Updates from the Proegers

You may have no discernment…

Family shot on Table Mountain

This is from October of 2010….and I thought it deserved repetition:

Our Bible teacher made an excellent statement a few weeks ago and I wanted to comment on it. We oftentimes spiritualize the natural in our lives and imagine nothing interesting has happened (that’s not what he said, that is what I am saying to set up his quote!).  Here is the quote:

Many of us have allowed our past experiences and our preferences to masquerade as discernment
– Dann Farrelly

I put a picture of Selah up for several reasons….mostly because she is adorable and I am playing to the audience here….but also because I want to say something sort of jarring.  I believe it is possible that Selah could be more discerning than most of us who imagine ourselves to be discerning (myself included).  Why?  Because she hasn’t had her discernment terribly distorted by life’s experience.  I think we work against God-given discernment over time without realizing it and let natural knowledge of the world become what  we call “discernment.”  Discernment is a spiritual gift and understanding it comes from training your senses. Which senses?  Our spiritual ones!

“Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5:13

What do I mean?  I mean that getting disappointed or hurt by life or by a spiritual pursuit and then becoming calloused or jaded does not make us discerning. In fact, it always makes us less so!  Of course that depends upon how we respond to it.  If we take our disappointment to God and let HIM teach us what we are supposed to learn, then our discernment can grow.  But most of us suppress our pain and don’t really deal with it at all which leads to callouses on our spirit-man (or woman) and this makes our spiritual discernment duller than we imagine.

The danger of our default setting is that the more we experience hurts and disappointments (i.e. life!) the more we DULL our spiritual senses.  At the same time, we oftentimes imagine our “discernment” is growing and have that “confirmed” (falsely) when our cynicism sometimes agrees with reality.  In philosophy this is colloquially called the “file drawer fallacy” because we merely file away the experiences that confirm our biases but trash the ones that don’t.  All the while, we think we are growing in discernment when we are really just growing in cynicism and doing damage to any true discernment.

So what’s the solution?  We need to take our hurts and disappointments to God and let him heal the pain we have experienced!  We also need to repent of a religious spirit that masquerades as discernment.  Distrusting every story you hear of God’s work on the earth is not discernment, it is fear and cynicism!  Let’s ask God to tenderize our hearts and be open to TRUE discernment.  A good way to do this is as you read the Bible, ask yourself this simple question I formulated years ago:

“If this wasn’t in the Bible and happened today, would I dismiss it as not being from God?”

For instance…if Jesus hadn’t made mud from dirt and his own spit and put it into some man’s eyes to heal him  (John 9) would we dismiss this as some bizarre form of witchcraft rather than embracing a powerful work of God?

Funny enough, there are a NUMBER of stories in the New Testament that I would be VERY offended by today if they were to happen and had not been reported in the Bible [there are even some stories that would offend me even though I know they are in the Bible!].  Why is that?  What does it tell me about myself?  I think it tells me that I have a lot of cynicism and hurt that I have imagined was discernment in the past. God free me from a religious spirit that keeps my eyes veiled from your work on the earth!

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4 Responses to “You may have no discernment…”

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