Discernment: STTA!

Something To Think About!

Shaun Holloway

If I ordered seeds for my garden, and you replaced my tomato seeds with poison ivy, I’d have no idea! I would have no choice but to plant the seed, water it, and encourage its growth, only to be disappointed (or even poisoned) in the end.

But a discerning farmer would spot the seeds of a poisonous plant from miles away. I’d be a fool to ignore the sage advice of someone who had the ability to look at a seed and predict what type of fruit it would eventually bear. I might save myself a lot of heartaches and scratchin’ in the process.

Discernment is a Gift to the Church

The writer to the Hebrews makes a point of distinguishing between spiritually mature and immature believers in chapter 5 of his epistle.

Hebrews 5:14 ESV But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Discerning believers are a gift to the local church and the church catholic. One of the things a discerning person does is inspect the seed of a newly forming doctrine or trajectory. Like the farmer who can discern one seed from another, Christians who are gifted with discernment, along with those who work at it, are often able to identify the seed of a bad doctrine — which will end up bearing poisonous fruit. Often it is so obvious to them that you should not nourish this seed that they can even forget it still looks like any other seed to their less-discerning brother or sister.

We would do well to listen to dear brothers and sisters that provide this much-needed help to us in the church. I have joked in the past that the Christian-who-is-gifted-in-discernment is akin to the vegetable tray at a Super Bowl party. Yes, veggies are healthy, and they are probably what is best for everyone, but no one actually wants to eat them that day. Everyone just wants junk. We can all survive a day of poor nutrition, but the consequences of tending to of letting a poisonous seed of false doctrine grow are far more devastating than junk food. Let us all train our powers of discernment and honestly heed the good advice given to us by those whom God has gifted in this way.

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