Growing in Discernment and Strength

Gary Wilkerson

You will never be satisfied or passionate for Jesus if you live with this kind of mixture: “I want to hear things from other voices. The voice of the world, the voice of the flesh, carnality, myself and then a little bit of the voice of God too.”

In the book of 1 Samuel, we see this willingness to live with mixture in the life of the priest Eli, so much so that his eyes had begun to grow dim (see 1 Samuel 2:22-36). He could not see what God was doing any longer.

Christ tells his disciples, “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed” (John 5:19-20, ESV, emphasis added). He had a vision of the Father’s work. Eli had lost that.

If we look at Eli’s life, we see prayerlessness first, then self-indulgence and an undiscerning heart.

The effects of this become evident in his interaction with Hannah earlier in 1 Samuel. “Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. And Eli said to her, ‘How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.’” (1 Samuel 1:13-14).

If you remember the story, Hannah couldnt bear a child, and she would come with her husband to worship the Lord, to hear the Word of the Lord and to be in the presence of the Lord. While all of that’s happening, Hannah would find a little place to get alone and pour out her heart to God and grieve in front of the Holy Spirit. This is a woman who lives and works outside of the church, but she makes great efforts to present herself to God. Eli, who is constantly ‘in the presence of God,’ sees this, doesn’t understand it and rebukes her because he has no discernment. God keep us from becoming believers like that, who can’t sense what God is doing anymore!

Discernment and strength in our faith comes from being in the presence of God, hearing a word from God. Being devout, being steadfast, being immoveable. It’s saying to God, “This is what your word says, and thats what were going to do. No compromise at all.” Let’s do that today!