Friday, October 5, 2012
The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment- Chapter 1
(A few friends and I are reading this book together. Each week we are reading one chapter. On Fridays, I am posting my comments, then giving them the opportunity to add their thoughts as well. If you would like to join us or simply find out more about the book, you can read about it here.)
Note to my fellow readers: By this being the first time I've done something like this, I have no idea whether I will follow some kind of pattern or if I will organize my posts differently from week to week. As of right now, I simply plan to share what was a challenge to me and add a few simple comments. I look forward to whatever input you may have as well.
- I thought the opening story about the counterfeit money was fascinating . . . even if I didn't think it tied in with his introduction very well!
- "In this book I hope to show that discernment is a discipline." This helped me to think of discernment as something that I can grow in, something to be developed, and not just something I either have or don't have.
- "[This book] is written for all those who believe that it is the duty of every Christian to think biblically about all areas of life so that they might act biblically in all areas of life." I think we often don't act biblically because of the work it takes to think through things and see how God's Word applies to the situation. I want to be the type of man that does things because of a biblical reason!
- "We may learn to discern truth from error, good from bad, better from best." He is right- discernment touches a variety of types of decisions. I hadn't thought of it that way before.
- He discusses Solomon's recognition of his need for discernment. While reading this section, I thought of you guys, my friends. I know I need discernment in the decisions I face. However, I recognize that each of you has areas of responsibility that I do not have and challenges that I do not face. It is my desire that the Lord use this book to help each of us to discern the mind of the Lord in the responsibilities He has given us.
- I thought he nailed it: "An age when many consider spiritual immaturity a mark of authenticity, and when people associate doubt with humility and assurance with pride." I feel he has his fingers on the pulse of many believers.
- When discussing spiritual immaturity being a reason for lack of discernment, he used the illustration of children- how they will put anything into their mouth when they are little. He said, "Only with maturity will children learn that what looks good may not truly be good. . . . immature believers are prone to sample anything." For us as men, as believers, as preachers of the Gospel- there are a lot of things out there that look good. May God give us the wisdom to look past appearances and to understand what is good and what is not. A "sample" of one bad thing may not kill us, but we will not grow if we have that habit of "sampling" things that are unhealthy.
- The thought that lack of discernment is characteristic of an unbeliever was a challenge to me. It should be true of them, for they do not have Christ. It should NOT be true of me, one who has been bought by the precious blood of Christ.
- He quoted J. C. Ryle on the ways that the Gospel can be spoiled- by substitution, addition, interposition, disproportion, and confused and contradictory directions. He then wrote, "Discernment, then, is not an end in itself. Rather, discernment is the means to a far greater and nobler end." This helped me see my need for discernment as I attempt to share the Gospel. Moldova, Canada, and the United States have their share of those spoiling the Gospel- may the Lord help us not add to it!
- I thought his "Key Thought" section at the end was a very good summary of the chapter. It condensed what he said in the preceding paragraphs and gave a good review. I hope he continues it throughout the book.
I've had my say, what say you?
Discussion on Chapter 2