Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Developing Discernment (Proverbs 14:15; 14:33; 17:18)

"The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps" (Prov. 14:15).

Next to a reckless disregard for discipline, a lack of sound judgment tends to be a prevailing deficiency in many young people. This can be attributed to a number of factors: inexperience, a natural propensity to folly, lack of knowledge, and pride, which, so ingrained in the young, causes them to be unwilling to listen to the advice of their elders. Young people would much rather take the word of a peer than listen to the counsel of a parent who has years of experience and intimate knowledge of God’s Word.

Parents desperately need to teach their children discernment and sound judgment. To do so at a young age will save their children from many heartaches in the future, possibly sparing them from corrupting companions, unhappy marriages, unstable business ventures, and a number of other pitfalls that snare the undiscerning—not least of which is error in judgment concerning religion.

While lack of judgment in temporal matters can lead to tragic consequences in one’s life, error in judgment concerning the nature of Christianity takes its consequences beyond the grave. Charles Bridges rightly reminds us that an indiscriminate faith can destroy one’s soul, but a faith founded on sound evidence leads to life. “To believe every word of God is faith,” he writes. “To believe every word of man is credulity. Faith is a principle of infinite moment. Eternal life and death hang upon it. But it must be grounded upon evidence, and it can only be exercised according to the character and measure of the evidence. An indiscriminate faith is therefore fraught with mischief. The world was ruined by this weakness. And often since has it been the occasion of sin, and even of downfall.”

Many young people, as well as old, recklessly believe every wind of doctrine that comes along. They do not measure worldly ideas by the Word of God. Because they are not grounded in knowledge of the Scriptures, they are easily led astray by the folly and lies of others. Too often, feelings dictate their beliefs, or the influence of some well known person becomes their ground of faith instead of the Bible. Parents should do all they can to ground their children in knowledge of the Scriptures that they might be able to discern what is best and bear much fruit to the glory of God.

When you hear something today that sparks a question in your mind, write it down on a card or piece of paper. This evening, search the Scriptures for anything dealing with that topic. What does the Bible say? How has your judgment about this topic changed in light of God’s Word?