Learning to Discern

I’m currently teaching through a series entitled, “Learning to Discern.”  The goal of the study is not to tell people what to believe but to equip them to discern.

Discernment is part of wisdom.  Wisdom is skill in godly living–the ability to put knowledge to good use.  Since Scripture defines “the fear of the Lord” as the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10) we have defined, the fear of the Lord as a clear understanding of the Holy transcendence of God with a sobering understanding of the consequences of not keeping His righteous standards.  Godly wisdom then is a submission to God’s control.  Wisdom is a prerequisite for discernment.

Discernment then, based on the definition of the term in the Old Testament means at the same time “to listen” and “to obey” and along with its usage leads us to define it as:
the skill of understanding and applying God’s Word with the purpose of separating truth from error and right from wrong (for more on discernment see The Discipline of Discernment by Tim Challies).

The primary questions we have been asking throughout this series are:
What is discernment?
What does it take to practice discernment?
What impedes discernment?

Lessons from Ezra

Small Group Questions

1. What drives you?  What is your greatest motivation?

2. What do you want to be remembered for?

3. Is your life characterized more by a clock or a compass?

Clocks measure time (help us schedule activities), while a Compass point to a direction (helps us know where we are going).

4. Read Ezra 7:1-11.  List all the descriptive elements about Ezra (heritage, role/job, character, etc.).

5. If others were summarizing your life–how would they do it?

6. Having seen Ezra’s “missions statement”–the summary of his passion, how would you state your mission statement?
How do you want to be in terms of character?
What do you want to contribute?

A personal missions statement serves as a compass–pointing you in the right direction.  It gives you something to guide decisions.  It enables you to live a life of purpose.  It enables you to be discerning by deciding ahead of time what is important–not leaving the important to be determined in the stress of the moment.

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