Random Strangers

Hebrews 5:11-14
Those who are mature. . . recognize the
difference between right and wrong (v.14).

I recently read an article about a site where Web
chatters are exposed to random strangers from
around the world. As the article states, “One minute
you’re chatting via Webcam with a mom of two [in the
US] and the next you’re staring at a stark-naked man in
Bangkok.” One psychiatrist calls the site “a predator’s
paradise.” Definitely not a destination for the discerning!

The writer of Hebrews provides us with a helpful wakeup
call to make sure we’re growing in discernment. He
wrote to his readers, “There is much more we would like
to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially
since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen”
(Hebrews 5:11). The words “spiritually dull” literally
mean dimwitted and negligent. (Words that definitely
apply to people using the Web site mentioned earlier!)
Back when Hebrews was written, the Christians in
house churches in Rome (to whom the letter was likely
addressed), were struggling to maintain their faith and to
live it out with conviction. Christians who show a lack of
discernment today often wrestle with the same two issues.
So how can you become more discerning?

• Do what you know. The believers in Rome had been
well fed spiritually, but they lived like spiritual babies
(v.12). They acted as if they didn’t “know how to do
what is right” (v.13). We become more discerning when
we actively live out the truths of God’s Word.
• Train your mind for action. We can better tell right from wrong as we train
our minds (v.14), and “prepare [them] for action” (1 Peter 1:13 NIV). This
includes continually growing in our knowledge of God’s Word and consciously
applying its wisdom to our choices.

It’s not discerning to do stuff like chatting online with random strangers.
Instead, let’s pursue discerning lives as we live out God’s truth. —Tom Felten

Read Philippians 1:9-10
to see the good things
that result from the
greater knowledge
and understanding that
God provides.

How have you lacked
discernment lately? What
will you do to grow more
discerning in Jesus?

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