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I’m sure you’ll agree that not everyone has the gift of discernment. In fact, I believe it’s a pretty rare gift.

Discernment is the innate ability to recognize the moral and practical consequences of our decisions. In these times of moral degradation, we would be wise to consider ways to deliberately develop discernment as much as possible.

Of course, the obvious place to start is in our own backyard. Once we have personally taken up the challenge, others will hopefully ask us what they can do to develop discernment in their lives. They can actually use words like wisdom, knowledge, insight, perception, and understanding.

The bottom line is this: we need a great deal of discernment as we grapple with the many ambiguities prevalent in this world today.

So where should we begin this task to gain discernment/wisdom? Let’s start with these few words found in Psalm 111:10: “The fear of the Lord is all wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good intelligence. To him belongs eternal praise.

Let’s break these few words down. Notice that the psalmist speaks of the “beginning of wisdom” rather than having full wisdom. For me, this means that I must deliberately strive to develop wisdom while I live this life here on earth.

Yes, there are people who do not follow the Lord, who have developed a certain form of discernment. However, I do feel that God is the One who gives discernment to those who intentionally desire to acquire it.

Over the past 37 years as a Christian businessman, I have personally witnessed the value of discernment and the impact of lack of discernment quite frequently. Yes, there have been times when I lacked divine wisdom.

The good news is this: I learned from my past careless choices. And, thankfully, God got me through those bad decisions with minimal consequences. His patience with my past behavior is greatly appreciated as I continue to strive to learn from the mistakes of others as well as my own shortcomings.

Life is designed to be a learning experience.

The author of Hebrews speaks of this learning process in Hebrews 5:11-14: “We have much to say about it, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, at that time you should be teachers, you need someone to re-teach you the basic truths of God’s word. You need milk, not solid foods! Anyone who lives on milk, being still a child, does not know the teaching on justice. But solid food is for adults who, through constant use, have trained themselves to tell right from wrong.

Many in the Christian faith don’t seem to have much desire and don’t find the time to dedicate themselves to growing in discernment. God is obviously showing much more patience than this soul has shown, but there is no doubt in my mind that he wants all of his people to seek out the very special gift.

This world would be very different if we all took this premise seriously.

So. and after? I suggest we begin with prayer as Jesus’ half-brother James urges the early church in his letter found in the General Epistles of the Bible. In James 1:5 he proclaims, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

That said, I believe there is a lot to be done, if we really want to see this world re-grasp the old principles established by God at the very beginning. I pray that you take this discussion seriously for the good of humanity and for the glory of God!

Passages to ponder

» Proverbs 1:1-6

» Ephesians 1:15-17

» Philippians 1:9-11

» James 1:5-8

— Jim Langley has been writing for over 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to approach him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he began writing Q4 strategy columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the devotional CBMC International Monday Manna . He can be contacted at [email protected] for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.