The great need today among Christian people is spirit discernment. Please note: not the critical spirit that hunts heresies and picks flaws.
That only hurts the hunter and helps no one. Nagging criticism is like a sharp-edged knife that has no hilt. It cuts the hand that uses it, and cuts deep.
Discernment means the trained ear that listens attentively, and discerns the main thing being taught, under whatever rhetorical veneering.
It means the opened eye quick to see between the lines what is really there, maybe in hiding.
It means the humble spirit, willing to see its own faults and defects, only eager to be right. It means the loving spirit quick to give any help to any man.
The sore need today is for teaching, not argument and discussion, but teaching. Never was the need sorer. Argument only hardens. Each side is more set. And the crowd cheers or jeers, according to their preconceived preferences.
Teaching, the clear, positive, patient teaching of God's truth, put into the sort of language men think in, with homely illustrations out of real life, this is sorely needed.
One should set himself to cultivate an accurate discernment or appraisal of all that meets his eye and ear. He should do it for self-protection, and for true culture, and to help others.
There's a School of Discernment. One may well take time for a special course. The requirements for entrance are few and simple. They are five in number, an act, a habit, a book, a bit of time, and a spirit.
The act? surrender to Christ as the Master. The habit? doing habitually what would please Him in everything. And when in doubt, don't.
The Book? this rare, singularly, solitary Book of God. The time? the daily bit of quiet time off alone with the Book, with the mind alert, and the spirit open.
The spirit? the spirit of prayer for understanding, discernment, seeing things as they are. And with this goes the thoughtful, brooding spirit.
And with all of these goes the willing spirit, willingness to accept facts and conclusions that you don't like, that run crosswise to your preconceptions and preferences and habits.
If we will only start in this school, and attend faithfully it will be of the rarest value in the coming days, the coming difficult days.
The outcome will be mental and spirit discernment, a keen, a growing discernment. And with it will go the brotherly spirit that will help any one in personal need no matter how he differs with you, or criticises you.
He that is willing to do Christ's will for him, regardless of how it may change some personal things, will have in increasing degree that keen, clear knowledge of truth, of the Book's teaching, of Christ Himself who embodies all truth in Himself. (Joh_7:17)
The clear vision, the discriminating ear, the balanced understanding of things that differ, the obedient spirit, the heart of love in all one's personal contacts, these are some results of attendance at the Discernment School.
But whether in school or out, the outstanding thing just now is this. There's healing for our bodies through the solitary God-Man who died as none other did nor could nor can, and lived again, and still lives.
And through this Man's blood there's deliverance from any bondage that has come, full, sweet, glad, free deliverance.