I’d like to start this post with a confession. When I first became a Christian, I took everyone’s insight and perspective on faith as gold. Every book I read, every speaker I heard, every friend’s spiritual advice or opinions were to me almost as sure as the Bible. I was so excited about Jesus and the things of Jesus, but admittedly naïve and not as discerning as I should’ve been. Over the past few years, as I’ve gotten to know more writers and speakers and as I myself have continued in ministry, I realized that I had placed so much trust in sinful men and women. Godly, sure, but sinful. These men and women who are speaking and writing are prone to the same temptations as you and me—selfish ambition, comparison, competition, fear of man, slander, laziness, all of it. They are not all wise and not infallible. And if any writer or speaker friend reads this, I hope and pray they’d heartily say “Amen!” As I reflect on what I have the opportunity to write and speak about I realize that I, too, can be wrong and often pray before I speak that the Lord would protect his people and give me the right words to say.
This is one reason why I’ve gotten into the habit of trying to think and pray about what I see and read. I know, I imagine that sounds incredibly simple—even simple minded. But for many of us, we’ve absorbed “knowledge” and “wisdom”, accepting anything a popular blogger, speaker, or theologian has said for so long, we might be in a position where we don’t even realize we are doing it.
As I consume what is shared during this election season, in particular, the pursuit of wisdom, thinking, and praying for discernment is of even greater importance. God didn’t give the Bible to special people and He doesn’t give the Spirit to some and withhold it from others. I have the Holy Spirit in me and can ask for wisdom and discernment. There’s no need for any of us to simply accept what we hear as truth without first asking the Lord if it truly is good. We need to be a thinking people (Acts 17:11).
The book of Proverbs helps us pursue wisdom and pray for discernment. And although Paul tells us to test prophecies (1 Thess. 5:21), I believe so many men and women act as “preachers” on the internet that I have expanded that test. I count myself as a teacher among women and I pray that you, too, would test what I say and not simply swallow it. Think of your favorite author or speaker—they are not God. We know that in theory but so often in practice we don’t exercise this knowledge. I love how Luke records the Jews in Berea. They searched the Scriptures daily to see if what Paul was saying to them aligned with the Old Testament. They didn’t simply believe—they sought out knowledge for themselves (Acts. 17:11-12).
My prayer for you and me is that we’d listen to our conscience and ask the Lord for wisdom and discernment. We have to fight the temptation towards laziness and simple consumption—or worse, group think and instead search the Scriptures for ourselves. We truly need wisdom and discernment. We need it with all the words that are being shared with us. We need it with all the “experts” out there. We need it because we are in a time of great confusion. And we know that God can provide wisdom if we seek it (James 1:5).