A Call to Discernment

June 6, 2008

I’ve just finished reading Mark 11-13 and I’m pumped up. In Mark 13, Mark records what seems to be part of Jesus’ last sermon to his boys – telling them what to look for before the Great Judgment – the End of the Age. What is interesting is how many times Jesus is telling them to pay attention so that they will not be deceived.

Jesus warns his closest group – His “homeboys” – the apostles that many people will announce that they have found the Christ – but not to believe it – “So be on your guard” (vs. 23) and “Watch!” (37). Jesus has a clear teaching in this text that believers will not be deceived. In order to not be deceived, they need to hear what Jesus says “ahead of time” (23).

What I find particularly interesting is that Jesus finishes off the teaching time by saying that with Him leaving to go into Heaven, it is like a master putting his “servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.” As Jesus was making preparations to leave planet earth and return to home base – he was giving the proper depiction anybody could understand. The Boss is taking off – but keep working, He’ll be back!

Jesus also is clear – nobody knows when the Boss will be back – some time at night, midnight – early morning – or at dawn. But don’t be caught sleeping. Keep alert! WATCH!

This is what is amazing. While He is gone, we are to be about His business. When your boss leaves you at work, he/she expects you to carry on with your duties. Don’t be caught with your head on the desk snoozing. Get to work, carry on. Your boss is coming back and wants to see what you accomplished while they were out of the office.

That seems to be the first layer – keep busy.

The second lesson is that Jesus’ followers are to be keenly aware that there will be deception all over the place and they will need to be awake, ready for the attacks and knowledgeable enough to sort wheat from chaff, truth from error. This seems to be a skill, a spiritual ability that has lost ground in the Last Century and is completely out of fashion. While I don’t believe Jesus is saying that we become witch hunters and deception detectives that roam the corridors of Christianity looking for hobgoblins as our only activity, there is a call to be wise in the Scriptures and in our lives – being able to sniff out the rats and wolves among us and to kick them out of our midst.

This really hit home yesterday when I was shopping at a Christian bookstore near my house. For years I’ve shopped at this store, finding books that range from doctrinally pure, helpful and edifying to a complete waste of paper and ink and time to create the book. Yet for years this books store has happily sold any product that will bring in the almighty dollar. However, yesterday I finally saw a warning under a popular book. The warning stated that readers should read this book with discernment because some views held in the book run contrary to historical Christian beliefs. I found this shocking, because first – every Christian should be reading every piece of literature with a discerning eye. From Time magazine, to the L.A. Times, to Christianity Today, to commentaries, to Christian books, even movies, T.V. shows and radio pieces should be held captive to Scripture and run through the grid of God’s truth.

Altogether, I’m happy that there is a warning on this book; however, I wish that there were warning signs on not just that book, but also nearly every other book in that bookstore other than the Bible.

Dear Christian – keep watch – “Be on your guard!” Truth is at stake, your soul is at stake – the Devil prowls around seeking somebody to devour – it starts with how you think!


~ Drew



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