Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).

"Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love. How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded" (2 John 3-4).

"Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. Some of the brothers recently returned and made me very happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth. I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth" (3 John 2-4).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A call for discernment of God’s will

Junior year at our public high school, English class included a unit on media and society. I was surprised when my teacher, a Christ-follower, showed an episode of a popular cartoon television comedy.

It was appalling. The pseudo-humor denigrated women, depicted soft-core porn, cursed, blasphemed the Lord’s Name, badmouthed family, dishonored parents, and spit in authority’s face.

Suddenly, I realized my teacher’s wisdom: what a clear way to portray the poisonous effects of ungodly media on society. I couldn’t wait for group discussion; now my classmates would certainly understand.

However, to my utter dismay, the majority confessed they enjoyed the episode and hoped we’d watch another next class. After all, “it might not be good for children, but it’s perfectly fine for me.” I was troubled by their double standard.

Most of these class members were not believers in Jesus. But many professing Christians similarly lack discernment. It’s disgusting and dangerous.

In Philippians 4:8-9, the Holy Spirit speaks through Paul: if it's true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy let it into your head, so you can think about it (vs. 8). Whether you like it or not, what you let in your head sinks down into your heart and begins to flow out in what you say and do. If you put Christ-honoring things into your head and into practice, God will be with you (vs. 9).

Should the Philippians passage serve as a filter for Jesus-followers? That depends on whether or not you want God to be near to you. It depends on how much you desire to walk closely within His will for your life.

Christian liberty and grace are not licenses to love the things of the world, pursue youthful lusts, or naively believe everything we hear (Rom. 6:1-4; 2 Tim. 2:22). I’m sounding the alarm and calling for discernment.

Discernment is not only required for entertainment choices. It enables believers to judge teaching and counsel. We must hold every truth claim up to the standard of the Bible, as the Bereans did (1 Thes. 5:21). They didn’t even take Paul’s word for it; they tested his teaching according to God’s written Word (Acts 17:11). We should not believe all we hear. We cannot do everything unbelievers do.

If you follow Christ, ensure His message is never compromised. Guarding your heart yields a clear mind to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice (Prov. 4:23). Then you can discern the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God (Rom. 12:2). When you discern His will, you ready yourself to carry it out.

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