By Brother Stephen Rankin

But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14).  In some ways, distinguishing good from evil is a relatively straightforward matter, if the good is obvious or the evil is obvious. Very few people fail to recognize murder as an evil. If we’re talking fairly obvious cases, discernment is not hard. In fact, a person probably doesn’t need to discern at all. It all seems clear.

But consider this saying: “The good is the enemy of the best.” I think this problem is something we Christians face often. To discern how the good becomes an enemy of the best requires wisdom and the only way we gain wisdom is to spend time with Wisdom himself. In study and prayer, we can ask our Master Teacher to help us.

That verse from Hebrews is in a paragraph dealing with the call for Christians to grow to maturity – as it says in Ephesians 4:15, “to grow to the measure of the full stature of Christ.” Hebrews 6:1 says, “Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teachings about Christ, and not laying again the foundation…” The writer does not mean that we are to leave basic teachings of Christ behind, as if to “move on” from them. They remain in place and applicable. But he does mean that we are to grow into mature believers who reflect the character of Christ.

One reason more Christians are not growing to maturity has to do with this lack of discerning the good as an enemy of the best. Again, it takes practice. It takes prayer. We learn to discern by practicing discernment. If this is an area of growth for you, start by asking, “Of all the activities that demand my time, is there any, though it is good, that actually hinders my growth to maturity?” Ask prayerfully. If the Spirit speaks and shows you some activity that in fact does compete with your growing into the fullness of Christ, then God grant you the courage to let it go.

May the practice of discernment bear in you good fruit.