Flexing your Discernment Muscles

Being in a rut is never perceived as a good thing. This is especially true when we consider our time spent reading God’s Word.

Take a good, honest look at your Bible reading habit. First, is it a habit at all, or just an occasional thing to do? Does your reading challenge you, or drive you to look deeper at a particular verse or topic? Or are you reading just for the sake of completing a “good work”?

If you’re not being challenged, or not feeling inspired to explore further, there’s a good chance that you’re not really growing spiritually. This is akin to someone lifting weights who never strives to lift heavier weights and/or increase their repetitions. Such a person will likely never see improvement or any type of growth from their exercise regimen.

Many verses of Scripture call on the believer to grow (2 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 2:2; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 4:15; Hebrews 6:1-2, to name a few), yet I fear far too many of us are actually doing this.

Discernment was a noble attribute ascribed to the Bereans in Acts 17:11, which was mentioned in Scripture to clearly indicate a desired behavior for others to emulate. So what are ways we can flex our discernment muscles?

Read commentaries, expositions, and other works related to Scripture. Read these and then reflect on what you believe to be true or questionable with regard to your own knowledge of God’s Word. Where there are contradictions to what you have originally believed about a verse, dig further, because these situations are where you can grow exponentially.

Read some biblical scholarly journals, and be challenged by them. Allow your discernment muscles to grow by developing some basic critical thinking about different passages of Scripture that others are studying.

It is through discerning other voices where you can develop your own Berean mindset. Examine what is written or spoken, and then compare it to God’s Word. We know without a doubt that the Word of God is Truth, so we therefore have a perfect benchmark to examine the thoughts of others.

A couple of words of caution: God’s Holy Scriptures should NEVER be placed below any writings of man, regardless of his or her academic credentials. God’s perfect revelation is complete for us and you should never feel you must supplant His Inspired Word with that of any individual. Second, be careful not to get too "puffed up" in your new-found knowledge. Pride can creep in even in the most holiest of pursuits.

Flex your discernment muscles and strive towards solid food, instead of simply milk. And give God all the glory.