A.W. Tozer: “Among the gifts of the Spirit scarcely one is of greater practical usefulness than the gift of discernment. This gift should be highly valued and frankly sought as being almost indispensable in these critical times. This gift will enable us to distinguish the chaff from the wheat and to divide the manifestations of the flesh from the operations of the Spirit.”
My husband and I had a discussion a few days ago about our goals for 2012. While things like “achieving a shape other than round” and “reading more” were mentioned in that conversation, our goals for the new year revolve more around the things we want to avoid. I have spent this last day of 2011 sitting at home and reflecting on all the things I DO NOT want to repeat or carry with me into 2012. My reflections have resulted in countless tears.
I am looking out an open window and enjoying the beautiful spring air. Wait a minute! It’s winter. Yet, even with an open window and clear view of the weather outside, it seems like spring. The high today was 62 degrees fahrenheit. The disguise this winter day is wearing has fooled even the birds who have dined at my window feeder since the early morning.
In Aesop’s Fables, a wolf slips into a sheep’s skin and is able to fool the shepherd into believing that he is a member of the flock so that he can devour the sheep. In Little Red Riding Hood, a wolf dresses like a little old lady in his attempt to eat a little girl. In the Bible, we are warned about false prophets who are just ravenous wolves disguised as sheep.
No matter the reference point it, the big bad wolf is always the same character ~ Someone hiding malicious intent by displaying kindness, gentleness or the need to be cared for.
2011 has been filled with wolves. I could write an entire book (and I probably will) about the humanitarian Ponzi scheme that costs us a good chunk of our savings. Or the wounded person I encouraged for the majority of the year whose wounds weren’t exactly real. Or the people my husband has encouraged for the past few years that have now made false allegations against him.
Guess what? I’m thankful for the wolves. The wolves have forced us to grow and become truly aware of all that God is doing around us and in us. The wolves have taught us that discernment is a not just a word to be thrown around, but a gift that we are responsible to act on and that is necessary for survival.
A.W. Tozer: “The healthy soul, like the healthy blood system, has its proper proportion of white and red blood cells. The red corpuscles are like faith: they carry the life-giving oxygen to every part of the body. The white cells are like discernment: they pounce upon dead and toxic matter and carry it out to the drain. In the healthy heart there must be provision for keeping dead and poisonous matter out of the life stream.”
This statement was like a slap across the face for me. It doesn’t matter how strong your faith is. Without discernment, your spiritual-life will be filled with disease and poison.
So… in the middle of all the deception we’ve encountered, we’ve learned to trust our discernment. For those of you not clear on the experience of discernment, it’s your God-given intuition. That sick feeling in your gut when something just isn’t right about a situation or a person. It’s the voice in your head telling you to question what you’re being told or to dig a little deeper. It’s the conclusion you come to after testing what you’ve been told against the Word of God. It is wisdom.
My #1 goal for 2012: Let the discernment God has given both myself and my husband guide us and protect us from becoming ensnared in the types of trials we’ve endured in 2011. #2: Achieve a shape other than round 🙂
While I do wish you a happy 2012, my heart’s desire is that anyone who reads this have a new year filled with wide open windows providing a beautiful view. I pray that you have a year filled with peace and faith that is pure and holy. I pray that you recognize every big bad wolf that should cross your path. I pray that you find joy in all that you do. And… I pray that you never stop thanking God for everything. Even the wolves.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-21 My friends, we beg you to warn anyone who isn’t living right. Encourage anyone who feels left out, help all who are weak, and be patient with everyone. Don’t be hateful to people, just because they are hateful to you. Rather, be good to each other and to everyone else. Always be joyful and never stop praying. Whatever happens, keep thanking God because of Jesus Christ. This is what God wants you to do. Don’t turn away God’s Spirit or ignore prophecies. Put everything to the test. Accept what is good and don’t have anything to do with evil.