The Hillsong Documentary, Julie Roy’s latest attack on John MacArthur, The latest SBC kerfluffle, and crazy charismatic behavior all have one thing in common – distraction.
The enemy uses all of these things to get believers’ attention out of God’s book and onto Facebook and into Twitter battles. There is a difference between Paul calling out the false teachers of his day and what many discernment ministries do today. Paul knew those he corrected, and he knew the situations of the churches he wrote to; we have way too much access and little to no information on what we get involved in on social media. It’s all a ploy from the enemy to distract us from the Word of God.
Joshua 1:7-8 LSB “Only be strong and very courageous to be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn aside from it to the right or to the left, so that you may be prosperous wherever you go.8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way successful, and then you will be prosperous.”
This was Joshua’s instruction from the Lord, and it is ours as well. We must be Word-centered people; we must keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author, and Finisher of our faith. But unfortunately, we can become so discernment-oriented that we constantly look for error instead of truth. We can even become so discernment-minded that we begin dismissing good brothers over the slightest disagreement. The other ditch for Christians is to be so enamored with experience that we don’t test it against what is written in Scripture.
Yes, there is a biblical mandate to be discerning and call out false teachers, but if that is your sole focus, you are out of balance. Likewise, you are out of balance if you are so experience-oriented that you spend little to no time being renewed by Scripture.
Whether you have come out of wrong understanding and have begun following twenty discernment accounts or thrown discernment to the wind and follow everyone who claims to have taken a trip to heaven, you need to return to the simplicity of Scripture.
The Scripture has all the answers; it is truth; the Scripture is what the Holy Spirit came to lead and guide us in. Yes, we may have experiences, but those are secondary to the Scripture. On the flip side, being so engrossed in systematic theology can close you off to God working in ways you cannot easily fit into your system. So I challenge you to put theology books aside for 21 days, mute the discernment accounts, quit seeking an encounter, and spend 21 days just reading the Bible. May I suggest the first five books of the Old Testament and the first five books of the New Testament. Read them again and again. See what the Holy Spirit has taught you at the end of twenty-one days. Put aside what you learned through systematic theology; put aside experiences; what does the plain text of Scripture say, and what does it teach?
Discernment doesn’t require following bloggers, YouTubers, or Instagram accounts. Discernment requires each of us to know what Scripture teaches. Are you hyped up on experience after experience or conference after conference? Stop, take a break, grab your Bible and a notebook, and say, Holy Spirit, teach me. Everything during these twenty-one days must be based solely on Scripture. Learn to learn from Scripture, and discipline yourself to be Word-centered and Jesus-focused.
We are living in the end of days; this will require some systematic things to be set aside so that the Spirit of God can guide and provide. We live in the last days, which means false signs will become prevalent, so you need to learn discernment and know how to test the spirits.
We need doctrine and discernment; however, too many allow the enemy to twist those things and bring confusion to the plain meaning and ability to understand Scripture. Submit your life to Scripture, keep your eyes on Jesus and let the Holy Spirit teach you the truth.