Give Your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern Your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this Your great people? 1 Kings 3:9
When I graduated from seminary, I knew what I was supposed to be: a college campus chaplain.
Now more than 40 years later, I realize that even though I received more than 40 calls in the course of my ministry, not a single one ever came from a college campus. From this I have figured out two things:
1. The Lord didn't want me on a college campus and
2. I didn't have the gift of prophecy or the ability to discern what was best.
How about you? Has your life turned out the way you dreamed it would 10 or 20 years ago?
I wonder, are your days filled with peace, or have bad decisions and unfulfilled dreams left you with a gnawing in your stomach, an emptiness in your head, a knot in your neck, a fear in your conscience, a desperation, despondency, depression that just doesn't go away?
Do you have the ability to discern what is best?
A moment ago I said that life has taught me two things. That's not exactly right. The Lord has taught me a third. He has shown me the more a person aligns Himself with the Lord's will, the better his life will be. Conversely, the further an individual wanders from the Lord, the more hollow and empty he will find his days.
In short, good, Christian discernment means putting yourself, your decisions, your life into God's hands.
Discernment: that's what St. Paul was talking about when he wrote, "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).
Godly discernment is what Solomon was praying for when He asked God for the wisdom to discern between good and evil when ruling over the Lord's people. He knew that without God's guidance He would never have the wisdom to govern and make decisions in a God-pleasing manner.
Now there are all kinds of people you can go to for help, assistance, guidance and advice.
You can go to your friends; you can consult the experts, go to the gurus, and test all the theories. If you go that route, you will soon find you are dealing with all kinds of human opinions ... opinions which are often contradictory and at cross-purposes.
This is why the Bible says if you really want to discern what is best, go to the Lord and ask Him for guidance.
You see, He who gave His Son as the ultimate Ransom for your redemption has a vested interest in us.
With Spirit-given faith, He calls us out of the world and creates a new heart within us. That heart is one which knows that no matter what happens to us, no matter what negative situation or counter-productive circumstance might arise, we can have the peace of God, which the world cannot receive or understand.
With Sprit-given faith we will, like Paul and Solomon let the Lord set our path. And if that happens, we will have discerned what is best.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, give a new and deeper meaning to our prayer, "Thy will be done." May we discern Your will, not ours, is best. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries