Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rotten at the Core - The need for discernment part I

1 Peter 5:8 - Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 

One of the most important gifts I think we could utilize during this day and age is the gift of discernment of spirits. This gift allows a person to know the spirit or motivating factor behind a person or thing that might otherwise appear harmless. There are several factors that can hinder people from operating in this gift. Among these are pride/false humility, the desire to be a peacemaker and be politically correct, and fear of knowing the truth and wanting to remain in the dark.

It is hard to operate in discernment without a certain level of humility. Pride can often get in the way and make us think we are being judgmental. In an attempt to appear holy, those discerning thoughts will get buried. 

Another thing that can get in the way of properly discerning the truth about something is a desire to be liked and respected by people. This can cause people to try and be politically correct and to be peacemakers. This expounds a lot of energy and can only be kept up with for so long. It is a noble desire to want to keep and strive for peace, however often the peace that we seek is a superficial peace. This can be deceptive. Things can appear or even feel peaceful on the surface but anger and hatred can be brewing underneath. Also we can not always trust the feeling of peace. The feeling of peace can be counterfeited by the enemy (ex. just because something feels right doesn't mean it is). True peace can only be found in Jesus. Peace born out of the Spirit of God surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and can be acquired even in the midst of a storm. Also Jesus said he did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matt: 10:34). It isn't that Jesus doesn't want there to be peace, but instead he is more interested in exposing the truth of what is already there.

Lastly, a fear of knowing the truth can hinder our ability to discern. If we open ourselves up to discernment, we risk the world as we know it, to be shaken. It is more comfortable and pleasant to think everything is "peachy" and right with the world. Discerning something different can mess with our worldview. One thing I learned by studying Psychology in college is when presented with the option, most people will choose to conform to the majority. It is a lot easier and more comfortable to conform than to go against the flow of society. When we choose to go against the flow, we risk being misunderstood and seeming like a fanatic. Most people, when faced with controversy would rather roll over and conform rather than risk conflict. Also, if we discern and acknowledge the truth about something then we need to act and be willing to pick up that cross. It truly takes fortitude to go against the flow.

 It should not come as a surprise that children are the biggest targets of the enemy. After all, even Hitler said, "He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future." We especially need to be discerning with anything that involves children. We can not afford to stick our head in the sand. Children are often naive and easily influenced. It is up to us to protect them. If the devil can plant seeds in them while they are young, then it is easy to get them to walk the wrong path when they are older. Many things that are geared toward children and seem innocent are not so innocent below the surface. There are often ulterior motives and agendas. It is often easy to discern that children should not watch movies with adult situations. It is not always as easy to discern that about shows geared toward children. I am probably going to sound paranoid when I say, many preschool shows have subliminal and underlying messages to them.

Another thing aimed at our children that may appear okay and harmless on the surface, but I believe is wicked at it's core is the Common Core nationalized standards which is being implemented by 45 of our 50 states. Basically this was slipped in under the radar and states were bribed to buy into it without even knowing what it entailed. Parents were not informed and ultimately had no say. Some things about it appear good on the surface like wanting to help children think critically but if you really look at the curriculum's that are aligning with Common Core, they slyly manipulate children to come up with the answer that fit's their agenda. The standards of Common Core ultimately create mediocrity and place children in a box as if one size fits all. There is no room for creativity. Also, they have done away with the reading of classical literature. Here is a dream I had that I believe sums up the problems with Common Core:

Obama came to town. He was visiting an elementary school. I was observing. The work was overloading and oppressive. It was also very manipulative. On the playground the whole field was divided into squares and separated by wooden walls. A kid was arguing with Obama that the walls were inhibiting his ability to play ball. Obama said he had the same amount of space to play in as before, just with walls. The boy then kicked a ball super high and far but because of all the walls he was not able to get it back.

In my next blog post I will get into discerning things that actually appear holy but are deceptive.