The Protective Power of Discernment
Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
2 Peter 3:14-18
Spiritual discernment protects us from deception. Sin is always dressed up to look tempting and appealing; if we think what looks good and feels right must be OK, then we’re in danger of being misled by the enemy. When Satan tempts us, he never mentions consequences or negative impact.
Spiritual discernment is our God-given capacity to judge what’s right and wrong. It protects us from the suffering that accompanies disobedience. Ignoring an agitation in our spirit—which I call “spiritual static”—is a step onto sin’s pathway. When looking for a radio station, we want clear reception. The same is true in our lives. We need a clear connection to the Holy Spirit to have peace and assurance that we’re doing the right thing and aligned with God’s will.
Sometimes an opportunity appears harmless or, more likely, very appealing. But if the Holy Spirit within us sends a signal not to pursue it, then we dare not—for some reason, God doesn’t want us in that situation. And though we can speculate, we may never know what danger we avoided by being obedient.
Sin doesn’t initially appear as the ugly, deceitful disobedience it is. Instead, it comes wrapped in a pretty package, one hard to resist. God’s children can see past the glitter and false beauty if they choose to look. This spiritual wisdom comes only from a clean heart and discerning spirit. An astute believer is one who makes prayer, repentance, and biblical training a regular part of his or her routine.