What a joy Tuesday Truth has been! I pray this has challenged and encouraged you to trade in this world’s lies for the Truth of God’s Word. Months ago, the Lord birthed this idea in my heart because I of the belief and celebration of ideas that sounded good on the surface, but weren’t biblical. Though this series could truly last a lifetime, today will be the last one (for now!). We end with discussing a main motivation behind each of these articles- discernment.
On various social media scrolls, I see moms worried about “toxic” products- sunscreen, lotions, etc. I realized how we often we practice discernment with the physical, but not so much with the spiritual. We scan labels, ensuring something is actually as organic as it claims, but if a book, podcast, article, etc. is labeled as “Christian,” we never question it. Now, it’s not wrong to have concern for what goes in and on our bodies. That’s being a good steward of what God has given us. However, shouldn’t we be even more diligent with the beliefs we allow to take root in our hearts?
Friends, the Bible describes Satan as crafty (Gen. 3:1). Matthew 7:15 warns that false prophets come dressed in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they’re ravenous wolves. Unbiblical teachings don’t have large caution signs shouting, “Don’t believe this!” Instead, they often have pretty fonts, are posted by popular “influencers,” and might even sound good on the surface.
Since false teachings won’t be obvious, discernment must be a daily part of the Christian life. Discernment isn’t concerned with what makes us feel good, but with- Is this biblical? Scripture speaks of the need for discernment in several places, but a few are:
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
“So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” Ephesians 4:14
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” Philippians 1:9-10
The truth is, just because something is labeled “Christian” doesn’t mean it is. Just because it sounds encouraging doesn’t mean it’s true. Satan loves for us to believe unbiblical things because it can lead to an unbiblical life. We must strive to only believe and act on what’s biblical. Here are some ways to grow in discernment…
Realize the need. By now, hopefully, this is obvious. My heart aches when believers don’t even realize they need to think critically in regards to the authors, worship leaders, etc. they soak up. Many blindly believe something is biblical, when it may not be. Though we’ll still fail in the area of discernment, realizing false teaching is ready to creep into our hearts allows us to have eyes, ears, and hearts on alert.
Know the Bible. We fall prey to unbiblical ideas because simply put, we don’t know God’s Word as we should. We read books about the Bible, but we don’t read the Bible itself (Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin). We spend time studying the latest design trends or parenting tips, but for various reasons, studying God’s Word seems too burdensome. However, the Bible clearly warns of the consequences if we don’t know God’s Word, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” (Hosea 4:6). I plead with you- study God’s Word. Know it. Treasure it. Prioritize it in every season- busy ones, slow ones, dry ones, fruitful ones.
Move on from milk to meat. Hebrews 5:12b-14 says, “You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” I’ve followed Jesus for about 23 years. Wouldn’t it be silly if, at my physical age of 23, I still needed baby food? The same goes for our own walks with Christ. Why should we still need the “milk,” though we’ve walked with Christ for many years? Friends, the deep things of Christ aren’t just for pastors or seminary students. There’s great joy in deepening our knowledge of God, which deepens our love for him! As we move on to the meat, we become more equipped to weed out unbiblical teachings.
Understand Scripture is the only infallible resource. While I love podcasts and good books, these are never my priority resource. I respect many people who do these things, but no article, sermon, or podcast episode is the infallible Word of God. Therefore, they’re all fallen in some way (including this article). God’s Word must be our first priority. Knowing the real thing equips us to spot the false teachings. It’s important to note that some resources are more “fallen” than others. There are wonderful resources that strive to line up with God’s Word, teach sound doctrine, and have the Bible as their authority. These are the ones in which we should invest our time. Those that add to or take away from Scripture, teach other gospels (self-help and prosperity are big ones these days), or aren’t centered on God’s Word shouldn’t have any of our precious time.
The Bible must be the standard we line everything up against. This includes, but isn’t limited to, worship songs/leaders, books, podcasts, quotes, and sermons. Discernment can be summed up with one question, “Does this line up with Scripture?” We can’t blindly trust something as “Christian,” just because it’s promoted as such. Indeed, discernment is a muscle, and it takes time to build it. However, there’s joy in believing Truth, so it’s a worthy pursuit. There are great implications for what we allow to influence us spiritually. It shapes what we believe about God, which will ultimately affect how we live. I don’t know about you, but I want to believe in the God of the Bible. I want to live as he calls me to live. This world and its false gospels of self-help and earthly prosperity have nothing for me.
Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood, but against Satan (Eph. 6:12). Our Sword of the Spirit, God’s Word should be in hand daily (Eph. 6:17). Our minds and hearts are spiritual battlegrounds, and we must fight for biblical teachings to be what we intake, celebrate, and teach to others.
Though we’ll be imperfect at this, we can’t allow this, to hinder us from practicing, “Is this biblical?” Like I said, simply realizing the need is step one. As we filter everything through the lens of Scripture, we can trust the Spirit to be with us, illuminate the Word, convict, encourage, and guide us. We can also trust God to be gracious. Though we may stumble, discernment isn’t what saves us. Our salvation comes from faith alone in Christ alone. Dear friends, Jesus is so wonderful! I want to be discerning so that I can know him rightly and therefore teach him rightly to others! May the Lord be glorified as we engage our minds in knowing and loving him more (Matt. 22:37)!
(and p.s. this may be the last Tuesday Truth, but I’ll still write and share the Truth of the Word as I have time! Some will be here, guest blogs for other sites, or mini posts on my Facebook or Instagram- @casspattillo)