Discerning Truth in a World of Veneer
Let’s face it: “you can’t believe everything you see or hear.” You have to have DISCERNMENT.
“The simple believes everything” (Prov. 14:15).
Here are great tests I ask myself to discern what (or who) is real:
1. The test of time
For a lot of people, it’s what’s “new” and “now.” Sure, we have to change with the times. But does “shiny” mean “better?”
People, systems, and values work over a long period of time for a reason. Give that new idea a little time to prove itself. Who wants to taste every new recipe when Mama’s cooking wins every prize?
2. The test of tempo
It’s one thing for something to be good. It’s another thing for it to break your health or your marriage trying to accomplish it.
God tells you something good to do. Satan tells you to do it NOW. No rhythm, no pace, no safety net. It’s a “canary in the coal mine” when your activity is pushing you past your limits.
3. The test of motive
Anything that smacks of greed, pride, or lust is for sure a deadly poison in a candy wrapper. WHY is a great question for discernment: “Why is money, sex, and ego all over this thing if it is good for me?”
Listen to that inner hunch, that inward voice of God’s Spirit. Listen as you would if there was a cliff around here somewhere hidden by the darkness. Don’t deny the motives you sense in a person or activity that move our inner “light” to yellow then red.
4. The test of truth
Is there a little bit of deception, exaggeration, or info left out in the presentation? What about their former relationships they are not telling you about? What about the “customers” you find out were paid for their reviews?
I was told by an expert turkey hunter that they can spot a hunter’s eyes blink and flee for safety. When you sense that momentary “hesitation in the presentation,” put on your brakes and head for the exits.
5. The test of Scripture
I say this one because it is the acid test. No matter how wonderful and persuasive something looks, it can still fool you. A speedometer doesn’t lie. A ruler doesn’t lie. Scripture is the truth.
Read a consistent Bible reading plan every day. Simply reading the Bible stories will teach you much about the traps that caught even well-meaning kings, prophets, and priests.
Christ could discern a trap in Satan’s three “harmless” temptations in the wilderness. He knew they went against the plain teaching of Scripture.
Discernment sees, hears, and diverts.
Ask God for it. Seek after it from others who are older, wiser, and more experienced. Read about it in Scripture. Most of all, surround yourself with friends who can help you spot a trap.
Like the pilgrim in Pilgrim’s Progress, life is full of traps, detours, and charlatans.
Jesus is, simply put, the real deal.