Wednesday, January 16, 2008

DISCERNMENT: Know thyself!

"Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?"
Matthew 16:3b
Our church was blessed with a godly pianist; Avery Dacus was his name. He was one of our seniors, but you’d never know it.

Avery played almost everything from memory. We would name a hymn, he'd start playing as the second or third word left our lips. If he didn’t recognize it by name he'd say, “Gimme the number”; he'd say, “Oh!” and pow his fingers would start playing.

We even heard hymns from our denomination’s out-of-print hymnals. He'd say, “Do you know this one?”

He complained a lot, though. Not about having to play, but humbly, about his finger-work; “They’re not what they used to be, I can’t get them to do what I want them to do!” We are all dumb founded; his piano playing is some of the best southern gospel, ragtime, honky-tonk sounding church music we’ve heard. He just looked at us and said with tears in his eyes, “Well, it’s not!”

Why did Avery insist his finger-work wasn’t up to par, when the rest of us thought it was great? Because he knew his fingers and we didn’t. Years of playing and practicing with those hands let him know what they were capable of; he knew his own hands.

We should all be like Avery when it comes to our own hearts and minds. We should know them so well from years of use that we can tell in a moment if things aren’t right.

God gave us a mind to reason with, to "take every thought captive" (2 Corinthians 10:5). He gave us a heart which, with use, will be soft and supple, a heart which can discern spiritual things. And a spirit with which the heart and the mind can communicate with one another.

Oh, a heart that is used often and discriminately, in combination with a mind that is righteous and just, creates such a powerful conscience in man, once he has the whole armor of God on, and the Spirit gives assent, he is invincible.

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