June of 2017…
That’s when I began to blog on John Bevere’s book Good or God?
Since I began commenting on various selections of Christian literature, I have moved through some books very quickly; the content was just not that thought provoking. That’s ok. A person should not have to have brain strain all the time.
That was not the case with Good or God? Every two or three pages, I had some serious response regarding this book; I felt I should try to explain some of his main points. I felt Bevere’s main points were important points.
As I begin to close out my discussion of this book, I want to review big ideas that he has discussed in hopes that my review will help me to reemphasize his work in my mind and maybe yours too.
The first “main point” is Bevere’s emphasis on discernment. Today in Sunday school class I asked my class what discernment means. It is a term that is tossed around in Christian circles but I have never heard too many people really explain it well. The reason it is important in Bevere’s thinking is that discernment is the key to determining whether you are responding to the siren song of our culture, your social group and coworkers or are you hearing from God and doing His will?
My class responded to my question with answers like “wisdom” and “common sense.” Those are not bad answers but I am afraid they don’t capture the full meaning of the word discernment. The Christian can have discernment if they have the gift of discerning spirits [one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit described in 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11]. When I was in class and listening to their answers, I kept saying “Holy Spirit Wisdom” and “Holy Spirit Common Sense” to their responses, emphasizing that the Holy Spirit is very much a part of the discerning spirit.
Every Christian can have discernment and in fact some would argue that born-again believers have a certain amount of this ability but some people have more discernment than others. The ones who have the most discernment are those who mature as Christians. Sadly, many people confess a belief in God but they stay “babes in Christ.” The maturing believer uses discernment as a means of empowerment, not only using it for determining the difference between good and evil but going way beyond, having the ability to determine what is good from what is better.
One might ask specifically what is this unique ability and how does it manifest itself? For many this can be confusing because this “Holy Spirit Wisdom” or “Holy Spirit Common Sense” goes beyond what is seen or heard. Discerning Christians speak of discernment as feelings in the heart or will say things like “God spoke to me.” That in itself can be a turn off to some people who don’t believe that God speaks today. For Christians with discernment, they know that God does.
A discerning Christian acknowledges the worth of God’s word. The Bible is a main source of spiritual growth for Christians who want to mature. Serious disciplined study of the Bible will pay off for any Christian who believes in the power of God’s word. Hosea 14:9 says “Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” To grow in righteousness, one must read God’s word.
My wife had a conversation with a pastor one day [many years ago]. She had several questions of the man [she loves specific answers]. At that time in her life, she was making moves in her spiritual life that would lead to her becoming a born-again Christian, but at that time she wanted all the answers to all her questions to make perfect sense.
God does not do that for us. His ways are not our ways. Some things we will never know until we are with Him. Mature Christians accept that, exercise their faith and go about their lives. I will never forget the pastor’s answer to her that day, his response to her request for specifics. He knew she was on the verge of becoming a “baby” Christian but at that time, she did not have a great deal of discernment.
He did not say this in a condescending way but it makes a solid point about immature Christians: “some people just need a billboard.”
They won’t understand any other way.