Aloha Friday Message – November 16, 2012 – 3-D Discernment

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Read it online here, please.

Philippians 1:9-11 (ESV) And it 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 Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Today I am thinking about discernment. Recently I received a Word from the Lord about discernment, and I want to share with you what I found. The Word came as “3-D Discernment.” 3-D Discernment is a Discernment that is Direct, Deliberative, and Descriptive. Direct in the sense that it is confrontational as when Jesus spoke directly to the demon that was oppressing someone. Deliberative because it weighs the evidence of Good Fruits versus Corrupt Fruits. Descriptive in that it lays out in no uncertain terms where the errors are and defines them so that only a demon or a fool would be unable to see the differences between Truth and error.

Discernment is a process described many times in the Bible. In some places it is translated as understand or understanding. The first time we see that word in scripture is when God is telling Moses about the craftsmen he has chosen to build the tabernacle of the congregation and everything that is in it: KJV Exodus 31:1-11And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  2 See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:  3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, … In this first example in the Bible, we see clearly that the skills, knowledge, understanding, and abilities to perform the work all come from God. In this instance, the understanding is to be able to know, to recognize, which tools, what medium, and which techniques will produce the work God has ordained.

We can see another aspect of understanding later in 1 Samuel 25 in the description of Abigail, the wife of Nabal. Nabal was a wealthy, arrogant, abrasive bully. David was not yet king, and he sent word to Nabal asking for provisions for his troop of about 400 men. Nabal insulted David and his troops by mocking David’s family heritage, and this greatly offended David. He decided to go teach Nabal a lesson and forcibly collect the provisions. Nabal’s wife, Abigail, learned that David was headed toward Nabal with vengeance in mind. She gathered up a load of provisions and gifts – without telling Nabal – and met David before he got to Nabal. David accepted her gifts and called off the attack. The next day, Abigail told Nabal about what had happened. He keeled over with a heart attack and died 10 days later. Abigail’s actions we based on understanding in the form of prudence, insight, and discretion – also gifts of God.

The main word in the Old Testament used for “discern” is בִּין [bin]. We see this in Proverbs 23:1 as consider: When you sit down to dine with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you,”  and in Job 23:8 we read, “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him.” In the New Testament, the word used for discern is διακρίνω [diakrino]. This word gives us a clue about the true nature of discernment. The roots are “dia” – through or across – and “krino” – to distinguish between, to separate. The Hebrew root “bin” carries the same connotation, to make separate, to make clear distinction between this and that.

Having looked at what discernment is and how it is used in Scripture, we can now look into the first of the three D’s, Direct. Here we are using the word as in the sense of uncompromising, immediate, and candid. This kind of approach can have its dangers; we can easily slip into the role of the Pharisee and sound harsh, arrogant, and self-righteous. Therefore, we must remember that discernment is an act of humility, not an act of power. We discern between good and evil because we seek to do God’s will, not our own. This, above all, requires humility. In order to be direct but humble, we must be open to the Spirit’s guidance for it is only in the Spirit that we have right judgment. It is only in the Spirit that, as Jesus did, we confront evil and name it. We are “direct and to the point.” We do not equivocate. We speak directly to the issue, to the perceived wrong, and to the effects of that wrong.

The second D is Deliberative. This is a process of decision making that is characterized by careful thought. Deliberation is also a quality wherein we move without haste; we proceed with alert caution taking one step at a time, testing the process and progress of decision-making. We weigh options, and we give careful consideration to options and variances. In short, we avoid making a snap judgment by relying on the inspiration of the Spirit to shed light on the issue, to dispel the shadows that hide the distinctions between two things, and to help us more clearly perceive and comprehend the origins of those differences. In practice, this may seem to take little or no time at all because we speak in and with the confidence we have through the Holy Spirit. Actually, this gift of deliberation is something we acquire by repeatedly submitting to the guidance of the Spirit until our gift matures to the point where our deliberation is based on sound Biblical teaching and Scriptural tradition.

The third D is Descriptive. As I said in the opening, this is where you lay out the truth, to lay your cards on the table so to speak. Think of it as Applied Apologetics. Now, “Apologetics” sounds a bit like “apologize,” but actually it’s quite different. It comes from the Greek ἀπολογία [apologia] which is a speech in strong defense of something. It is intelligent reasoning, a clear legal defense. We see this word in 1 Corinthians 9:3 where Paul says, “This is my defense for those who sit in judgment on me.” It is also in 2 Timothy 4:16 “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.” Realize, though, that this is not defensive in the sense of being protective; it is defensive in the sense of preventing harm, of debunking lies, and of calling the Devil’s bluff by calling attention to the errors in his attack.

When evil, Satan, attacks us, he gives away his intent. If we could think of him playing poker, for instance, he has “a tell.” He will always attack us at our weakest point, “us” being the Church – the living Body of Christ on Earth. He tries to cast shadows, blur lines, and employ the old “smoke and mirrors” deception. He tries to lie well enough to get us to listen to him, to go along with him, to even serve him in his fight against God. “It’s OK. You can do whatever you want. Don’t let them tell you what to do! Be yourself. Look inside of you, that is where the real truth is! Here. Let me show you.” Then he holds up to us an idol, an image of himself fashioned to look like an image of us. “See now? Doesn’t that look better?” And we doubt. Doubt is an insult to God. We doubt because we fail to discern. We fail to discern because we convince ourselves it doesn’t matter. Beloved, you can bet your soul it does matter! It is the difference between Life and Death.

I’m going to close this now, but I think there may be more to come. Thank you for being patient thus far. God go with you as you consider 3-D Discernment. Hey, you don’t need 3-D glasses to use it any more than you need 3-D glasses to see the Real World. 3-D movies and comics are based on optical deceit. 3-D Discernment is based on Spiritual Truth. Word. Right you are, Beloved: Word of GOD. Word of Knowledge.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Beloved.

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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