Here are a few lines from Kenny Roger’s song The Gambler.
You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em; Know when to fold ‘em, Know when to walk away; And know when to run. You never count your money when you’re sitting at the table. There’ll be time enough for countin, when the dealin’s done.
(Songwriters: Don Schlitz, The Gambler lyric © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC )
What spiritual lesson can we possibly learn from a song on gambling? How about a lesson on discernment. Now, I know that gambling itself is not a very wise thing to do and I am not condoning it. But, this idea of knowing when to hold’em and knowing when to fold’em takes discernment.
Discernment is the ability to judge well. As followers of Jesus, that’s what we want to do. We want to make decisions that glorify God and we know that’s not always easy. Good discernment is often challenged by peer pressure and our own selfish desires. How can we stay on track and do the right thing. Here are a few ways to practice discernment:
Ask God for wisdom and trust that He gives it to you.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you (James 1:5).
The asking is not the difficult part, trusting is. When we ask God for wisdom, we should then be able to make decisions with confidence. We might ask, well, how do we know if it really is from God? Remember God is not going to ask us to do anything that goes against His character.
Know the difference between good and evil.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
We need to let God transform the way we think. We renew our minds by feeding on the truth of Scripture and by turning our thoughts over to God. Godly minds make godly decisions.
Receive godly advice.
The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice (Proverbs 12:15).
It is healthy to invite others into the discerning process. We should seek out people who love God and want to see God’s will done in our lives. Often, others will confirm what God has already shown us, this is really neat to see.
There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t need to use discernment. We’ve already established that making the right decision is not always easy. I want to encourage you to not get in the practice of being indecisive. I can easily be that way and I know it can be paralyzing. Satan can use indecisiveness to stifle our spiritual growth and to make us ineffective for the kingdom of God. Let’s not let that happen, practice discernment and make bold decisions that glorify God.