March 17, 2023, 8:16 PM


The Rev. Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)

Every day we are confronted with choices. Many Christians choose to live by impulse based upon feelings. Yet God has called His people to do what is right, that is, to choose that which is good, right, and true. Believers are given what is good, right, and true by God in His word. Christians do not live by feelings, but by the truth revealed by God.

The Old Testament Prophet Micah declared God’s will to God’s people. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

How can one know what is right? Romans 12:2 calls Christians not to be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewal of the mind. The result is: “That by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Ephesians 5:11 points out that Christians were once in darkness but are now “light in the Lord.” Therefore, believers are to live as children of light, that is, to follow Jesus. Disciples of Jesus Christ are told that the “fruit” of living as children of light is “found in all that is good and right and true.” Knowing what is good, right and true is called discernment and, discernment is necessary to live wisely.

The Ancient Hebrews knew that “the fear of the LORD was the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10a). In order to live wisely it is necessary for the creature to know the Creator. God has revealed what He wants us to know of Him through His word written. Just as the church in the Old Testament knew to apply God’s word for wise living, every believer ought to do likewise.

The application of God’s word is wisdom. Therefore discernment, knowing the right action, requires knowledge of what God has said. Therefore, it follows that the Church has a responsibility to teach who God is!

The One True God is good, righteous, and true. To know the One True God, one must know His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The Father is the source of discernment, and it only grows through a personal and intimate knowledge of His Son, Jesus as He is offered in the gospel. Discernment is learned rather than a special gift reserved for the so-called “Spirit filled.” If you are a Christian, you are responsible to learn discernment.

Discernment leads to wise living. Wise living follows the way of blessing. God said the way of blessing was to obey Him. Conversely, He warned that a cursed life would follow the one who disobeyed Him. I have yet to meet someone who wanted to live a cursed life. Yet, by ignorance or avoidance of God’s word, we head towards destruction. Don’t be fooled by those false teachers who claim to have some “inside track” on discernment.

The means to know what is right is not easy but is a blessing. The method is the systematic, intense study of the Bible and the theology which proceeds from it. This is not only a personal endeavor. God has ordained that we grow in discernment and wisdom corporately. I am speaking of the necessity of growing in a church that teaches “sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).

The Apostle Paul addressed the barrier to growth in discernment and it is recorded in 2 Timothy 3. He wrote of the “last days”, those days between Jesus’ first and second coming. Paul said that people would be “lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” (emphasis mine).

Paul was not describing the world in general. He was describing the visible church corrupted by those who only looked godly. He gave a timeless answer to the problem. Paul’s answer then was for Timothy to continue in what he learned and had firmly believed. Paul reminded Timothy that all Scripture was breathed out by God and it is the Scriptures which are able to make the believer “competent and equipped for every good work.” God’s answer remains the same. The visible church is the place for growth in discernment through personal and corporate study of all that is good, right, and true.