I don't make New Year's Resolutions but for many years now, I have asked God for a "word" for the next year. Something that would be my Due North in my pondering and in what He wanted me to concentrate on for the year. It has always come by Christmas and usually by Thanksgiving. However, this year I thought I didn't have a word. Nothing came to mind!
Until... I was watching a women's conference speaker on television during my blog break and she gave the subject of her teaching that day. At which time, I realized that God had been nudging me toward the subject for months, even though I hadn't considered it as an "official" word from Him.
I messaged my daughter and asked her what she thought of the word and she agreed it was a good one. So the "word" He gave me for 2019 is... discern.
Discern: 1. to see, recognize, or understand something that is not clear: 2. to be able to see, recognize, understand, or decide something.
The need for discernment is not new, it was probably one of the earliest teachings I received as a new Christian. I have long prayed for my own discernment to be sharp as well as for my family to have that gift of discernment. For instance, the ability to discern whom to trust and not trust through the years. So that need has been around since the Garden... and those residents apparently ignored it. Which is unfortunately easy to do.
However, what is new is the increased amount of deception in the world today. It seems I am constantly asking God to clarify what is the truth in a situation and what is... not real Truth. For even the Church is accepting as Truth ways of living that the world in general was appalled by a generation ago.
My need to discern what is Truth goes beyond what the world is saying. I have learned that I need to discern when watching all TV news, all articles, and even following what long time trusted conservative and Christian outlets are now writing and saying. The enemy is weaving deceit in every part of society, including those I could once trust.
For instance, I had a favorite news source online where I would find good articles and commentary from a conservative worldview. But something began to happen early last year when the host of the program began to include commentary that I believed was not only a non-truth but close to heretical in the teaching.
I had to doubt that person's ability to discern any kind of news if he could be so far off in his current commentaries. I was not alone in my alarm as others began to notice his "commentaries" that were becoming increasingly anti-semitic. I had already stopped listening to him very often but I made the decision to remove his website and another from my Bookmarks.
Now, there are media sources which I know are saying things that I do not believe are true. I don't even bother giving them any of my time. Their worldview (the filter in which they decide what is Truth) is almost always one that has no respect for Biblical Truth. It doesn't take a gift of discernment to know where they stand on issues of faith.
I need to constantly reset my plumb line toward True North. It tends to wobble once in awhile. Oh, not the big stuff. I am fairly secure in my standing firm in the doctrines of the faith... the virgin birth of Christ, the Resurrection, the return of Christ (although I do not consider discussion on when He returns to be something to divide Christian friends).
The enemy of our souls knows us too well to try to slip in a big deception if we have walked with Christ for decades and had good teaching. No... quite often it is the small stuff that brings about a crack in our foundation that can turn into a chasm. In much the same way a little flirting doesn't seem to hurt but that is the way most adultery situations begin.
I have begun in the last year or two to become even more choosy over what books I accept to review. For I was finding more books that were being written, especially from bloggers who became well known authors, that included these fault lines of doctrine.
I'm not talking about becoming legalistic here for anyone who knows me well also knows my feelings towards legalism. I would rather spend time with a person of completely different political leanings than a legalistic Christian for I saw the resulting damage legalism did in my own family before I was born. I want to remain faithful to God's Word but I do not want to tear down another individual to do so.
No, the discernment I need is the understanding of what God's Word is saying. I need to discern when is the correct time to say something, when I should pray instead of speak, and to ask God to love the unloveable through me....
I have to admit that I so often find the day having passed by in a flash and I still haven't opened my Bible. So daily Bible reading is becoming a higher priority for that is the plum line! I'm also going to read more biographies of men and women who have walked steadfastly before God in the past and adding them to my current reading. I want to know how they remained faithful.
I'm just beginning to really ponder the "word" for all of its' implications in this new year. It is one that comes with many layers of meaning. I think we all can be certain of one thing... we all will require more discernment as the year continues... and God's wisdom.