How to Have a Heart of Discernment

By   •   June 18, 2010   •   Topics:

Don’t Trust Your “Feelings”

The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9

Make no mistake – God has woven emotions into our inmost beings. We are not to take them for granted. However, they should not cloud your discernment and dictate your actions or your principles. In today’s American lingo, we often hear phrases like these thrown around:

Be true to yourself.

Go with your gut instinct.

Listen to your heart.

Do what feels right.

These phrases might sound inspirational, but do you notice something that each of these examples of phrases have in common? They are all man-centered; all about “you” and/or “me.” There is no mention of seeking the Lord’s opinion on life’s matters.

Be careful not to base your rationale on cultural clichés, such as those mentioned above. Instead, take God at His Word.

Guard Your Heart

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. – Proverbs 4:23

Throughout Scripture, the heart and mind are very closely connected. In fact, many places throughout the Bible connect our heart to every other aspect of our lives.

One example is the verse shown above, Proverbs 4:23. If you were to continue reading beyond this verse, you would see that the teachings of wisdom are related to the mouth (speech), the mind (thoughts) and the feet (actions).

It is crucial that we guard our hearts. What does this look like? A person guarding his or her heart is one who makes conscious choices in the direction of godliness, such as choosing to be faithful in the study of God’s Word, or choosing to keep him or herself from something or someone that causes them to lust.

If we work toward developing a discerning heart, the “springs of life” will flow more freely. We will, as a result, be more discerning with our speech, thoughts and actions.

Know the Scriptures

For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edge sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

Even in today’s Christian culture, we are subject to deception and false teaching. The only real way to spot deception is to first know truth. And the source of ultimate truth is the Word of God.

The more time we spend studying the Scriptures, the more familiar we will be with truth. As biblical truth becomes ingrained in our hearts and in our thought patterns, we can then live a life of discernment.

*All Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible.