Ephesians 5:10

Think through what’s going to be pleasing to the Lord. Work it out.

Much of the Christian ethic is discernment.

I’ve always loved C.S. Lewis’s description of prudence:

Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it.

Think through what is going to be pleasing to the Lord in any given situation. Put it to the test.

What an amazingly effective little “governor” this can be. I remember driving a box truck long ago that had a “governor” on it which did not allow you to drive faster than 55 mph.

A lot of people passed me.

Thinking through what is going to be pleasing to the Lord can not only keep you from doing something harmful, careless, or stupid, but will also help in discerning what to do among the many good things you could do in a certain day or situation.

Whenever someone I know is going through difficulty, and I have a chance to do them good, I find it always best to pray “Lord, what do they most need right now?” or “What do they need to hear from You through me?” Then I respond in the Spirit more than in my own power.

And, of course, if we can train ourselves to ask God, “What is most pleasing to You?” in times of anger, upset, hurt, and frustration, it will be a game-changer.

God is light, and the better we get to know God, the more that light (which is in us) shines on the right path for His name’s sake, making discernment less and less of a mystery. If you sit down to paint a beautiful picture, you don’t do it in a dark room. You sit under the appropriate lighting.

Perhaps it would be good to simply try to start forming the habit of asking God “What is going to be most pleasing to You?” in every situation, and see what happens.

I should definitely pray this before yelling at my kids…

and before yelling at other people’s kids.

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