Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.– Malachi 3:18
When we walked according to the course of the world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2), we were not conscious of the profoundly lost state we or those around us were in. In fact, in most cases, we thought pretty highly of ourselves! Ask us a question about life: what’s important; what God thinks about ________ (fill in the blank); what is right or what is wrong and we would gladly share our profound insight and wisdom with you. Often times, we would look to men to help us find these answers through things like higher education, the media, or even flawed seeker-friendly religious institutions. We were taking part in the classic blind-leading-the-blind phenomena that permeates the world leading all involved to fall into the ditch (Matthew 15:14).
Not only were we blind but we were also dead asleep, just like the young maid in Matthew 9:24. It took Jesus coming in and taking her by the hand to raise her up, to awaken her from death to life, and it took the same for us. Once we are awake, our eyes opened, discernment begins to form within us. This will only happen, however, if we continue in obedience to the LORD through the faithful reading of His Word and humble prayer. This will only happen if we are willing to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him as directed in Matthew 16:24. This is not a one time denial but, rather, a lifetime one. Surrender and service to the will of God must trump our own. In search of His glory our only goal! Our opinions cast away and our thoughts in line with His Word. No matter the obstacles; no matter the pulls of the flesh; no matter the calls of the world (including friends and family) we must resolve to follow after Him in obedience.
When this supernatural transformation has taken place in us; when we no longer seek our own way and will; when He becomes our all-in-all; our meaning and our hearts desire then will we achieve this ability to discern that is described to us in today’s scripture verse from Malachi.
We will have discernment regarding ourselves and those around us. This discernment is powerful and can be rather overwhelming to process and accept. That is why it is vital we continue in close relationship to Christ Jesus by bringing our concerns, our findings, to Him in humble prayer. Humble prayer for ourselves as our sins and shortcomings became illuminated by His Holy light as well as prayers for those around us. It is vital we go to the Lord first regarding our discernment towards others and not to each other. Take it to Him repeatedly and ask for guidance. It could be, and often will be, that our prayers are all the Lord requires of us in terms of specific people or situations. We are to trust in and seek the Lord in all matters and then obey what He tells us to do in response no matter how tempting it might be for us to go to other people for advice or to gossip. If those feelings arise it is vital that we also, immediately, take it to the Lord in prayer.
When we walk in humble obedience to God we will be given discernment. What we do with that discernment will determine if we truly are His or not. If, having our eyes opened and awakened from dead sleep we begin to gossip and to be puffed up in pride because of this new knowledge we have garnered, we will not progress in our spiritual walk and will risk losing what we have been given of God. Just as Jesus declares in Matthew 13:12, For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. We must resolve to never get so sure of ourselves because of the beautiful gifts given us from the Father have made us discerners of the Truth. The key thing for us to remember is that everything we possess, including our discernment and our salvation, is just that: a gift to us from our Father in Heaven.