Would you consider yourself to be a student of the Bible? As Christians, it’s not optional, it’s necessary! Listen and discover where true discernment and wisdom is found as we wrap up our study on biblical discernment at MomStrong International.
Transcribed version of the podcast is below
Resources Mentioned in Podcast
Scriptures Mentioned in Podcast
- 2 Timothy 1:13-14
- 1 Peter 2:2
- Hebrews 5:13-14
- Psalm 40:8
- Romans 10:17
Join us at MomStrong International for our newest Bible Study and Scripture Writing!
Good morning everybody, this is Heidi St. John – welcome to the podcast! Today is Wednesday, April 24th and this is episode #757.
We’re going to wrap up our discussion about biblical discernment. This is an important topic and every Christian needs to understand what it means to discern the truth from a lie. And if you’re struggling to do that, or even if you’re not, and you just need a little more encouragement—stick around, I think you’re going to be encouraged!
So thanks everybody for tuning in today. I am so excited that you have joined us. Tomorrow my husband and I are gonna get on a flight to Syracuse and drive over into Ottawa, Canada for the RVHEA Convention. We are so excited to be there this weekend, and I hope that you guys will come out.
We’ve been praying about that—that the Lord would really help us to reach His people and encourage them with good teaching which is what Paul instructed Timothy to do, and so that’s what we’re going to be working on this weekend in Ottawa. So come on out for the RVHEA convention—I will be there with my husband to encourage you to walk with the Lord. We’re going to be talking about homeschooling, marriage, you name it—come on out give me a hug! I would love to meet you and hear what God’s doing in your life.
Also, I want to say thank you to our sponsor Evangelical Christian Credit Union. I’ve been checking into these guys since I first heard about them and the more I learn, the more excited I am getting—because I don’t know if you guys have been doing background checks on where you’re banking now—but ECCU can stand up to your background check. It’s a credit union that’s been grounded in Christian tradition and they are supporting homeschool families, global missions, pastors, churches, and Christian families by offering resources that can help teach children to use money respectfully and wisely.
What I do is encourage you to check out their Start Young program. If you’re interested in teaching your children how to prepare themselves for adulthood—and I hope that you are— you are going to be interested in this program and I think you’re really going to like it. And in fact, what you can do if you’re interested, is you can actually bank with your children. You can bank with your kids, you can grow with your kids— you can open an account for your kids with no overdraft or monthly fees.
So when you’ve got tweens, you bank together. And when you’ve got teens they bank on their own but you can monitor it. And so, this is an incredible benefit for you because you can monitor everything that they’re doing with spending limits and alerts— this will help them build trust and reinforce godly values about money.
The other thing I love about them is you don’t need to worry about running to a bank or an A.T.M. for cash because you can transfer money conveniently for work that they’re doing—like what we’re doing with our kids out on the road. You can do it from your phone and you can also set up recurring transfers to add money to their account instantly. So it’s a wonderful way for you to help your children learn to manage money. Check them out at ECCU.org/Heidi. Let me know what you guys think!
Also, I want to just encourage you, we’re finishing up right now our study on discernment. You guys know how passionate I am about this. The Bible teaches us that we need to be able to discern right from wrong—and so often in the culture, right now, we’re struggling with this concept the Bible teaches us. And 2 Timothy 1:13-14 to “retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard..”. So now we heard retain and now Paul is saying to Timothy “Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you”.
This is week four of the study on discernment. We’re going to talk about learning what it means to be discerning. We started with discern, divide, last week was reason, and this week the focus is on actually learning. And so, we’ve been talking all month about discernment. Discernment is the ability to judge well, to exercise skillful judgment, and distinguish between two or more things.
So, a simple example would be the ability to discern blossom buds from leafing buds on the plants in your yard, right? Or to discern a true plant from a weed. Now, here in my neck of the woods in the Pacific Northwest, that’s not that hard to do. And we want to be able to discern them because practical discernment is a useful skill if you’re running a weed whacker where your husband’s planted a clematis vine that isn’t in bloom yet—but it looks suspiciously like those tall weeds that you saw out the back forty. Right?
So academically, Webster said, that discernment is the power or faculty of the mind by which it distinguishes one thing from another. So as truth from falsehood, virtue from vice, etc. etc., exercise and skillful judgment. Something that really frustrates me, that I see happening over and over in the church right now, and in the culture—is this idea that we’re not supposed to judge, right?
Whenever I get on Facebook and I make a statement—whether it’s about so-called gay marriage or whether it’s about anything it can be any controversial topic. And immediately Christians who don’t know the Word of God will start yelling and screaming saying—you know what? He who is without sin cast the first stone. Judge not lest you be judged. That shows me right away that the people who are speaking of these arguments don’t actually know what Jesus was talking about because they haven’t actually studied it in context—and we have to be able to do that.
This isn’t about judging. No one can judge the heart of man—but it’s using wise judgment. You guys see the difference? And wisdom is absolutely necessary in our acquisition of discernment. So even in a non-biblical matter, it’s very important that we are able to discern right from wrong—so we’re able to make a wise judgment, to be able to make a right call—if you will. Right? And so/ we are going to wrestle with our flesh our whole lives.
So what we don’t want, is worldly wisdom. What we don’t want, is fleshly wisdom. And when someone studies or acquires botanical wisdom, for example, it can be discerned that the two foot green plant in the weeds is a clematis vine, and then we can go “Oh, I know what that is!” And then we can act on that discernment.
Discernment grows from experience. I’m going to say that again— you should write that down. Discernment grows, it comes from experience, and from training, from studying, and observation. Remember we said at the beginning of this study on discernment—Spurgeon said, discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It’s knowing the difference between right and almost right.
So when your spouse brings the bucket home and shows off his two foot plant, and digs the hole, and ties it to the fence for support. Then brags about the goodness to come—observation is going to tell you: “oh that’s not a weed.”
So when you trim, and you’re focused on the ground, you only see the tall grass and the fence edge. But if you raise your eyes a bit then you see ties to the fence and indicators at this base that you’re getting ready to take your weed whacker to—is being cared for. And so then, when you see the stricken face of your spouse in a couple hours and you realize, oh my goodness I forgot to raise my eyes, there might have been a lapse in your judgment.
And the same experience of training, through studying, is required with the Word of God. So as young believers we read in 1 Peter 2:2 we long for the pure milk of the Word like a little baby who squirms and fusses—latching greedily onto her mother’s breast for nourishment. Milk trickles down a soft cheek and guzzling ensues—you guys know what that’s like, right? Nursing a baby? Feet kick with pleasure and satisfaction. That’s what the Heavenly Father desires for us to experience when we interact with His Word.
So as mature believers, we understand that time in the Word of God is absolutely critical for being sharpened—and the same delight is found with greater depth and richness. The Bible teaches us in Hebrews 5:13-14: “For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the Word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
Now I know that some of you who are listening to this have been walking with the Lord for a long time, but maybe, just maybe, you’ve forgotten how to grow.
A long time ago—my husband was a pastor at a church in northern Washington, and Skip Lane was the senior pastor the time. He would always say, Listen, God did not intend for you to sit and soak in sour, in church. He wants us to grow. We are called to grow, we are called to influence the culture around us. So maybe years ago you called yourself biblically literate, and now you’d say the same words—but they would ring false.
And so, I would encourage you if that’s you in the Lord right now—this is a great time for confession. The Lord already knows what’s going on in your life. He knows if you’re growing, or if you’re not growing. He knows you’re sitting and soaking in sour, right? So it’s a good idea to confess it to the Lord, and then rise up shake the cobwebs off of yourself and your soul, and your Bible—and recall David’s cry in Psalm 40:8. Let’s declare it for ourselves today. This is what he said: “I delight to do your will. Oh my God. Your law is within my heart.”
So this week, this last week of our study and discernment—and by the way if you haven’t checked it out, you can still become a member at MomStrong International, you can download the whole study. It’s a wonderful Word study. The Kid Strong section of this study is particularly poignant this time because we’re really trying to teach children how to be discerning from a very young age. And on this last week, of the four week study, we’re going to dive directly into what our enemy is intent on doing—and that’s deceiving an entire generation of believers.
So Monday, at mailbox Monday, I spent a little bit of time talking about how we’ve been deceived into thinking because we hear this in the culture all the time that if God is good—then He wouldn’t allow death and suffering. And we answered that question based on God’s Word, and we want to do the same thing today—because I think we’ve grown soft in our knowledge of God’s Word.
And what happens is, like an exposed spot—you remember the Lord of the Rings? Remember the dragon smog? And he wouldn’t have been able to be defeated, except for, it was discovered by a little hobbit that he had a soft spot.
And I think we’ve grown soft in our knowledge of the Word, and what happens in that instance is we’re exposed it leaves us vulnerable—it leaves us vulnerable to false teachers who are infiltrating our churches in droves right now, and particularly where women are concerned. I feel like I see more and more false teachers who are masquerading around as Christians, and really, they’re just social justice warriors and they’ve sacrificed truth on the altar of mercy.
And God hasn’t told us not to love—but we’re not to remove love from truth, because when we do that we’re not actually loving at all. And the only way to guard against false teachers is to know and study the Word of God in the same way that fraud experts learn to detect forgeries—and that’s by virtue of an intimate knowledge of the real thing. I want you to know the real thing.
And the real thing is the Lord Jesus, and the real thing is the Word of God. Albert Mohler said this about Biblical literacy, he said: “We will not believe more than we know.
We will not believe more than we know, and we will not live higher than our beliefs. The many fronts of Christian compromise in this generation can be directly traced to Biblical literacy in the pews, and the absence of preaching and teaching in our homes in churches.”
He’s right. And some would advocate, some would tell us, that we can call ourselves believers but then don’t feel the pressure of overburdening our consciences by thinking too strenuously in applying a biblical framework for moral matters.
Men and women, this is not overburdening our conscience. It’s applying biblical knowledge to modern day situations in obedience to what God has instructed us to do. I believe this with all my heart, and soul, and mind. If I didn’t believe it we wouldn’t be spending all this time at the podcast—we certainly wouldn’t be traveling around the country, would we wouldn’t have been instructing our children through homeschooling. Because I don’t want my children to be biblically illiterate. I don’t want to be biblically illiterate. I want my children to know the Word of God. My grandmother used to say, when I was young, she would say “Heidi, ink your Bible up.” She’s the reason that I write in my Bible. She’s the reason that there are so many notes in my margins that I put dates of times when the Lord has really spoken to me. Sometimes the pages of my Bible are tear stained.
There are some passages in the Word of God that I labor over. and pray over. And my grandmother she was ahead of this whole Bible journaling craze, right? In fact link to a couple of Bible journals—I love them. But, she was wise beyond her years —because look what God does with that inking, moms—He raises warriors who are sharpening and shooting arrows for such a time as this.
And so, biblical literacy is something we can actually address. We want to be biblically literate. This is the ability to rightly read and understand the Bible, and the very first nugget of this shows itself in our salvation. Did you guys know that? It’s true! Biblical literacy is essential for true saving faith—and so we’ve got to know what God says in His Word in order to be able to see our own sin and acknowledge Him for salvation, right?
The Bible teaches us in Romans 10:17, faith comes from hearing. That is hearing the good news about Jesus, right? And so we want to study this and learn why it’s so important for us to be biblically literate. Women, before you start studying anything else—before you learn a new technique in the kitchen, before you Marie Kondo your house, before you pick up the math book, or the social studies book—can I just encourage you? Don’t let your Bible sit on your shelf and gather dust.
So often I believe this is true. particular while raising children. were so focused on the small things. You know—what feels like the big things at the time—right? I totally get it, because I’ve been there for many many years—cleaning the kitchen, making sure that their bedrooms are cleaned, make it to the laundry get started, starting on the homeschooling—there are so many things do that feel more pressing and more important than studying the Word of God.
But just like Satan deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden, he deceives us. And we buy it. We’re like—oh it’s not a big deal I don’t really need to do that today.
You guys, can you remember the moment that the Holy Spirit got a hold of your heart and you realized—oh my goodness, Jesus died for me! I remember it! I remember exactly where I was. I remember that feeling in my in my soul that—oh my goodness He loves me, He died for me. And I was broken for my own sin and filled with a love for Him. And that knowledge, and that understanding of God’s Word. is what spurs us on to accept forgiveness and rightly respond with a YES to God’s invitation of salvation.
And it starts with knowing the Word. That’s why we talked about death and suffering on Monday. That’s why I took you back to the Word of God when people say—”why is there death and suffering? Surely God’s not good.”
It has nothing to do with the goodness of God, it has everything to do with our disobedience and rebellion toward God. The Bible teaches us in Romans that just as sin entered the world through one man, it has reached all of us. How do we know that? Through the study of the Word of God—and knowing the Word is necessary if we want to grow in our understanding of God’s character.
Teach your children to be able to give an answer for the things that they’re struggling with right now. God’s Word is relevant to where you are right now. And so, in this final week, when we’re studying discernment—we’re going to press into the reality that discernment leans heavily on biblical literacy. In other words, if you want to develop discernment—you’ve got to know the Word of God. And a person can be biblically literate and not be discerning, or wise—but a person can not be biblically discerning or wise without having an intimate deep knowledge of the Word of God.
This is important women, this is important men—I want you to grasp this thing and hold onto it with both hands. Because the world is doing everything it can right now to tell you that it’s not important, that it doesn’t matter—and it absolutely does matter.
I hope you guys will take some time today, get into the Word of God with me. Check out the Scripture Writing Challenge. We are getting ready to start another study, which you guys are going to love.
We’re very excited about it! we’re studying the tongue and the Bible teaches us that the power of life and death rests on the tongue. And how many of us say things that we are just like—oh my word I can not believe that just came out of my mouth. Right? I used to say—Lord help me today keep one hand around my shoulder and the other hand over my mouth. And if that’s you, you’re going to love this study. We’re going to encourage you, we’re going to, I think—just encourage you in how to train your children in how to engage the world—because really we’re ambassadors for the Lord. And just like we want to know what God says about discernment, we want to know—What do you say, Father, about how I’m supposed to speak and what I’m supposed to say?
So I want this to encourage you—check it out if you’re not a member at MomStrong International, you can sign up right now! Get ready, because the new Scripture Writing Challenge is going to come out.
This is how it works over here at MomStrong International—the Scripture Writing Challenge will come out on the 1st of the month, so on May 1st you will see a brand new Scripture Writing Challenge come up for you—so a week from today. And then the following Monday, we always start the studies on Monday—so the study on The Tongue, will start on Monday May 6th. But the Scripture Writing Challenge, which is free, starts on Wednesday, May 1st start on May Day.
So check it out, I know you guys are gonna be excited to see what we’re gonna be studying and I know you’re gonna be encouraged. One more time, I just want to encourage you—if you’ve not signed up, now is a great time to do that.
Also, I want to encourage you — if you haven’t checked out Evangelical Christian Credit Union, yet check out their Start Young program. It’s amazing! We are excited to be doing that with our own children and just to really encourage them. You can also enter into family banking, and I don’t know if you guys know this—but they have an awesome program called Family Banking at ECCU. Parents who open an account with them, can immediately transfer money from their account to their child’s account—to their start young account. So you don’t have to wait hours or days to transfer your money from another bank to ECCU. So, I wanted to encourage you—check it out. You can reach your savings goals faster, and for a limited time you get 2.75% JPY on a 12 month certificate of deposit. So they’ve got an awesome thing going on over there. And remember when you bank with ECCU, you’re helping to support missions and churches—and helping them to spread the Word of God worldwide, which is what we are all about here at the Heidi St. John podcast.
Thanks for listening everybody. Thank you so much for leaving reviews for the podcast and for visiting our sponsors—it encourages us very much and we are praying for you as you grow in right relationship with the Lord. I’ve got a wonderful guest coming with me on Friday and it’s a surprise you’re not going to want to miss it! So I’ll see you back here on Friday!
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