Chan Gin Kai
He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? (Luke 12:54-56)
As Jesus preached, he brought up the people’s ability to discern the weather. This is useful knowledge for anyone who doesn’t want to be caught out in inclement weather, and especially so for farmers who raise crops or livestock, and fishermen too. Jesus used this example to rebuke the people’s ability to discern comparatively less important things but not what’s crucial — where we stand before God.
Worldly discernment is important, and I wish all of us have more of it. Read the weather wrongly and we’ll get drenched by the rain. Behave the wrong way with the wrong crowd and we’ll find ourselves frowned upon. Make the wrong choice of school, career or life partner, and we will face terrible consequences.
There are many practical benefits to worldly knowledge and wisdom. But far more important than that is godly discernment. Do we know the Bible as well as we know our textbooks? Can we tell right from wrong as well as we can tell where to get the best food? Are we as aware of where we stand before God, as we are about our personality and psychological make up?
From how to change a car tyre to how to make a nuclear bomb, there’s a Dummy’s Guide and YouTube tutorial for almost anything. As we seek to understand football, politics, climate change or quantum physics, let’s not forget to seek what’s most important — understanding God.
Discover the most beautiful love story in the Bible. Find the meaning of life through God’s Word. Learn about yourself through meditation. Draw close to God through prayer. Develop abhorrence for sin through confession. Strengthen your will through fellowship.
There is so much we can do to develop godly discernment, and so much we can gain on the journey.
“Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” (Luke 12:57-59)
Jesus asked his listeners what they would do if any of them has done something wrong and is about to be dragged off to court. A smart person would try all means to reconcile with the person he has offended so that he can escape punishment. In the face of imprisonment and fine, pride does not matter anymore. He would eat humble pie and beg for forgiveness. He would try to make amends, and promise that he’ll change.
Now what will a discerning person do if the stakes are even higher? The one we’ve offended against is not a fellow human being, but the Almighty God. The punishment is not imprisonment, but eternal condemnation. Wouldn’t we all do much more?
We have all sinned against God, but we are not all humble towards Him. It baffles me why so many dare to be proud towards the omniscient and omnipotent One. It confounds me why I am among those who are guilty of this.
Why am I still proud towards God when life has shown me time and time again my many weaknesses? Why haven’t I learnt to trust in God’s plans after the many failures in mine?
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (Romans 12:3)
We need to learn to have sober judgement of ourselves. No matter how educated we are and how many accomplishments we have achieved in life, we are nothing before God.
Let’s approach God with humility and contriteness for our sins. Let’s ask for His forgiveness and thank Him for His grace. And let’s change our lives. We can never make up for all the wrongs we’ve committed, but our gratitude is best reflected in our actions.
There is some value in worldly wisdom, but godly discernment brings us far greater rewards. Do you pursue it?
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. He serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry of the Central Christian Church. He describes himself as “just a sinner who wants to get right with God”.