In his book The Gospel According to Starbucks, Leonard Sweet tells the story of Ed Faubert. Faubert is what you call a "cupper"—in layman's terms, he's a coffee-taster. And his perspicacious taste buds are actually certified by the state of New York!
Just as 'coffee discernment' is a vital skill set to the coffee industry; spiritual discernment is crucial to living life this side of the Garden of Eden. The two main Greek words translated "discernment" are anakrino (an-ak-ree'-no), meaning to examine or judge closely; and diakrino (dee-ak-ree'-no), to separate, to investigate, to examine. The simplest definition for discernment is the ability to decide between truth and error, between right and wrong. It involves making careful distinctions between shades of gray. Someone defined discernment as, "...thinking God's thoughts after Him." Christian discernment therefore is seeing things as God sees them.
Mr. Faubert wasn't born a "cupper", he took steps to develop his skill.
Prioritize - Mr. Faubert would have had to make growing this skill a priority and as such, dedicate time to it.
Study - He would have had to effectively immerse himself in coffee! Mr. Faubert would have had to learn about coffee and spend time with people who grow and process coffee in order to study the differences.
Act - He would have actually had to carefully taste (probably millions of cups of) coffee in order to allow his pallet to learn the nature of the differences between coffees.
These are the same steps necessary to grow in spiritual discernment.
Prioritize - Nothing happens unless we make it a priority. We must decide that spiritual growth is a priority in our lives. Set aside time for studying God's Word and for being with others who do so as well.
Study - Use the time we have set aside. Immerse yourself in God's Word. Study it and meet with others who are studying His Word and ways as well.
Act - Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you take steps to live out His will and love those that God has put in your world. Put what you learn into action. Growth doesn't happen in a bubble.
Spiritual discernment is crucial because every day we are presented with choices and evil doesn't usually present itself as evil. As such, we can't make these choices in a vacuum. Let's decide today to prioritize our spiritual growth!
Teach me good judgment and discernment, for I rely on Your commands.
~ Psalm 119:66
Choosing to grow together...