Saturday, August 16, 2014

“Discretion”—the ability to apply these other virtues to everyday living.
More than one word is translated “discretion,” but I am only dealing with a word that appears four times in Proverbs. Discretion NEVER appears alone; it is always accompanied by other virtues. Proverbs 1:1-4 shows that wisdom and instruction will give you understanding, and these will give you prudence, knowledge, and discretion.
When you have these other virtues, discretion will preserve you. 2:11  An important point here is that possessing these virtues will keep you from making a wreck out of your life.
Discretion, combined with wisdom, will give you physical safety  3:21 ff
Along with other virtues, discretion will keep you from immorality 5:1-2ff

Friday, August 15, 2014

“DISCERNMENTt”—the ability to recognize truth that you already know.

Solomon tells how he discerned among the youths, among the simple ones, a young man void of understanding. Since understanding gives you the ability to recognize wise counsel, Solomon must have known that this young man did not accept wise counsel. Instead, he went off to a prostitute.

It is important to realize: Discernment is NOT the ability to produce new information. A person who makes accusations is not discerning; he is judging.

How do you get discernment? Hebrews 5:14 tells us “But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Now, this is important: You cannot be a fully mature Christian without discernment. If you follow man-made rules instead of using your spiritual abilities, you cannot exercise your senses to gain discernment.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Discernment is rarely mentioned in Proverbs.

In Genesis, Isaac was tricked into blessing his son Jacob instead of Esau. Isaac knew he was hearing Jacob’s voice. He knew that Esau could not possibly have hunted, killed, and prepared savory meat in such a short time. He knew that his wife loved Jacob more than Esau, and he knew that Jacob was a supplanter. Knowing all this, he failed to DISCERN that he was talking to Jacob.

Another instance tells of a disguised prophet fooling the King of Israel. But after he removed his disguise, the King DISCERNED that he was one of the prophets.

“DISCERNMENT”—the ability to recognize truth that you already know.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Because "discernment" is often confused with "judging," I am going to explain judging first.

"Judging"--recognizing your own sin in someone else, whether or not it's really there.

Romans 2:1 tells us "Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things."

As a weapon of sin, judging has both strong and weak points. It gives a false accuser confidence, because the accuser actually believes the accusations. A weakness is that the false accuser does not realize how many people recognize him as a false accuser.

A Christian who understands judging can use it effectively. When I taught Christian school, I would sometimes deal with enraged parents whose children had lied to them about their misbehavior. Listening to the parent's accusations against me, I learned what the parent's spiritual problems were and was sometimes able to help them. Don't laugh--less than half of all Christian school teachers enter their third year; I lasted ten years and had better behavior than most of my peers.

People who judge often insist that they are discerning, even though they have their facts wrong. The idea is that judging is making false accusations, while discerning is making true accusations. Neither belief is true.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Some time back, a successful Christian blogger attacked another successful blogger. The second blogger responded with an avalanche of knowledge, the attacker turned to insults and false accusations, and the second blogger continued to use wisdom and knowledge (the ability to recall truth), citing Scripture and actual events.

Badly defeated in a debate that was getting a lot of visits, the attacker began blasting his own followers for checking the second blogger's site to see the other side of the issue. He realized, correctly, that knowledge was an enemy to his cause.

The Proverbial virtues stress the importance of gaining and spreading knowledge. 18:1 tells us that a person who opposes wisdom (the ability to apply knowledge to a specific situation) is meddling with virtues he does not possess. He is hostile and unfriendly because these virtues are an attack on himself.

When you see angry teachers, teachers who rely on false accusations, and teachers who support isolation, Proverbs 18:1 tells us that they are interfering with virtues they do not possess.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Proverbs 18:1-2 is difficult to translate but shows us an important truth.

Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.  KJV

A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment. New King James Version

Holding on  to a false doctrine while claiming to be a fundamentalist, a Christian can find himself constantly being defeated by wisdom (the ability to apply knowledge to a specific situation). So he starts preaching isolation, while labeling it separation. You cannot listen to Billy Graham! or the Southern Baptist Convention! or Jerry Falwell! or Bob Jones University! or the charismatics! or Adam Clarke! or Strong's Exhaustive Concordance! or anyone showing the sins of the leader's group!

Eventually, the leader isolates his group enough that his followers cannot learn the errors of their leader.