Friday, May 15, 2015

A Discerning Ear

“The mind of the discerning acquires knowledge,
                and the ear of the wise seeks it” (Proverbs18:15).

I recently joined our church choir. I’m not a trained singer, so I have to listen to the music and other tenors and adjust my voice to match. This does not come naturally to me. The choir practices, helps one another, and seeks guidance from Bill, our music director. 

The same is with discernment. No one is born with the “perfect pitch” of a wise, discerning ear. We don’t cruise into receiving a discerning ear with ease. We need to listen to truth to know truth from lies. We need each other for encouragement and a biblical understanding. We need pastoral guidance in the rightly divided preaching of the Word. We need to gather as a biblical church to mature each other as discerning disciples of Jesus (Hebrews 5:14). 

We need more than a listening ear for truth, however. We need a grace-fueled desire to delight in the truth. Sin and false teaching are attractive to us. That’s what makes them tempting. We need to learn to ask: Is the teaching that speaks to my heart the rightly divided Word of God? Again, this is not natural to any sinner. 

The Proverb above tells us that wise disciples gain an ear to discern with the acquired knowledge of the Bible. Why would we want to learn discernment? First, Jesus said He teaches us truth that our joy may be full (John 15:11). Sin and false teaching may seem attractive, but are short lived and the joy is temporary and incomplete. When Jesus is our joy, our joy is eternal and complete. Second, because the truth sets us free from temptations which persuade us to settle for lesser joys than God. 

We need to trust Jesus with our joy and diligently listen to His truth in the Bible to gain an ear to know good from evil. We do this not in personal study alone; we need to study the Word with each other. So, let us encourage one another toward the full joy in Christ Jesus by teaching the truth in love for one another (Ephesians4:15).

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