I just finished a book the other day called The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies. The book is an attempt to distil wisdom from the Bible about what spiritual discernment is and how to become better at it.
The problem with an undertaking like this is that the Bible talks about people with discernment, but never really delves into it as something that can be grown, cultivated, found or reached. That being the case, the book is comfortably small at 160 pages and relies heavily on only a few passages.
I think that I am a pretty good discerner. I have what I call the gift and temperament of perspective, meaning I can easily see both sides of an argument and I think I am pretty good at taking an idea and distilling the good from the bad and following things to their logical conclusions. Additionally, I feel that I am a pretty good judge of people and character, something that has been more and more apparent lately.
I don’t think that it is anything that I have worked on or honed, it is just something that I have figured out that I am good at. Like some people have a gift for math and analytical thinking, I think I have a pretty good natural disposition for discernment. That being said the early chapters of the book about how to get discernment were lost on me. Like I said, I just kind of have it. I don’t know of anything that I did.
The later chapters however were maybe the best for me. Challies talks a lot about the pitfalls of discernment: pride, the desire to delve into negative things for their positive aspects, liberalism and fundamentalism.
I liked the book, am glad I read it. Wasn’t a page turner but did contain some good guidance and truth.