• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • March 2016
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Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people? (1 Kings 3:9 ESV)

We often find it difficult to see what will result in the future from a decision that is made. If our minds are not clouded by uncontrolled emotions, we may clearly see the immediate consequences, but fail to see beyond that for many reasons. Many times we will need to make choices which involve discerning good from evil. In the verse above, Solomon asks God for the wisdom to discern between good and evil. We do not, however, have to be the king of Israel to be frequently faced with evil’s deceptive charms. As long as you live, evil will desire to devour your life. (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

We too should pray for the ability to discern between good and evil. If Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light, (2 Corinthians 11:14 ESV) he can also disguise evil to appear as good. According to Leslie Vernick:

Part of our maturity as spiritual leaders is that we have been trained to discern between good and evil. Why is that so important? It’s important because evil usually pretends to be good, and without discernment we can be easily fooled. (Association of Biblical Counselors)

Not only spiritual leaders but the rest of us need the training to discern between good and evil as well. We are warned in God’s Word to test every spirit because evil men will spread heresy and avariciousness like fire. (1 John 4:1-4 ESV) We must learn to test everything and pursue only that which is good and pleasing to God. (1 Thessalonians 5:21 ESV)

Such discernment is to be found by reading the Bible. In the Scriptures, we learn to know God’s mind and will. There we gain the wisdom to choose correctly between good and evil. We learn to avoid the sin of pride and to humble ourselves in trust and reliance on the grace of God. (James 4:6 ESV) The process of transforming our minds will take a lifetime. So we must remember that our minds are sometimes inclined to make decisions that overrule good sense and compromise God’s Word. Mature Christian discernment comes only with time, faithful practice, knowledge of the Scriptures and much prayer. (Hebrews 5:14 ESV) Andrew Strom writes:

Know your HOLY GOD intimately. (When you have seen His glory, His holiness and His love – by drawing close to Him in prayer – then you can usually see through any counterfeits because you know the “real thing” so well).







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