• Steve Hatter
Street signs

I believe I can safely say COVID-19 is saturating our lives with information. Saturation seems an apt descriptor because it means we’re enduring media in a manner described by one dictionary as “to a very full extent, especially beyond the point regarded as necessary or desirable.” Such is the nature of calamity. Everyone wants to talk about “the COVID crisis” and little else. My thought for today is this: How do we apply Christian discernment to the information deluge that has saturated us?

Consider, for a moment, the scope and scale of the media torrent. We could try to count the sheer number of information platforms—whether TV, radio, internet, Smartphone app, or other means. We could then perhaps break these platform categories down into national, state, local, and neighborhood levels. We could further divide the various community levels into government agency categories versus private sector entities versus education entities versus religious organizations, all while considering that each is pushing their distinct narratives at some level, or even all levels. We have professional, political, and personal perspectives, and we have all manner of quality and accuracy to think about as well.

Moreover, as the crisis drags on, we are seeing more and more perspectives forming that are in direct opposition to one another. Ideas about morality and ethics and truth are moving to the front burner as people face choices they never imagined. How dire is dire? Do I hoard as a hedge to protect my family? If medically attending a brother, do I agree to a “do not resuscitate” government order? What should I take? What should I give? The questions pile up, and we feel the pressure. We have decisions to make.

So, to whom are we to listen? What are we to do with what we see and hear? How are we to make the right decisions when everything seems to change day to day or even hour to hour? We need discernment!

John MacArthur argues that “in its simplest definition, discernment is nothing more than the ability to decide between truth and error, right and wrong. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth.” We then make choices resting on the truth we believe, and we trust those choices will bear fruit. But who, or what, is the ultimate source of truth?

The secular world claims that people in power own the privilege and authority to purvey truth, in whatever form these powerful ones discern truth to be. This arbitrariness is the essence of secular humanism—that the powerful decide the moral standard for those they rule over. An elite few rule, whether by virtue of breeding, beauty, education, wealth, artistic or athletic talent, or even brute intimidation, apart from any higher power. In short, might makes right. Truth becomes malleable as it was with ancient Israel in the time of the Judges. Judges 17:6 reminds:

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6).

Basic Bible knowledge exposes the utter folly of not just everyone doing what was right in their own eyes, but also the problem of having no king. Truth that is unassailable must rest on a foundation of legitimate authority, and the Bible teaches that only God—the true and living God—owns this authority. He is King. Man is but a usurper when he seeks to define truth versus error, right versus wrong.

A look at the God of the Bible’s limitless attributes versus man’s myriad limitations should obliterate any argument over the legitimacy of His authority. Give me the eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, righteous, loving, just, merciful, gracious One to be my King any day!

Moreover, our King promised to provide truth for daily living—real aid in our discernment—through His inspired Word and enlightenment made manifest by the indwelling of his Spirit in our hearts when we believe on the name of His Son, Jesus Christ.

He has not left us adrift in a confusing, threatening world. He has provided all we need to be discerning regarding every topic, situation, ethic, or issue. However, this provision must come by faith. We must believe. We must be saved by faith alone, in Christ alone. Our salvation enables the ability to think biblically, which, as one writer put it, is synonymous with discernment. We must believe and evangelize this notion, especially in perilous times.

If you struggle to trust that the Bible is inspired and, therefore, reliable, authoritative, inerrant, infallible, clear, and sufficient, let me offer a few verses for your consideration. The Bible claims to speaks to every topic, every situation, every ethic, every potential issue or question, and that you need not look anywhere else for wisdom.

2 Peter 1:3 promises,

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3).

2 Corinthians 3:4–6 encourages,

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).

2 Timothy 3:16–17 assures:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Ask yourself, do I believe this? If you do, you are discerning through a biblical truth grid, which competes well with anything man-centered more than you may know. Do not let the media or academic elites intimidate you! Armed with Biblical discernment, you can now go forth boldly and be about the Apostle Paul’s command: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

That is just lovely language—”what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Amen and Amen. We Christians have a lot we can say that will help our family, friends, and neighbors rightly discern. Believe and be bold, friends!