Discerning :: By Bill Wilson

A lot is written about fake news these days. Fake news has been around for a long time. It is one of those sensational headlines that entices you to read the story, but in reality—the story is not really a story. The National Enquirer has had a reputation for such sensationalism; perhaps a headline about a celebrity having another celebrity’s baby. But when you read the story you discover that the celebrity gave a dog that is having puppies to the other celebrity. That was fake news before the politicians got a hold of it, and took it to a whole different level.

Then there always has been propaganda; some news with a political bent to move people’s thinking. It’s all about weaving in enough truth to make a better lie. How do we discern? First, boil it down to the very pith of the issue. The apostle John gave some great advice on this very issue. He wrote this in 1 John 4:1-3:

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

Ask yourself this question: “Is this of God or not?” Once you have that figured out, determine if it aligns with the Word of God.

Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Think about that. The Word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. How does the intent of a story weigh against the word of God? What is the story trying to get across? Who or what is the story advocating? But before you can use the Word of God as a tool to discern, you need to know the Word of God—not what somebody says is the Word of God, but what you have personally found is the Word of God. This means that you need to study and know it.

The third test is really one of the spirit. Your relationship with Jesus Christ will help you discern the truth. The deeper your relationship, the better your truth detector will be. Jesus said in John 8:31-32:

“If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

If you can learn to break down every news headline and story by determining the spirit of it, discerning its intent, and finding the truth from a spiritual perception, you can discern what is fake news and what isn’t. But with this is the responsibility to know God, know the Word of God, and to know Jesus Christ in spirit and truth-not mankind’s doctrines or the Word out of context. Like anything, practice makes perfect.

Have a blessed and powerful day!

Bill Wilson