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Constant Practice (Hebrews 5:14)

But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. - Hebrews 5:14

Nobody expects to become a master of chess without countless hours of practice.

Nobody expects to be an olympic athlete without countless hours of practice.

Nobody expects to be a world class musician without countless hours of practice.

Why then, do we expect to be "good" Christians without practice of any sort?

Of course when it comes to our salvation itself, there is no amount of "practicing" that could ever earn what Christ has already done on our behalf. Jesus has finished the job on the Cross.

But the Apostle Paul tells us also to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling." (Phil 2:12)

What are we to make of this?

Many of us have had a born again experience, or have attained assurance of our salvation, and then took our foot of the gas. We have treated salvation as if it were the end and not the beginning.

Jesus did not die on the Cross to give us a "get out of hell free card" as the lives of many Christians would seem to suggest. Jesus is not concerned with our future, He is concerned with our eternity. Jesus Himself tells us,

"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." (John 10:10)

Notice how He does not say that He came to give us abundant life after we die, but He said He came to give us abundant life period. There is no qualifier.

Why then are so many of us not living in this abundance?

I want to submit to you that it is because we don't actually know what an abundant life is. We have been taken captive by the world's definition of abundance rather than God's. What the world means by abundance and what God means by abundance are not only much different from one another, they are often polar opposites.

An abundant life - as God defines it - will result from turning away from what is evil and turning toward what is good. And how are we to do this unless we first develop the ability to distinguish evil from good?

The devil may appear to us our minds a nasty figure with horns and pitchfork, but in reality he is much more cunning than this. Most of us would immediately turn from evil if evil presented itself so clearly. But the danger of the enemy comes from his subtlety. He disguises good for evil and evil for good.

He tricks us into desiring and seeking things that will bring about our own destruction.

We must be vigilant and pray always for God to grant us the gift of discernment. We must let the Word of God penetrate our minds and bring to light the secret desires of our hearts. We must meditate and reflect on what God is doing during this season of our lives.

We cannot expect to develop spiritual discernment overnight. Like anything else, if we want to see improvement then we must commit to consistent practice. If we do this, then progress must surely come.

"The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn

which shines brighter and brighter until full day"

Prov 4:18

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Deb Hill
Deb Hill
Jan 08

Discernment is a spiritual gift, and it does develop with practice as all spiritual gifts. Sometimes we forget that fact. We live in an "instant" society. One of the best things we can do is study cause and effect from a kingdom perspective. And listen to the Holy Spirit. You're allowed to ask questions! Watch for "red flags" and look for peace in your spirit. I love these posts! Thx, Bobby.

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