Hebrews 5:11-14

In today’s world, impatience is all too common a trait. We want  food, help, and information fast. Just waiting for the computer to boot up or  the “next avail-able agent” to answer our call can cause frustration.  But the Lord specializes in slow, steady work. He’s more interested in a quality  outcome than a speedy process.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of spiritual  discernment. When we become Christians, we aren’t instantly wise and  knowledgeable. It takes a lifetime to grow to maturity. Some believers,  however, don’t seem to grow up at all. They get older, but their understanding  of God’s Word never goes very deep.

This lack of godly wisdom is caused by ignorance of the  Scriptures, apathy and complacency about spiritual things, and a failure to  apply biblical truths. Discernment requires time and effort. You can’t  simply move  through life, thoughtlessly reacting to situations yet never learning from  them. Take time to reflect on your responses and observe the consequences of  your actions and choices. If you feel convicted by what you notice, let that  motivate you to begin a lifelong  pursuit of the Lord and His ways. Start reading the Bible regularly. And  as you do, ask  the Lord to open your heart and mind to  understand what He’s saying.

But just reading God’s Word  isn’t enough. Without applying what you’ve read, all you’ll have is head  knowledge. Obedience trains us to discern good and evil. Through practice, we learn wisdom and develop  spiritual maturity. If you’ll begin today and patiently persevere, in time  discernment will come.

The Power Source for Discernment

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

Spiritual discernment is a supernatural ability, which requires  supernatural power. In  our human strength, we can rely only on what  we see, hear, feel, and know in order to make decisions and evaluate  circumstances and relationships. But when the Holy Spirit comes to live within  us, He opens up  an entirely new dimension of  understanding. He shows us things we could never figure out by ourselves.

Although the Bible is the basis for spiritual discernment, without  the interpreting power of the Spirit, reading it would be strictly an academic  endeavor. But the Spirit takes the words and brings them to life in the hearts  of those who have trusted Christ as their Savior. He knows precisely how to  apply God’s Word to our exact need at just the right moment. Haven’t you found  this to be true? You’ve read a passage many times, but just when you need a  particular message, that familiar verse jumps off the page right into your  heart.

That’s the work of the Spirit. He is the only one who knows the  thoughts of the Father, and His job is to open our minds to understand “the things freely given to us by God” (v. 12). The Lord isn’t trying to hide His  thoughts from us; rather, He wants us to know how He thinks so that we can  proceed wisely.

So what should we do if  we’re struggling to understand Scripture? First of all, the Lord wants us to seek Him and ask for  wisdom to comprehend. This requires time and energy invested in Bible study and  prayer. Second, the more yielded we are to the Spirit, the more we’ll be able  to hear His voice.