Faith Habits: Learn to Discern
Pray for God’s Filter
Our faith is a deeply personal relationship with God. How we grow in faith by who, what, where and why we invest out time and energy in is vital. There is SO much information at our fingertips now…how do we discern what is sound theology and what is worldly clutter?
Here is a short list of what to consider when you choose faith feeding inputs: books, groups, friends, churches, conferences, etc. Another thing to consider is date of publication of books/programs, etc. This can give you a cultural context of what was going on in our world at the time of the writing. A book with sound theology will stand the test of time.
Faith Habits for Discernment:
1) Know the Context when you are choosing to invest yourself in anything. For example… for books find out or discern the author’s spiritual belief if possible. We aren’t saying don’t read something if it’s not a Christian author, just be sure to know where they are coming from, especially if you are new to your faith.
This even applies to reading biblical verse. For perspective, even satan knew and quoted bible verse to Jesus in the desert when he was tempting Him. OF course the devil was using it out of context and for his own purpose to tempt Jesus. But Jesus was able to quickly recant with verse accurately supporting His faith.
Know the context of the verses so that you can quickly discern if someone is “using” the Bible to support their own agenda vs Gods.
2) Lead Your Heart. Our world is quick to say, “Follow Your Heart!” Your heart and its emotions are fickle and self-serving. They can lead you down into some dangerous rabbit holes. However, leading your heart with Godly wisdom is a powerful combination for passion and God’s wisdom to come together and distill actions and behaviors. Best way to gain this is a daily Bible devotion with a Godly guide (see resources below for some devotionals)
3) Have a Sound and Seasoned Faith Mentor. Ask God to put you in your path a faith mentor (of your own gender especially if you are married.) This is a person ideally who has been on their Godly journey longer than you and gone in deeper. You may have one over your lifetime or many depending on what God would have you experience on your journey. Having someone who can help you think out loud, discern direction and encourage you is priceless.
Faith Habits will be doing monthly interviews with strong mentors and leaders we know who will share their wisdom with you. Many of them already mentor/coach others and are speakers and authors so you can nourish your soul even if you don’t yet have a one on one mentor.
Be very prayerful and lean into mentors you respect when choosing to use “OPF’s” – Other People’s Filters. Why do you think we have so many denominations and non-denominations within Christianity? Well, people always seem to find areas to disagree on. When the original disciples went out to share the gospel, details splintered off and specific denominations and even other religions were spawned in some cases.
So what can you do? How can you discern? I went to a discipleship conference with fellow church leaders in Idaho at Real Life Ministries in Idaho this past summer. I loved what pastor Jim Putman said about disagreement in the church. “If it isn’t a salvation issue, we don’t argue about it.” Salvation issues are points that determine whether or not someone is saved…biblically speaking. (We don’t make the call whether or not someone is saved, God does.) Salvation issues are pretty clear in the bible. Confusion sets in when people put their own interpretations and/or emotions into it. Whether or not you serve coffee after service IS NOT a salvation issue. Whether or not someone understands what it means to accept Jesus as their savior IS a salvation issue. Make sense?
* Faith Habits Meetup.com Group – Vegas and Online events
* Community Opportunity Group – Feb 18th thru May
* Verve Church – Las Vegas
* Verve Catalyst – Daily Bible Reading plan
* YouVersion APP – ton of Bible based reading plans