfied with us as intercessors.

by Oswald Chambers

 

Beware of Snakes!

George Whittenby George Whitten

Luke 10:19 Behold, I give to you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the authority of the enemy. And nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

The legendary preacher, Charles Spurgeon once said, “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.”

Often the question is whether something is “right” or “wrong”, and may be answered quickly and easily. But sometimes we are faced with a much more difficult discernment: the difference between “right” and “almost right”. I love to take the kids to the zoo, and whenever we go we always go into the snake house to look at all those beautiful slithering reptiles– but more often than not they are so well camouflaged that they aren’t easy to find. Once you’ve spotted one, however, and recognized its markings, it becomes much easier. So George, why are you telling me about your trips to the zoo?

The Bible identifies our enemy as a serpent, and just like the ones at the zoo he camouflages himself extremely well. Satan knows that the Lord has given us authority over him, so he has to seek ways in which we fail to recognize him. He knows that defending ourselves would be much easier if he came out and said, “I’m here and I hate you!” So he lurks in the background, in unsuspected places waiting for an opportunity to steal, kill or destroy— and much of the time we don’t realize he’s there until we find ourselves in the thick of an attack. And what is his “camouflage”? Looking as much like a good guy as he can, so we would never suspect his true nature and intentions. That’s why Spurgeon gives us the advice about discernment between “right” and “almost right”; and why the Lord Himself told us to be “wise as serpents”!

Pray to become skilled in discerning your enemy’s camouflage, remembering he comes as a “minister of righteousness” or an “angel of light” who knows how to blend into your world, and to look and talk like a friend. Don’t go by feelings alone, be careful about flattery, know your Lord through prayer and let God’s Word dwell richly in you being filled with His spirit. You want to be well defended against the subtlety of the Serpent, especially these days!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love

by George Whitten