DISCRETION

29 04 2013

            When King David died and Solomon took over the throne of Israel in his father’s place, he humbly went to God in prayer.  God spoke and gave Solomon an unusual choice.  He said (I Kings 3:5), “I’ll give you anything you ask for.”  In other words, Solomon is given a black check, he could fill it out with whatever, and God would give it.  Solomon asked for an understanding heart and discernment in judgment (I Kings 3:11).  God was so pleased with this request, that He gave him also riches and honor.

            Now Solomon teaches his son, Rehoboam, by using wisdom packed statements called “Proverbs.”  He writes in Proverbs 2:10 that when wisdom enters and knowledge is pleasant, this is the formula for discretion.  Discretion will preserve (Proverbs 2:8), deliver from evil men (Proverbs 2:12), take your down the right path (Proverbs 2:13), keep your from the ways of darkness (Proverbs 2:13), help you from being enticed into sin (Proverbs 2:16), and it will keep you serving the Lord Proverbs 2:21).

            Webster defines it as “the liberty to act according to one’s judgment.”  This leaves a lot of room for people to air out their opinion and God knows, we have enough of that already!  My definition is, “the acting out of wisdom when a decision is to be made.”  In other words, if you seek to acquire wisdom, and acquire, and acquire, and acquire, and acquire . . .  Then you will make that decision with discretion.  It is not based on what I feel, or what is easy, or what is fun; it is based on acquired wisdom.  If a problem arises that demands more wisdom than I have acquired, then I go to one who has more wisdom.

 

REMARKS ABOUT DISCRETION

 1.      Learn when not to make decisions (Proverbs 2:10-11)

Decisions are to be based on accumulated knowledge and wisdom, or with discretion.  They are not to be made when feelings go unchecked, anger is dominant, frustration is choking us, or when depression has us handicapped.  Decisions are to be made when the heart and mind can clearly grasp wisdom.  Those decisions are to be followed when emotion or trauma clouds up our ability to grasp that wisdom.   

                          

2.   Base a decision on how it affects the future (Proverbs 23:17-18)

In the present, sinners are enviable and sin looks enticingly pleasurable.  “Surely there is an end,” the wise man writes.  Discretion looks at the long term effects and not just to “get by” in the present.  Discretion does not sacrifice the future on the alter of the immediate gain, or pleasure, or whatever.  Discretion knows there is an end to in.  

3.  Keep studying to find more answers  (Proverbs 15:28)                                                                                                    

The only hope to gain discretion is to realize that we do not have all the answers.  A mark of a fool is that they say the first thing that comes to their mind.  They have a comment or remark for everything!  A wise person never talks just to put in his two cents.  A wise person thinks before he speaks and makes sure he has an answer before giving advice.  This takes study!

4.     Learn that silence is sometimes your best decision (Proverbs 17:28)

Sometimes (God, help me practice it), there is a time to say nothing!  Abraham Lincoln is quoted, “Better for people to think you a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”  Sometimes the better part of discretion is silence.  Sometimes the best response to those who provoke you to anger is silence.  We don’t need to have an opinion about everything and for sure, we don’t need to give it!

5.      Do not go to a fool for advice (Proverbs 14:7)

If a person is not actively using discretion, do not go to them for advice!  People who choose the “Fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:29) would be a rich source to find wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).

 

            “Rehoboam.” Solomon said, “When wisdom enters your heart, discretion shall preserve thee.”  Discretion is the acting out of wisdom when a decision is to be made.

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