What Is Discernment and How Do I Get Some?

What Is Discernment and How Do I Get Some?


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Melissa Kruger: I’m really excited about this topic today that we get to talk about, and I’m assuming you all are as well, because I think it’s so important for the church today that we dig into this topic of discernment. And so the way I’m gonna go about kind of looking at this topic is to talk about why we need discernment, what is discernment, how we get it, and what are the results of having discernment. So, why do we even really want it?

So the first thing I want us to think about is why we desperately need discernment, and the first thing I wanna say about that is that we desperately need discernment because we have decisions to make each and every day that are not specifically told to us in scripture. So you may know that it is good to work at everything as though you’re working for the Lord, but that does not tell you whether you should take the job in Nashville or Orlando. You still have to make a decision about where you should work. And there’s not a verse that says Nashville or Orlando in the whole scripture, it’s not in there. And so you may know that it’s a good thing to be married, but that doesn’t help you figure out, “Who am I supposed to marry in this world?”

I mean, it’s not just the big decisions of life. Each and every day, we have decisions that are shaping our lives. What will I spend my time on today? What will I spend my money on today? What will I use my talents for today? And these small decisions end up becoming our life, they end up forming what we do with our whole life, these little decisions. You had to make a decision months ago to register for this conference to be here. You had to then figure out how to get here. We all are making decisions each day about what to do with our time and our efforts. So we need discernment to know what is best. We can see a lot of good things out there, but we need to know what is best.

So the second reason I think it’s really important that we study this topic of discernment is the reality that, in our day and age, we have access to an unprecedented amount of information. When my husband and I first moved overseas, we lived in Edinburgh, Scotland for a few years, while he was pursuing his PhD, when we lived overseas it was in the late ’90s. We used paper maps to figure out how to get around the city. I kind of remember taking myself to the bus depot to figure out and just looking, and there were so many bus options, but I could not Google anything because it wasn’t around. I had to go physically and figure out where things were. And 10 years later, we ended up living in Cambridge, England for a semester. It was amazing what was different just on my phone. No longer did I have a big paper map. You know, I could Google anything, “How to find peanut butter,” and I can find it. Not only that, when we were sitting at our home in Charlotte, we could actually satellite Google the house we were moving to in Cambridge and see it and be like, “Oh, that’s what it’s gonna be,” and show the kids. It was amazing, the access to information we have.

The reality about that access to information is, now, we need discernment. Because we know that, yes, we have information, but we also have a lot of false information, as has been shown in these past years. We know of false news. We have to have wisdom as women to discern truth from error when we see things in the world. So we need to have an understanding of that. And the scriptures speak to this. Even though we have so many voices calling out to us, the Proverbs tell us, there are actually two voices calling to us. So, if you have your Bibles, which embarrassingly I forgot my Bible and I had to go buy one in the bookstore. And then there was such a long line, it was really hard for me to get it, but I did get it. So if you turn to Proverbs, Proverbs 9 is where we’re gonna be looking for just a moment, and it talks about these two voices that are calling out to us. And this is what it says, Proverbs 9:1, “Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts, she has mixed her wine, she has also set her table. She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town, ‘Whoever is simple, let him turn in here. To him who lacks sense,’ she says, ‘Come, eat up my bread, and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.'”

Okay, this is really encouraging. There is wisdom in the world calling out. Wisdom is out in the marketplace. It is out there saying, “Listen to me and look. Listen.” But let’s go down to Proverbs 9:13, because another voice, in the midst of wisdom that’s calling out is another voice. “The woman Folly is loud, she is seductive and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house, she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, ‘Whoever is simple, let him turn in here. And to him who lacks sense,’ she says, ‘Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.’ But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.”

Okay, so notice what wisdom and folly both do, both stand and cry out. They are both trying to lure you in. Both of them are going for you. And then, secondly, I want you to compare verse 4 and verse 16. If you look at them, they both say the exact same thing. Here’s who they’re calling out to, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here. To him who lacks sense,” she says. Okay, this tells me something about us. There’s only one option for us. There are two voices crying out to the simple people. We are the simple people. And so both of these are calling out and vying for our attention. And notice their result, one results in life and one results in death. And this is one of the biggest reasons we need discernment. We are living in a world that is crying out with folly and it is crying out with wisdom, and knowing the difference between the two is life and death. And I know we don’t think about these little decisions that we’re making each day to be life or death, but they sum up our life. It matters. The little choices we make each day equal a lifetime of making certain choices. So these decisions matter. And it’s not just out there that voices are calling out to us, it is actually in the church.

The third reason we desperately need discernment is because Jesus and the apostles warned us that, in the church itself, there would be false teachers. There are people trying to lead you astray within the church, and the first point I wanna make about this is that false teachers will look like Christians. Jesus said this, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits.” Here’s the thing, what you don’t recognize them is immediately. Fruit is borne over years. They are gonna come and they look like sheep, they look like you. They say, “I love Jesus.” They are gonna come to you and they are going to be warm and engaging people. They don’t look like wolves. That’s the exact reason we fall for them. If it was a wolf, you’d know to run away. But these false teachers are gonna come in, and their goal is to destroy the flock.

And one thing I want you to think about is, this happened in the ministry of Jesus, if you remember on the night before Jesus died, he washed all of his disciples’ feet, and as he was sitting at the table with him, he said, “One of you is going to deny me.” And, you know, what didn’t happen at that table, Peter didn’t lean over to John and say, “I bet it’s Judas.” No one knew. Do you remember what they said? They said, “Is it I? Is it I, Lord?” No one knew it was Judas who was going to betray. It was the fruit of his behavior that later showed that he was a traitor. But he was doing ministry with all of them, just as they had been doing for three full years, and no one knew that he was secretly pocketing that money. No one knew. And so we have to be concerned, they are among us, and we don’t always recognize them immediately. That’s the first thing.

The second thing, people will want what the false teachers are giving. 2 Timothy tells us, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and they will turn from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” So it’s not just that there are false teachers among us, people will want what they are giving them. They will flock to them, and they will make you, at times, feel like, “Everybody’s going there, maybe I’m wrong.” They will cause us to wonder, “Have we missed it?” But they are just feeding itching ears to suit people’s passions. Third, eventually, their fruits will expose them. They will have done a lot of damage, normally, but eventually, their fruits will expose them.

2 Peter 2 tells us this, “False prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” I want you to hear two things about this. The first thing it says, again, they will be among you. These are not people outside the church. These are people inside the church. What I wanna say about, there are people inside the church who have an outward connection to the church, but they have no inward relationship with Jesus. They are outwardly connected, they say they remember, but they are not inwardly connected to Jesus. And they will deny Jesus in three ways, and it basically comes down to pride, sex, and money.

Pride, they will deny Jesus’ teaching. They will say, they have a better way. They know better. You know, when people like to say they know better than God, I always, like, if I could use this big board behind me, and if I were to greatly limit God and say, “This is everything that God knows about the universe,” and that would be greatly limiting Him, because we know that God’s knowledge is infinite, and His wisdom is infinite. And if I were to explain the amount of knowledge I have, and I were to go up to that board and put a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny dot on that board, I would be greatly overemphasizing my knowledge in comparison. And I like to say, it is like the dot telling the infinite God of the universe, “You don’t quite have it right. Let me tell you what is best.” It’s equivalent to the 2-year-old toddler who’s throwing the tantrum and saying, “I’ll do it myself,” you know. And that’s what we’re doing, we’re looking at the infinite God of all the universe and we’re saying, “We know better.” That would be called pride, and that’s essentially what we’re doing when we deny Jesus’ teaching.

Second, people will follow their sensuality. This will have sexual implications in nature. Their fruit will often show forth in those ways as well. So we will see pride in their lives, we will see sensuality in their lives, and then money. We will see greed in their lives. And again, these are not always shown at first, but eventually, these will come into play.

One thing I wanna say about this, just to clarify, every incorrect teacher is not a false teacher, and this is where discernment comes in. I wrote a book called, “Envy of Eve,” and one of my friends reviewed it. And she said, “The one thing I disagree with is she says in the book,” meaning me, “that we take glory away from God.” And she was right. God’s glory can’t be taken from. I should have said that we fail to glorify God as we should when we covet. She was exactly right. I had not worded what I said correctly. So, now, when I teach it, I don’t say it that way anymore. But that was an instance when I hope I’m not a false teacher. You all should run out of here. But I was a mistaken teacher. I just didn’t say it as I should. And we will all make those mistakes as we teach God’s word. We are imperfect people. This happened in the scripture, in Acts, there was a Jew named Apollos, and the scriptures say that he was an eloquent man. He was competent in the scriptures. And he said that he taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, but he only knew of the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and they explained to him the word of God more accurately. And then he went on forth there and kept preaching correctly.

So there are people who…we will get things wrong sometimes, so that is different than a false teacher. So I wanna give you just four signs of false teachers, just so you have them. And I just wanna say, allow your discernment not to make you overly critical. Be charitable. We need discernment so that we realize where we give charity and where we say, “That’s just wrong.” And we need charity in that. First, false teachers do not respond to correction. So, Apollos, when he was corrected, taught the way of God more accurately after that. Two, they sit above God’s word rather than under God’s word. They come into God’s word and say, “Let me see if I can figure out how to make it say what I want it to say.” And they’re gonna manipulate God’s word. And there is someone else we know who did this, and his name is Satan, the father of lies. And when he came to Jesus, how did he tempt Jesus? Using scripture. So false teachers are gonna take scripture and they’re gonna use them to suit their own ends.

Thirdly, their growth in the faith usually means the departure from historic Christianity. Be warned against anyone who is telling you, after 2,000 years, they’ve now figured out a new Christianity, because it is not Christianity. Be warned against it. We are a historical church, and while we can understand things in new ways, meaning how we explain old truth, we can explain old truth in new ways, but we are not in the process of discovering new truth. We are delighting in the old truth, and we are understanding it in our current context. Fourthly, their lives will eventually show the fruit of their belief. Our unbelief will eventually come out of our lives. And obviously, as we just saw, it will often deal with money, sex, and power. Those are gonna be certain ways that we see it. Okay.

So this is just part one, why we need it. I hope I’ve convinced you we need it. You have choices to make each day, two voices cry out to you each day, and then there are actually false teachers in the church who are vying for your brain. They want you to think differently so that you will live differently.

Okay. So, then, what do we actually mean when we talk about discernment? Clearly, it’s important that we define what we are after. The first thing I wanna make really clear is discernment source is God. We often think that we get more discernment as we age, or as we have all these experiences, or as we travel, or as we live life. That can be true if we’re walking with the Lord, but the Lord is the source of discernment. So what we can do is just get really old and still be making really bad choices, okay. Age does not always give us discernment.

So, if you look back at that Proverbs 9 that we were in just a minute ago, I find this fascinating about this passage. We looked at how Wisdom called out and then we looked at how Folly called out, and what I want you to look at verse 10, it’s smack in the middle of those 2 passages. And this is what it says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” If we want to choose between wisdom and folly, it will begin with the fear of the Lord. Just like Jackie taught about last night, not this craven fear of fear of judgment, but this righteous fear that He knows best, and I will live my life in obedience to Him because I love Him and because He loves me. A right fear that I am not the creator. Surely, the creator of you and me knows how you and me work best. And so I’m gonna trust Him, when He gives the law, it’s good to me. He is showing me how I work best. It’s like my owner’s manual for me. That’s what the scriptures are. And so it is His love and it is His gift to us that He gives us the law, but it begins by this fear of the Lord if we’re gonna have discernment. It’s rooted in God’s wisdom, not our own.

The second thing, discernment is not something we just get after a knowledge treasure hunt. Philippians says it this way, this is what Paul prays, “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment.” So it’s, yes, our source is God, but it’s an affectionate relationship with Him that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and all discernment. So the source is God, and it is relational. The other thing I wanna say, it is a skill that is developed. My son, this week, is in driver’s Ed, and he is going to those classes every day and he is learning how to drive a car, you know, and they will teach him how to drive a car. But if you ever have taught a teenager how to drive a car, you know that what they learn in those classes can apply here, but it does not apply to the absolute terror you feel sitting in the driver’s seat beside them. When my daughter was doing this, I kept saying, “You’re about to run off the road,” because she didn’t have discernment for where she should be correctly in the road. That is something that’s gained, and sometimes you have to hit a few cars before you really get discernment. Yeah, you have to say, “Oh, yeah, you’re supposed to look both ways. Yes, okay.” You know, it takes time. It is a skill that is learned.

Hebrews talks about this. Hebrews 5:11-14, the writer to the Hebrews is talking about some of them ought to be teachers, but they actually need to learn the basic principles again. And he said, “Solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” So it’s something that we’re constantly practicing. And this is what I was talking about earlier when I was talking about all the little decisions you’re making each day add up to a life. Each day, as you walk through this world, we have choices to make. There are better choices and there are less good choices. There are actually sinful choices and there are right choices. And so, every day, as we’re living, we are practicing the art of discernment.

For me, an example of this was when I first began to cook. I did everything by the book. I would read recipes. I actually like to sit and read recipe books. I don’t know if anybody else likes to do this. It’s just fun to think about what extra things you could eat. And so I’d read. And the more I read, the more I started to be able to try new things when I would cook, but it was also, the more I ate, the more I knew, “Oh, this needs a little more oregano in it,” or maybe some more salt and pepper, or, “Let me put this seasoning in it, because a little extra red pepper flakes will make this a little spicier.” It was the practice of doing it over and over every day that helped me discern better what was needed. And that’s what’s gonna happen to us as we are making choices in our day over and over, as we walk with the Lord, and in the fear of the Lord as we make them.

So it’s gonna take time. Because some people, you know, you sit with them, and they just seem to quickly know. You’re having coffee, and you share your problem, and they just have this, what seems like instantaneous wisdom. Usually, when I really talk to those people, and we’re gonna talk about this in a minute, they have spent hours reading the scriptures. And the reason they have situational wisdom is because they have spent time with the God of all wisdom. And so these are the people, the women we want to become. But let me actually give you a definition of discernment.

Tim Challies has a great book called The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment that really goes through what we’re talking about, what is discernment, and here’s the definition he offers. Discernment is the skill of understanding and applying God’s word with the purpose of separating truth from error and right from wrong. Okay, so let me say this again. It’s the skill of understanding and applying God’s word with the purpose of separating truth from error and right from wrong. So, truth from error is what we believe, truth from error, and then right from wrong is how we live. And those are gonna be related, because normally, what we believe is true is gonna affect how we live. The definition I actually like to use is a lot shorter. I like to say that discernment is wisdom making a choice. So discernment is taking that wisdom, and it is making a real-life choice and how we think and how we live. So, the question for all of us, how do we get discernment? That’s what we all wanna know. How do we become women who are discerning women?

I have a good friend named Angela. When she first graduated from college, she went and worked as a bank teller. And when she worked as a bank teller, one thing they had to learn how to do was learn to recognize counterfeit money. And she told me that when they initially take her in, for almost an entire month, all they showed them was real money. They would sit there and they would show them little markers that you’re supposed to look at for real money. And so she would be going through real money every day and counting it out, and doing all these things. And slowly, they would start to slip in counterfeit money. And she said, “Immediately, you knew counterfeit money.” She had spent so much time looking at the true money her eyes could see the false money quickly, much more quickly than any of us can. Because she had been trained in what was right, she could see what was wrong. And she said there was a reason they did this, there were so many different ways you could be counterfeit, but there’s only one way you can be right.

So, by learning what was right, she could easily figure out all the different ways we could be wrong. And so this is why there are so many books out there that we could go and look at in hopes of finding every counterfeit book in the whole world and making sure no one reads them or something, but that’s not the goal. What we wanna do is immerse ourselves in truth, so then, when we happen to be reading a book that has error, we can spot it.

So, how do we do that? First thing first, we have to be people who are reading God’s word. It’s almost like putting a lens on to help us see the world clearly. So, how do we learn it? Go to church. When I was a teacher, we were taught, you learn in a few different ways. There are four different ways we were taught to teach in some ways. One was lecture. We also learn by, we put our kids in small groups, because they learn as they discuss things. And then we would sync it at home with homework, because it’s actually when you try to do it on your own that you realize you actually have a question. And then the other way I would always teach my children was I would make them teach one another. And so, as they taught one another, they actually taught more. Usually, the teacher learns the most about any subject than even the people they are teaching. And so, I would say, that is true for how we learn scripture as well.

So, be in a place where you are hearing the word taught by someone who is trained to teach it and teaches through the Bible. Don’t be content with the church that is just telling you stories, or chicken soup for the soul type stuff. Be in a church that is teaching you the word of God. It is gonna help train your mind. Then read the Bible. I looked up a Barna study, only 11 percent of Americans have read the entire Bible, and of Christians, those who are Bible-engaged, who actually read or use or listen to the Bible four times a week or more, was only 20 percent, four times. And if you go to church, that’s really only three other times. Okay. Only 20 percent are reading their Bibles that much. We have to read it. It is like looking at that currency every day to spot what is true. That’s gonna help us understand what is false. How do you do it? I encourage you to read the Bible in a year. I love . . . there are some great plans out there that help you do it. It will take you 20 minutes a day. That is all it will take. We can do this. We really can do this. To read it every day, soak our minds up in it.

Other things I love, I do Bible study guides all the time, and there are so many good ones here. I use them, because sometimes I come to the scriptures pretty brain dead. I am busy, life is going on, and I don’t wanna think deeply about the scriptures. And somebody asking me questions helps me to just say, “What was this passage about,” and then you’re, “Oh, I’m thinking about it more deeply now.” I encourage you, use Bible study guides.

Discuss these truths with others. I find that I learn much more when I’m in a small group and we’re all sitting around talking about it. Because every time you speak it, it gets into your mind even more, the more we can talk about with each other. And then, Colossians tells us, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.” No matter who you are, you’re actually called to teach. You may not be called to be up on a stage teach, and that’s fine. I’d rather sit over coffee any day and teach people. But we’re all called to teach one another, and often, that does happen on the phone, in casual conversations, over coffee. As we teach one another the truth, we actually grow in discernment ourselves.

I wanna give you one application point. If you are a woman who ministers to other women, if you help run women’s ministries, or if you do different things, spend more time teaching your women the scriptures than you do making sure they never ever read a false statement in a book. Okay. This is just a practical application point, get them in the word. Because, you know, you don’t have time to read every book under the sun. But get women in God’s word, and that’s gonna fortify their minds with truth. So they’re gonna be able to see what is false. And don’t just read the word, I wanna encourage you, delight in it. Delight in it. Psalm 119 says, “I will delight in your statutes, I will not forget your word.” We don’t just want to be people who know it. Again, we wanna have an affection for the Lord that makes us delight in it.

Thirdly, pray for discernment. Ask God. James tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.” It’s a good thing to ask for from God. He will not deny you. Ask Him for wisdom, cry out to Him, seek Him. He will give you wisdom. And then seek counsel from wise people. Proverbs tells us, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” So, if you see people making foolish choices, and you’re gonna spend the majority of your time with, guess what you’re gonna hear a lot of? You’re gonna hear a lot of folly. And it’s gonna get in our minds. Because remember what Proverbs said? We’re all simple. So, who are we choosing to listen to? And that doesn’t mean we don’t spend time with non-Christians. We need to spend time with non-Christians. We need to hold out the word of life to them. But I’m talking about, who are you listening to in your life? It’s different to spend time with people and to love on people and to get to know people than it is who are you going to let really influence you. Let it be the people. I love when I see certain older women, and I’ll tell you, they glow. And it doesn’t matter that they’re getting closer and closer to glory in some sense, because all they’re doing is shining more. They have these faces that light up, and I know that it is Jesus in them. Find those women in your church and talk to them, and ask them for wisdom, because they are gonna be people who are gonna be able to give you wise counsel.

Okay, last thing, what are the results of discernment? Why do we wanna get it? Probably the hardest decision that I felt the most lost in in my entire life happened in my senior year of college. I was engaged to be married and I was terrified that I was making the wrong choice. I made all my friends go around. We were on the car ride somewhere and I said, “What would you do? You have to tell me yes or no. It can’t be a maybe, because you can’t maybe marry someone.” When there’s a date set, and you have to get a dress, and you have to do all this. And I was just desperate for wisdom, I could not figure out what to do. And I realize, now, looking back, I wanted discernment in that decision because I wanted it to feed my idolatry. And my idolatry was I wanted an easy life where I made the choices of my life. And I figured in my head that marrying somebody else might cost me my autonomy. I might not be able to do what I wanted and go where I wanted. And because I was unsure, I gave the ring back to him, and we canceled the wedding. By God’s grace, he gave me the ring back a year and a half later and a lot of patience on his part, and I think I made a really good choice.

But what I wanna say is that discernment doesn’t promise us ease. Okay. Whatever your item might be, discernment doesn’t promise you success. Getting discernment doesn’t promise you that you’re gonna be rich and famous. Okay. That’s not the goal of discernment. So I wanna make that clear. I wanted it to promise that if the scroll came down and said, “Marry him,” that then all would always be well and we’d never have an argument. And that didn’t happen, because we have some arguments, sometimes. That’s not the goal. Let me read you what the goal is, and again, this is from Philippians 1:9, that passage I read earlier, “And this is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

So we want discernment so that we can approve what is excellent. And why do we want to approve what is excellent? Ultimately, to the glory and praise of God. So, the goal, the end of our discernment matters, because sometimes we will make choices that are right choices that lead to really hard consequences. And I think this day is gonna come more and more in our culture, that we will make right choices, and we may lose our job. So it is not always that we can discern what is best and it’d still be really, really hard, but it is the right thing to do and it gives glory and praise to God. We are going to be able to approve what is excellent.

I read a story recently, it was about a firefighter, and he was going…he was the chief firefighter, he was going in to fight fire in a kitchen. And all of a sudden, he yelled to all of his men, “Get out.” And just as soon as the last man had gotten out, the floor that they had been standing in fell in. And what had really happened was the fire had been in the basement. Even though it looked like a kitchen fire, the fire had been in the basement and was coming up from underneath. And when they asked the firefighter, “How did you know to get out,” he said, “All I knew was that it was strangely quiet and my ears were really hot.” And here’s what had happened, he had fought so many fires before that he could feel that something was off. And so, as we let our love for God abound more and more in knowledge and all discernment, we will be able to approve what is excellent. And sometimes, we won’t even know why we know, but we will know. And we will be able to feel, there’s something not right in this situation. And that’s how it’s gonna grow.

Let me say this, I am less concerned that there are bad books out there, and I am more concerned that we can’t easily spot them. I want us to be able to sniff out that they’re bad. I’m not afraid to read them, because if we know God’s word, we shouldn’t be influenced by them. We should be able to spot it and say, “This is not true.” And so I want us to be women who can smell when something’s off, and that’s gonna lead us to be pure and blameless, filled with the fruit of righteousness to the glory and praise of God.

When I was in college, I lived all four years with the same roommate, and people on campus used to get us confused all the time. They’d be like, “You all look alike now.” We started talking alike, we started walking alike, we dressed alike. Even years later, she came to my house, and we were wearing basically the same outfit. But the reality is that time with Jesus helps us know what Jesus loves. I could tell you, to this day, where she’d probably wanna go eat dinner, even though I can discern well what she would like, because we lived together so long. So, if we wanna discern what God likes, we live with Him, day in, day out, we walk with Him. We make our decisions by constantly reading the word. And what I don’t mean by that is don’t just say, “Oh, I need to make a decision on X, and let me go let’s see what the scripture says about X.” It’s not that type of wisdom. It’s reading the Bible day in, day out, taking it in. That is gonna make us women who can discern what is best to the glory and praise of God. So, just to close, God is the source of our discernment, God’s word is the means of our discernment, and God’s glory is the goal of our discernment. May He be praised in all things. Let me close this in prayer.

Father, we thank you. We thank you that you love us. We thank you that you long for us to listen to wisdom. That your wisdom cries out day after day after day, to us who are simple and do not know which way to go. And that you give us your word as your grace to us, so that we may know you, the author of all things, who can guide us and give us wisdom for all things. Help us be women who are wise. Help us be women who choose what is best. Help us be women who’ve loved you with all that is in us and who pursue you each day in every way that we can. Help us. I know there are women here right now who have decisions to make, and they are hard decisions. Give them wisdom. Help them choose wisely. Lord, we thank you for Jesus, who most importantly came to show us the way to you. Thank you for salvation. Thank you that you care about us. We love you and we praise you. It’s in your name, we pray. Amen.

“Discernment doesn’t promise us ease. Whatever your item might be, discernment doesn’t promise you success. Getting discernment doesn’t promise you that you’re gonna be rich and famous. That’s not the goal of discernment.” — Melissa Kruger

Date: June 15, 2018

Event: TGC 2018 Women’s Conference,  Indianapolis, Indiana

Recommended in this podcast: The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment

Listen to this episode of The Gospel Coalition podcast and find more audio and video from the TGC 2018 Women’s Conference on the conference media page.

Editors’ note: 

Melissa Kruger will be leading a panel on “Practical Ideas for Encouraging the Ministry of Women in the Church” at our 2019 National Conference, April 1 to 3 in Indianapolis. You can browse the complete list of 74 speakers and 58 talks. Space is filling up, so register soon!