Developing Discernment During Chaotic Times

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These are some pretty wonky days, right? Scan the news reports on your phone and you will find all sorts of differing opinions. Scroll through social media and you’ll find adamant posts. Everyone has a different opinion and they each feel their view is right. How are we as believers supposed to develop discernment in the midst of what seems like absolute chaos? The Psalmist David gives us a clue in one of his poetic masterpieces. 

Psalm 34 has long been one of my favorites. The crazy thing about it is that David wrote this Psalm while he was acting insane in front of King Abimelek (I Samuel 21:10-15). In these beautiful Psalms, David writes, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8). The Hebrew word for “taste” that’s used here is the word ta’am. It means “To taste, eat; discern, perceive; to evaluate” (Strong’s Concordance #2938). I find that so intriguing. Many have lost their sense of taste due to COVID, but I wonder, have many also lost their sense of discernment due to COVID?

The dictionary defines discernment as “Acuteness in understanding”. From a spiritual perspective, discernment is the ability to judge well.[1] This is what the Apostle John was talking about when he wrote, “Dear Friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (I John 4:1). Friends, here’s the thing: we need to be wise in this day and age. There are many conspiracy theories on social media. There are many people panicking and declaring that these are the end times. Now, one thing is for sure – we are one day closer to the second coming of the Lord than we were a day ago. That shouldn’t stir up fear in us, but joy! When you hear a prophetic word, test it. How? 

Learn to Love Scripture – When you’re seeking to develop discernment, start with Scripture. Spend time in the Word. Don’t just accept other people’s views on who God is or what He is saying. Go directly to the Word of God. In other words, open your Bible and start reading. God won’t speak anything contrary to Scripture. 

We’re not to be gullible and believe everything we read on social media or hear in a podcast. So often what we read on social media is politically driven. Jesus doesn’t call us to scream about our rights. He calls us to love and serve others as He did (John 13:34). Consider this: what are you known for? Are you known for shouting your opinion on social media, or are you known for loving and serving others? 

Ask the Holy Spirit for Wisdom. I believe now more than ever we need wisdom. Who is the source of wisdom? God. One of my favorite passages to pray is Romans 11:33-36, where Paul writes, “Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them? For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever!” I often borrow those words to praise God and then ask Him to give to me the wisdom I need in the moment. It is a prayer that He loves to answer. 

Embrace Silence. Our world is very noisy right now. Lots of voices. Lots of opinions. Lots of information. God speaks, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Author Mark Batterson, in his profound book Whisper, suggests that each of us develop a “whispering spot”[2] – a place to listen to God. Remember the story of Elijah? While he was hiding in a cave, God called him out to stand in the presence of the Lord. God didn’t speak through the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. He came in a whisper (I Kings 19:11-13). Here’s the thing: you can’t hear the whisper of God’s voice unless you lean in and grow silent. If you want discernment, you’re going to have to withdraw and get quiet in order to hear what God is speaking. 

Friend, these are without doubt uncertain days. Instead of giving in to panic, praise God that He is more than able to give you discernment. When you need discernment, start with scripture, ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom, and embrace silence. God is still on the throne. He’s not going to fail you now.

Hey! By the way, if you haven’t already, you can order Psalms for the Anxious Heart on Amazon! This is my new devotional to help you quiet anxiety! 


[2] Mark Batterson, Whisper, (Multnomah, 2017), 46

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