Celebrate the New Year by Cultivating the Discipline of Spiritual Discernment

“Discipline” and “discernment.” These two concepts, so characteristic of historic Christianity, have become neglected and even despised within many sectors of modern evangelicalism. As soon as someone begins to speak on “discipline” the charge of “legalism” immediately follows. Mentioning “discernment” (with concrete examples) will often get one labeled as “divisive.” Yet by God’s grace many have realized that if we are to love our Savior as we ought- if we are to consistently obey His commandments- we must cultivate the practice of engaging in the spiritual disciplines: disciplines such as reading and hearing the Scripture, private and corporate prayer, worshiping God in song, the giving of our resources to help others, etc. When thinking about how we should engage in these spiritual disciplines and how these disciplines shape our daily lives another discipline comes into play- the discipline of spiritual discernment.

Spiritual discernment is a consistent underlying theme of this blog and it is a topic about which many of our readers care deeply. What this blog (and many other resources) have not done is to carefully instruct readers in how to cultivate the discipline of spiritual discernment for themselves. As many readers may also know, a book has just become available by Tim Challies titled The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment. This book looks to be an excellent resource to help readers develop “the skill of understanding and applying God’s Word with the purpose of separating truth from error and right from wrong.”

The official description of this book is as follows:

Spiritual discernment is good for more than just making monumental decisions according to God’s will. It is an essential, day-to-day activity that allows thoughtful Christians to separate the truth of God from error and to distinguish right from wrong in all kinds of settings and situations. It is also a skill—something that any person can develop and improve, especially with the guidance in this book.

Written by a leading evangelical blogger, The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment is an uplifting, scripturally grounded work that explains the need for discernment, its challenges, and the steps that will cultivate it. Author Tim Challies does not do the discerning for readers; he simply shows them how to practically apply scriptural tools, principles, and wisdom so that their conclusions about everything—people, teachings, decisions, media, and organizations—will be consistent with God’s Word.

I am planning to make time to read this book in this new year, and I encourage you to consider doing so as well.

The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment is available from Monergism Books HERE.

Update: Interesting conversations concerning this book have recently taken place on both Justin Taylor’s blog and Tim Challies’ blog. My comment: To suggest that there’s anything Dr. Albert Mohler hasn’t read is to walk on very thin ice.

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2 Comments on “Celebrate the New Year by Cultivating the Discipline of Spiritual Discernment”

  1. Darrin Says:

    ‘As soon as someone begins to speak on “discipline” the charge of “legalism” immediately follows.’ – Agreed.
    I’ve heard it said that what is now called “legalism” used to be simply known as “obedience”. I think this is a valuable statement.
    This comes from someone who is still lacking (but growing) in discipline, and of course I realize that real legalism is a problem. However, we do tend to have trouble combining sola gratia with our utmost diligence in the means: We need to avoid both self-righteousness and carelessness.

  2. Pat McGee Says:

    I can think of few things more necessary than spititual discernment…especially in these times.

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