My husband has been a youth baseball umpire for almost 25 years, and it is something that he loves to do in his spare time. He has invested time and study into umpiring to hone his skill plus has all the gear to be safe and look professional. Being an umpire requires concentration, focus, knowledge of the rules, patience, and good judgment. A good umpire wants to make the right calls and knows that making a wrong call at the home plate can affect the outcome of the game. But all umpires make mistakes because judgment is relative and ten people can see a play and judge it ten different ways. Sometimes coaches and parents aren’t happy with a call the umpire makes–especially if it is their child who strikes out or is called out on the plate.

I was thinking about umpiring as I studied wisdom and discernment this week. To be wise in our confusing culture today, we need to learn wisdom from God’s Word and then make decisions using spiritual discernment. Proverbs 3:21 says, ” Do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion” (NIV).

Paul prayed in Philippians 1:9–11  for discernment for the believers: “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent . . .”  Clearly, discernment is something that we should all desire and it is necessary to help us to grow in our faith and keep us from being deceived. The gift of discernment helps us distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil, truth and lies. Society tells us that we gain wisdom by study, accumulation of knowledge, and application of common sense. These are good pursuits, but they won’t result in spiritual discernment.

Discernment is a gift we ask for and seek if we truly desire to live like Jesus. Hosea 14:9 says, “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.” We can’t follow the ways of the Lord without discernment.

We need discernment in order to understand Scripture.. Our human minds can’t understand it without the discernment that comes from the Holy Spirit. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Like a prepared umpire in full gear, we need to put on the whole armor of God as Ephesians 6 tells us, to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. There is so much in our world grappling for our attention. Because of this, discernment is more important than ever before to protect against false teaching and help us live holy lives. We can gain spiritual discernment by prayerfully asking God for it, studying Scripture, relinquishing control to the Holy Spirit, and learning to listen for his leading. Finally, don’t jump to conclusions or judgments, pray and wait for all the facts. (Prov. 18:13)

Deb Hill
Executive Assistant

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