By Bob Kirkland
(Pastor Kirkland is the author of the Lighthouse Trails book, Calvinism: None Dare Call It Heresy)
God offers no cheap discipleship program. In Luke chapter
fourteen, the Lord gave three reasons why we cannot be His
disciple. He warned His followers to “count the cost”:
- Christ said if family or even our own lives are more
important than truth, we cannot be His disciple (Luke 14:26).
- If we refuse to bear the cross He gives us to bear, we
cannot be His disciple (Luke 14:27).
- If we are not willing to forsake all that we have,
we cannot be His disciple (Luke 14:33).
Discernment only comes from God, and He will not give discernment to anyone who is not willing to pay the price to be His disciple. Therefore, the first thing one who wants discernment must do is decide if he or she is willing to pay the price. Beware—it is very expensive.
The First Step to Discernment Is to Earnestly Pray for Discernment
The phrase “teach me” occurs in fifteen prayers in the Word of God.
Fourteen of them were prayers from the “man after God’s own heart,”
and one time the words came from Job who was not talking to God
but was talking to one of his critics. Job was humble enough to learn
even from his critics. Discernment is costly. It begins with humility.
The Second Step to Discernment Is an Earnest Desire for the Truth
The only source of total truth is the Word of God. The only way to
discern the truth concerning the things we read in God’s Word is to
genuinely allow the Holy Spirit to guide us into “all truth” (John 16:13).
This means we are not looking for Scriptures to support what we
already think we know about any issue. It also means we will not be
concerned about what our peers think. We genuinely want the truth.
This will most likely cost you some friends; however, the gift of
discernment is costly.
The Third Step to Discernment Is Applying the Truth
The Psalmist prayed, “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth:
unite my heart to fear thy name” (Psalm 86:11). Notice that the prayer includes “I will walk in thy truth.” This might include that you will need to admit that you have been wrong about some issue.
Discernment is costly. Count the cost before you go seeking discernment. Discernment put Noah and his family against the entire world. Discernment totally changed the lifestyle of Abraham. It caused Enoch to walk alone and Joseph to be hated by his brothers, sold as a slave, and spend many years in a dungeon. It put Moses on the backside of the desert and the three Hebrew children in the furnace. Discernment caused all of the disciples to be hated and Paul to be lied about, whipped, imprisoned, and forsaken by most Christians.
This is why Christ took His disciples up on the mountain at the beginning of their ministry and explained the true cost of discipleship. He said being His disciples would take them on the narrow path and warned them ahead of time that “few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14).
God offers no cheap discipleship program.
(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission; design by Lighthouse Trails; article from Fairhaven Baptist Church; used with permission)