“Parenting With Discernment”

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Episode Summary

Without strong spiritual discernment your decisions may be costly in the long run.

Do you have good discernment? Equipping confident Christian children in today’s world requires really strong spiritual discernment to do it well. This episode will help you understand where you’re really at with this and gives practical insights into strengthening this area of your parenting.

Main Points From This Episode:

  • Discernment is the ability to accurately understand the people and situations around you beyond the obvious. The ability to see the deeper things happening and make wise decisions.
  • We can all grow in this area, but it’s also a Spiritual gift some people have. Even if you don’t have it you can become more discerning, but it’s important to know who does have the gift in your church so you can use them as a source of wisdom.
  • Make sure you get wisdom from those walking strong in the Spirit versus operating in the flesh. 
  • We are to make judgments about other believers and situations. Without judgment, you won’t make a decision. This is very different than being judgemental of others. Be careful that you don’t avoid sound judgment because you fear being judgmental. 
  • It’s important to parent in discernment in the following areas:
    • Doctrine
    • Indoctrination
    • Influences
    • Activities
    • Parenting Advice
    • Marriage advice
    • And really, everything else too.
  • Evaluate all the things you do and ask yourselves why you are doing them. What are the long-term benefits or consequences of this activity? Is this worth it over other things we could be doing? 
  • Be careful not to just do things because they were a part of your own childhood.

Scripture From This Episode:

Matthew 10:16 – “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

Philippians 1:9-10 –And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,  so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,”

Hebrews 4:12 –For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Hebrews 5:14 – “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

1 John 4:1 – “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

1 Corinthians 2:14 – “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

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Full Transcript:

Note: This is an automated transcript and misspells or grammar errors may be present.

Welcome to Courageous Parenting Podcast, a weekly show to equip parents with biblical truth on raising confident Christian kids in an uncertain world.

Hi, I’m Angie from Courageous Mom.

And I’m Isaac from Resolute Man.

We’ve been married for 21 years and have seen the fruit from raising our eight kids biblically. Based on the raw truth found in the Bible.

We can no longer let the culture win the hearts of children. Too many children from Christian families are walking away from their faith by age 18. And it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. Join us as we start an important conversation about effective parenting and the following. Hey, everyone, welcome to the podcast.

Hey, guys.

So glad you’re here. Today. We’re talking about.

Parenting with discernment.

An important topic in this crazy world that we’re living in. But praise the Lord that he is constant and never changing in control. But he does give us responsibilities to equip, raise, protect, love our families.

Well, that’s right. This is a topic that I think would be relevant for every generation. Yeah. When I was thinking about, you know, a lot of times you hear Isaac and I talk about how parenting today requires different. It’s not the same as when we were kids actually like parenting then and now. And, and, and a lot of times I actually look at the world and I go, You know what? I think that there was a lot more of a need for protection even then as well. Absolutely. And a discernment, if you will, a discerning, a testing of spirits of really evaluating what fruit is coming out of certain things, all that stuff.

Well, you just look at what’s been normalized slowly over time, even in Christian circles. And when I say normalize over time, you instantly think of like the public school system and what’s being normalized by left wing culture and those kinds of things. But actually, Christians have slowly allowed their children to watch more things that are not as appropriate to be around, influences that are more challenging in turning them, you know, the wrong direction.

Or influencing them in all different kinds of things. It’s interesting because it’s like that slowly cooked frog analogy that everybody uses is is definitely a true thing. Humans tend to do that. But as far as normalization of culture, there has been a very there’s been a subtle normalization, if you will, of many things that are not biblical, that are not beneficial, if you will, for kids and for people to actually grow up and to become strong Christians who are literally living the purpose that we were created for, which is to love the Lord your God with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself and be activated in the Great Commission.

Yeah. And the challenge is that we become accustomed to going in a direction of the people around us. And we as if if everybody around us is being normalized in.


Sin or poor decisions or inferior decisions to what would be very best for our children, let’s say, then you just kind of go along to get along and you don’t it’s not even conscious. It’s not even a conscious.

Choice to do something because it’s always been done. Yeah. Without asking why, why is this always been done though?

So we in I praise the Lord that God has given me and I believe Angie to a resistance. At first there’s always like OC, why. Okay, what is happening, you know, and not overly skeptical, not overly skeptical. But we definitely we are critical thinkers and we’ve used that since the beginning of our marriage. And I think that that has been really, really helpful. So this episode is a lot about that. And how do you navigate in this world, in Christian circles even, and understand when to say no, when to say, I’ll do part of that and when to.

Do, I’ll participate on my terms, and maybe you get creative and how you can actually do a certain activity or whatnot. And sometimes you have to say no. Sometimes you have to set boundaries, sometimes like sometimes there’s rules. There’s, you know, as parents, sometimes you can feel like the bad guy sometimes, right? Like I’ve said that a few times, Isaac, Where I’m like, I feel like I’m saying no to all these different things. There have been different seasons where it’s been like that, and I have to say like, you know, at the end of the day, when it comes down to it, you have to obey God, which is obeying His word, and that when you walk that way, you live without regret.


So we want to equip you guys and encourage you. So that you’re not living with regret.

And in Matthew 1016, it says, Behold, I’m sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. So be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. And a lot of times I’ve said this once one other time, but a lot of times Christians only try to be innocent as doves. Is only half of that scripture that’s lived out. And you hear that preach to a lot, which is innocent as doves and purity and all that is great.

But let’s one half of what God’s calling one half.

But it also says, why is this serpents? And I don’t think we like hearing that because serpents, you know, you think of me, you think of the Garden of Eden. Right?

Right, right. Yeah.

You think of the serpent.

Well, and this also gives us insight into who our enemy is, who is prowling around, throwing lions.

And I think the correction here in our minds is don’t be like serpents in the evil part, right? But be wise as serpents know to understand. I think of it also if you go into. Battle. You’re putting yourself in the enemy’s shoes so you can understand how they think, what they’re thinking about and what their plans are and what the strategy is. And I think that’s being wise as serpents. So you look out there and you look at what’s happening. Well, we know that the enemy is controlling the world. Right? In a lot of ways, God is in control.

He’s the prince of the air of this world, according to Ephesians six. Right? Yeah.

But we’re in a period where that’s happening. And so we have to where is the enemy infiltrating things and tricking people, even good people, even good institutions into inferior paths?

Well, and I even think about the reality that I love that analogy of a strategy within war, right? Because we are in a battle God in Ephesians six, again, I didn’t even have this written down as one of the scriptures, but he gives us his armor. Why would we need armor if we weren’t in a battle? He even says, I send you out as sheep. Sheep among wolves. That’s the scripture Isaac just read in Matthew ten and recognizing that we are among wolves and we are in a spiritual battle, sometimes it can also be physical. Sometimes the spiritual battle affects the physical, sometimes it affects only the spiritual aspect. And so this is why all of these things that we’re talking about require discernment as parents. Parenting requires discernment. That’s why we’re talking about this today. I would say that if there was probably, you know, one other and I’m going to say other one other thing other than, you know, truly raising your kids up with the knowledge of God’s word and and training them in being able to read so they can read the word and have a disciplined life where they’re reading the Bible themselves and understanding it and they’re praying different spiritual disciplines. So there’s that. But then there’s this concept of discerning the world around you and the people around you. And that is a skill that our kids must be raised with. But you guys, they can’t be if we who are training them also are not equipped and being discerning, Right? Yeah. And so there’s a huge need for us to recognize and evaluate like am I being discernment so discerning? So let’s talk about what is discernment.

Well, yeah, let’s jump into that. But first of all, I just want to thank you guys for being part of the 10 Million Legacies movement. We, as you know, we put in an episode every week for over four years now. There’s lots of free wisdom on social media, emails, all the different things we’re doing to give as much free content as we possibly can to impact as many people as we possibly can. And it’s a full time effort when you count in that, having to support all of that and all the expenses involved. And so we do that through selling courses. Coffee people can switch where they spend their money on coffee and it supports the ministry. It’s amazing. And it’s better coffee than than most. It’s really, really good. And then all of this, including free show notes and all the write up and scripture references from this episode and all others at Be Courageous Ministry dot org. So whether you pray for us, whether you give, whether you buy something, whether you share something on social media, give us a five star review on iTunes or elsewhere, It all is so appreciated and we.

Make such a big difference.

We cannot do it without you and you’re all playing different roles and we just so we literally feel like we’re in the trenches with hundreds of thousands of people and doing something meaningful together. So we appreciate it.

Yeah, make an impact. Raising up the next generation. Right? So let’s talk about what is discernment. The word discernment is often used, I think, by Christians like to use this word more than using the word judge. Can I just say that there’s been I believe there has been a false teaching that has seeped into the larger Christian church over the last decade to two decades. And I believe that primarily this false teaching has been brought in because people want to justify their sinful lifestyle behaviors and the thing their addictions and the things that they don’t want to let go of, that they actually when you think about addictions or any lifestyle choice, you’re basically choosing to love that more than love God’s word and love him. And so this is pure evil. It should not be that way. And it’s a false teaching that is in the church that says that Christians shouldn’t judge. That’s not true. The scriptures tell us, who are we to judge those outside? Aren’t we to judge those who are inside the church? Right. And that’s in Second Corinthians. But today we want to dive into what is discernment and how does that affect your parenting? How is that a tool that we need to embrace and be like? That is a that is part of who I am. I’m going to be a discerning parent and I’m not going to be shy about it or or scared to admit that, no, I’m going to be bold as a Christian and say this is a character. Attribute that God calls me to as a Christian. So we’re going to look at four or five scriptures that even prove to you that this is something that God wants in your character toolbox.

Amen. So what is discernment is the ability to judge the character or situations around you accurately from a biblical perspective. And so that so there’s a lot of things that block the ability to judge the character of others, to judge what’s happening, to judge situations accurately. And we kind of talked about some of those before, but it’s just really important. It’s harder than you might think and everybody should be discerning and God gives ample wisdom and we have the Holy Spirit in us. And that Holy Spirit wants to protect us, wants us to glorify. The Father wants to give us wisdom on real situations. But I think that a lot of times believers are believing in God and going to church and and they have their Christian life and they read their Bible sometimes. But there’s a whole nother level, I believe, of relationship with God, where you’re relying on him moment by moment. You’re you’re praying without ceasing. You’re you’re you’re asking him for wisdom on things. And and although you don’t get an audible response, we all get that right. You do your heart can feel something that and you start to trust it because you’ve asked God to prompt you. Therefore, it’s giving you a sense that something’s good or bad. And we just start trusting that. And it’s so much easier to trust that when we are in prayer, because our hearts without the Holy Spirit can be dangerous. But when we’re asking God to give us help and we’re getting prompted on things, we can have a confidence that he is helping us.

Now, it’s interesting because, you know, you’re talking about the importance of being in direct communications, like picking up a telephone line to God, Right. Like prayer is in that sense where it’s like you’re communicating with him. He’s communicating with you in that sense. Right. And that’s an important aspect of it. I know that for myself, one of the things that is a huge lifeline, if you will, is just reading the word and having the parameters that I recall to my mind or that the Holy Spirit recalls, to my mind, to be able to discern between truth and untruth, to be able to discern between what’s evil and what’s good. You know, discernment can sometimes be one of those gifts, if you will, that at times, I’ll be honest, there have been times where I’ve actually asked God to take it from me because it is not an easy thing to see the spiritual realities of of the world at times. Sometimes it can be a very heavy thing and to be able to discern when someone’s lying. For example, have you ever been around someone and they start talking to you and you just know they are literally lying through their teeth, They’re literally lying to you. And it’s that’s hard to know that It’s hard, right, Because you want to think best about people and you want to give people the benefit of doubt, expect virtue.

All these things are true. But the reality is, as God has dispersed his gift of spiritual discernment, which is a little bit different than what we’re going to be talking about. But I think it’s an important thing that we talk about today so that you guys know that God’s Word does encourage us to be praying for spiritual discernment. But then there is also a practical side to discernment that Isaac’s talking about that we need to be constantly seeking from God, asking him to give us discernment. And Philippians four, We have a letter here from Paul that’s so encouraging. Chapter one, verse nine and ten says, And it is my prayer. So this is Paul’s prayer, and it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more. That’s awesome. But listen to what said next with knowledge and all discernment so that you may approve what is excellent and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.

Let’s include all of that in all of that Scripture.

That’s important. It’s interesting because I think a lot of Christians, they want to take the the the easier route is to just say, Oh, he’s praying for love and knowledge. But but discernment actually requires you to judge and make choices based upon that discernment.

Let’s let’s just pause for a second. You can’t make a choice unless you judge something. So you have to make a judgment. It’s not being judgmental. That’s not what we’re talking about. It’s making a judgment about something, a situation, a decision, peer influences for your kids, whatever it is, you’re making a judgment so that therefore you can make a decision. And I think sometimes we don’t make those judgments because we don’t read that full scripture. We don’t live out that full scripture, which is the second part. It has some wisdom in it that is super important. And I think you also mentioned something about the gift of spiritual discernment. So just to clarify, there’s really a couple of things here. Everybody should be seeking wisdom and being more discerning. And everybody can. But then there’s the gifts. And one of the gifts is the spiritual gift of discernment. And one thing I have appreciated is my wife is really discerning. I would say I’m super intuitive in understanding. I’m walking with God and God gives me a lot of wisdom and I can make good decisions and those things. But there’s another element to that with which within our marriage team of where Angie has a discernment, not based on cues, not based on knowledge, not based on even what’s happening, sometimes it is a spiritual discernment about something that makes her feel a certain way. And I can’t tell you how many times she has been right when she tells me something and is discerning something. And and I’ve learned to trust that. I would say I haven’t always, but I would say in our second half of our marriage, I’ve learned to trust it.

And it’s really been important. And I would say, look at your marriage and who is does one of you have the gift of discernment? You know, maybe. And maybe neither of you do, and that’s okay, but you can still be discerning. But at the same time, who in your body of Christ has the gift of discernment? And are you walking with other believers in a way where you know each other’s gifts? You’re learning what the gifts are so you can rely on those gifts so that you can seek wisdom from people that do have the gift of discernment. I want to take a moment and give you something for free if you haven’t got it already. Is the date night one sheet? It is a beautiful document you can download that will have some key questions on it for your date night. Just get in alignment about what’s most important for your family. No matter what time of year, it’s always important to recalibrate. You can get that by going to courageous parenting dot com and subscribing to our mailing list. Also, you can get all of our show notes and everything at courageous parenting dot com. And I also just want to share real quick about the parenting mentor program. So many families are being transformed by going through this. It’s the six week self paced program with live engagement from us in even direct interaction. So if you want to join us, here’s a little bit more about it. You can find out more at courageous parenting dot com.

Steve and I realized that we were getting too comfortable with the world’s vision of how to raise our children. What Angie and Isaac have done in creating this is literally phenomenal. This program provided awesome scripture based teachings and just some really great practical applications. This class has just really rocked my world. It has given me a vision for not just the different things that we might focus on as parents who are trying to raise our kids biblically, like how our kids are behaving or what we’re doing with discipline, but also the things of the heart. We now have a game plan to how we want to raise our children. We have so many answers to the questions that have been in our mind. It’s not just these hypothetical situations or it’s not just this. Here’s what I think you should do. It’s let me show you where in scripture this is. Do your legacy a favor and your self a favor and just do it. One of the best things that we’ve done this year, one of the best investments we’ve made this year, and I could not recommend it more. We’re no longer fearing dark days ahead, but we’re so excited to raise lights to be leaders for the next generation.

Yeah. So First Corinthians chapter 12 is the the chapter that talks about spiritual gifts. We’re not going to read a ton in here, but I think that it’s important to note that in here even says because some some different believers, different churches believe different things and it’s just important that we’re biblical, right? It says, therefore, I want you to understand this is verse three in chapter 12. I want you to understand that no one is speaking in the spirit of God ever says Jesus is a curse to no one can say Jesus is a Lord except in the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same spirit, and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord, and there are varieties of activities, but is the same God who empowers them all and everyone. So everyone has these different things. That’s what it’s saying. But then it says to each is given to each is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good. What’s the common good for? It’s for the whole body for to one is given through the spirit, the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same spirit and to another faith by the same spirit, into another gifts of healing, by the one spirit to another, the working of miracles to another prophecy to another. The ability to distinguish between spirits, which is spiritual discernment, and then just continues on to another various times, on and on and on.

The point is, is to one to another. To another to. Another. So these gifts are dispersed among the body. And then it goes on to say for the edification of the whole. And so like this is where it requires us as parents, as believers, as mature Christians, to do a little quick evaluation of ourselves and go, which gift has God given me? Right? And how is that supposed to be edifying? The body. And when it comes to this gift of spiritual discernment, do I have that? And if I don’t, I need to. A one, it says to ask God for the gifts. So we need to be asking God in prayer for these gifts. And B, we need to surround ourselves with in biblical community, like Isaac was saying, and rub up against people who don’t have the same gifts we have because it’s for the edification of the whole. It’s for the good of the whole church, right? God knows what’s good for his people. He wants them to be blameless. He wants them to be able to discern between right and wrong. Right. And we’re living in a world where people are saying right is wrong and wrong is right. Now. We need discernment more than ever.

Now that we’re talking about gifts. And you can take this to any of the other gifts, take it to the gift of helps. Did you know that was a spiritual gift? Yes. Gift of helps. Well, if somebody that person has the gift of helps is walking in this spirit. They’re in their Bible. Their relationship is strong. There’s not deliberate sin that they’re not they haven’t repented of in their life. You know, they’re walking strong with the Lord. Then when they help people, they’re not expecting anything in return. That’s their gift. They’re like, delighted to do it. But if they’re not walking in the spirit in this example, that gift of helps turns into Why am I always helping and nobody’s doing anything in return. So the opposite of the spiritual gift becomes an Achilles heel almost when we’re not walking strong. So you just have to think about that. So as you’re talking to your marriage about your spiritual gifts, you know, spiritual gifts are awesome. When we’re walking with God and when we’re not, we might have a false sense of having a gift that’s not operating very well because our selfishness is so high.

I would even say on this topic of spiritual discernment, one of the things I’ve shared this in previous podcasts as well is that when you’re not in the Word of God and the Holy Spirit’s not activated in you, the gift of spiritual discernment can then quickly become more of a critical spirit versus the gift of spiritual discernment. And so you have to really be honest with yourself and stewarding the gifts that God has given you because it needs to be used for God’s glory. It’s not for your own glory, it’s not for your own protection, it’s for God’s glory, right, in the protection of his church. And so I even just think about, like spiritual gifts. And in regards to this, like, is there someone in your life that has warned you about something either in your parenting or in an influence or in something and you are maybe not heeding it because of pride or an independent spirit or or because maybe you’re feeling like, Well, I should have caught that myself. And and so you’re kind of like not really taking it for for what it is. And the truth is, is that God places people in our life for that reason, because we need each other. Right. And that’s the beautiful part of being part of the body of Christ. In first Corinthians chapter two, verse 14, it says, The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God for their folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

So how important is it to discern spiritual things.

And how important is it that you’re not getting advice from people who are not biblical, who don’t have like spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ?

Well, you just said something really powerful because even believers who in your life are you getting wisdom from and you’re not evaluating whether they’re walking strong in the spirit. See, when you get advice from somebody, they should be believers. But also, are they walking strong? Because remember, what if they’re not walking strong and their spiritual gift becomes that Achilles heel and they’re giving you advice?

Right. Well, and the next verse even says, the spiritual person judges all things but is himself to be judged by no one. I think that this is an important thing for us to realize that God is calling us to be spiritual, mature. You guys know this scripture that talks about growing from spiritual milk to spiritual meat in the Lord. He wants us to be growing in him. He wants us to have a continued relationship. You’re just as your relationship with your husband and your or your spouse. For those guys that are listening in for your spouse should be growing. Your relationship with God should be growing. There should be a maturity there. And part of this requires you as a spiritual person, judging all things, and that is for the protection of your family, but it’s also for the protection of the church when you have. I have that gift. And when you don’t, you need to ask God for it. Like I was saying, I just want to reiterate, Ask God for. Discernment, ask him for wisdom and making decisions, but also don’t ignore the fact that the body of Christ is there’s an element of it being here in flesh with the physical body of people that you are walking in the local assembly with, and that they have gifts. And so seek wisdom. Proverbs tells us to go and seek godly wisdom from other people. And but we need to seek godly wisdom, not just wisdom. Right. And so what Isaac was saying about making sure that who we’re getting advice from, like, are they walking strong, not just claiming to be a Christian? And the way that you judge that. Yes, you judge the way you judge that is by looking at the fruit in their life. So if you can say I want a marriage like theirs, or I hope my kids grow up to be like theirs, then all of a sudden they qualify or I actually get advice from them.

I want to have friends like theirs, right?

I want to have a community like theirs. Right. And so if you can’t say those things because they’ve been hiding their family from you or you never see their spouse, you don’t know what kind of marriage it is, I would always take whatever shared wisdom wise with a grain of salt.

I’ve always said take very few opinions, but definitely take the right feel like we should. Everybody wants to give opinions, by the way, with our little tangent, but I think it’s important with the way artificial intelligence is going. Pretty soon anybody can fool anybody about being an expert in any crazy anything because there’s this thing called chat GPT You can look it up where you can ask this technology to actually give it some prompts and it’ll write out blog posts. It’ll do these things. By the way, we would never do that. But this is going to be happening. So what we’re going to be seeing, this is even more important to be discerning in this technology age. There’s a whole new this is really the cusp of a whole new growth that’s going to happen this year in ability that’s going to probably be some helpful things and some harmful things as technology goes. And one of those things is, are you reading a book that technology wrote or are you reading a book that a human wrote? And I think that’s incredibly important to be getting wisdom from other humans that are impacted by God, not by some technology.

It’s going to be countercultural to what any secular worldly knowledge or wisdom would offer as well. That’s why it’s also important the Holy Spirit’s not activated in technology. It’s only activated in humans who have souls that are connected to God. And that’s an important discernment to make, right? If we’re talking about discernment, but what are some things? So let’s talking about being in the word, first of all, before we move on to the next point, being in the word and activating that, I was mentioning that for me myself, I’ve noticed that that discernment can slowly turn into a critical spirit if I’m not in the word and I’m not like surrendered to the Lord or in community with Him in that strong sense. Right. And so that’s something we have to be very careful about. There have just been a few times in my life where, like I had to withhold my opinions about people or situations or whatever because I just knew, you know what, I haven’t been in the word today or I haven’t done it. Da, da da. Whatever it is for you to be filled up by the Holy Spirit. And so I didn’t trust my assessment of it. And I told my husband that and I said, You know what? But I could be wrong. I sense this, but I could be wrong. Or I just kept it quiet. And so that’s using wisdom, you guys understanding your own humanity, walking humbly in the gift. And so we have to talk about that because as parents, we don’t just go around going, Oh, nope, I’m the parent and I’m just making all these decisions. Kids are going to be like, What? You know, you’re just going around constantly saying stuff. And so we need to use discernment. And part of that is being in the word in Hebrews chapter four, verse 12, it says, For the Word of God is living an act of sharper than any two edged sword piercing to the division of soul and spirit of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

So reading the Bible helps you discern the intentions and thoughts of the heart. It helps you understand what’s happening around you because God is in control. It’s the living, breathing Word of God, the infallible word of God that that God had people. Right, Right. But that those words were with God in the beginning, before those people were born.

Which is crazy. I mean, the very next verse, I didn’t have a highlight before, but it’s kind of creature crazy, it says, And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him, to whom we must give account. So it’s even like right there just pointing to the truth and the fact that the Word of God, the Bible, which is living an active and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing the division of the soul and spirit, it no creature is hidden from his sight. The word literally can speak to every creature that is. Raising, encouraging. We as humans can’t do that. But the Bible can because it’s super natural, because it it is one with God. So if you.

So now we know if you want to have be able to parent with discernment, you have to be reading your Bible, not just bring it on Sundays, not just for your midweek group, but you’re actually on your own account. I’ve often said what happens when nobody’s looking is what matters the most and what does happen spiritually when nobody’s looking. I bring that to our older children often and you know, how’s your prayer life when nobody’s looking? You know, how is your reading the word when nobody knows? That’s the true sign of somebody who’s yearning for godly wisdom, that’s yearning to know God more their creator, to walk strong and confidently, to that understands their heart is fallible and their flesh is fallible and their mind is fallible, that they need the spirit interceding for them to do the things God has called them to do. And if we’re not being that, we can’t raise that.

Know, it’s interesting, the very next scripture, which is in the chapter right after it, this is Hebrews chapter five, verse 11 through 14, it says about this, We have much to say. So this is a warning against apostasy. And it’s hard to explain. Since you have become dull of hearing, have you become dull of hearing? Like, that’s a good question we all need to heed, right? Because that’s the beginning of discernment for though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food for everyone who lives on. Milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature for those who have their powers of discernment, trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. So that’s like my drop right there. Just the Bible. The Bible just the Bible. Does the mike drop every time? I love it.

So what must we discern? Yes, we need to discern doctrine.

Yes. And it even says in the very next verse, therefore, let us leave elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity. It’s I mean, we have to live out our doctrine right before our kids, like teaching them to have discernment. Like there’s this element in parenting where the reason why we’re talking about this, yes, you as parents need to practice discernment because you’re in charge of protecting your children. That’s your jurisdiction when they live under your roof. But part of your jurisdiction is also that you would equip your children and raise them to launch from your home, that they too would be mature in Christ, that they too would have this ability to discern good from evil so that they don’t get ensnared by the devil’s traps.

Now, here’s the thing on doctrine. Do you actually know what the doctrine of your church is? Do you if if the proclamation of the body of believers is after a historical man, his name, then do you actually align with what that doctrine is? And do you really know what it is? I think that’s important. And is that doctrine accurate based on your own research of what the Bible says? And I’m not making an opinion here. I’m just saying that when you take your children to church, you are endorsing the leaders and saying follow them, believe what they believe and do what they do. And so while no leaders are perfect, we understand that. But essentially that’s what you’re saying. And so what are you endorsing? And you have to discern this and you have to make sure you know what you believe about the Bible based on what the Bible says.

Yes. Not based upon what other men say. The Bible says just what the Bible says.

So now there’s nothing wrong with reading some of the great historical books from great theologians and so forth. Awesome, but always test that with simply reading the word. So that’s super important. We’re in first, John. For one, it says, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. For many, false prophets have gone out into the world by this, you know, the spirit of God. Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God in every spirit that does not confess. Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children. You are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. Isn’t that so comforting that the Holy Spirit in you is greater than any of those anti Christ and the coming anti Christ and greater than all of that? Because it’s the spirit of God.

Amen. And I think that this is a huge warning, but also a hope and a joy and a strength that if we remember that we have, we can overcome them because we have the spirit of God living in us. We have his Bible to guide us, to give us discernment as we continue to grow in knowledge so that we can have all discernment. You can’t have all discernment without knowledge. Those were the two parts that were in the other scripture that we read to you guys and recognizing that we need that we have to be equipped with that so that we can discern the doctrines of our church. Like Isaac was saying, but indoctrination that happens through media, school, curriculum, books, it also happens through other influences, right? So we must discern influences.

What is the agenda behind what’s happening, paying attention not just to missing a little cue that you see and going, Oh, I don’t know, actually looking at it and going, What is the agenda of the people doing this?

And does this does if you have the Spirit of God and you can I just say something? If you have the spirit of God in you and you’re looking at something or you’re becoming aware of something that is just of the spirit of evil, it is evil, then you should feel nauseous, sick, just disgusted by it, or a holy, righteous anger or something. There should be like if you are close to God, you will experience some of his emotion in that because it is leading little ones astray, or it’s leading people into temptation of sin and it should make us sick. Like as Christians, we should be put off by evil, you know what I mean?

And so I think one of the things that happens is adults tend to meander into some things they watch that are maybe not so good and that desensitizes them and they don’t even realize it to spiritual things because they’re willing to watch atrocious evil in movies. And while I think it’s sometimes okay, like historical things and documentaries about, you know, evil villain out there, you know, but how far do you go? It’s very important to be discerning about that. Right? And so indoctrination is big and we have to pay attention to that.

So, you know, influences could even be people that are in their life that maybe you think are unassuming, like their friends or the peers. I mean, every everybody’s heard like, oh, peer influences are a really big deal. But no, no, like, do not underestimate the power of peer influences. The truth is, is that every human being has has struggled with this at some point. It’s called being a people pleaser or wanting to be accepted by the people that are in their circle of influence, if you will. And so, yes, you need to evaluate the different activities, the school, if you have your kids in school, the different co ops, the different environments that you are plugging in, playing your kids in. Yes, I believe that you decide if you’re putting your kid in school or not, you decide which school they go to. You decide what activities they’re in because this is not like biblical parenting is not a child centric child run that that’s not biblical. So you need to be the parent and then your child will be the child, Right? And so you make decisions and you need to recognize that there are influences in each of these places that you have decided to allow your kids to be in. And so, yes, it’s the different peer influences that are in their school or in their activities or in their their co op or their orchestra or whatever activities. Youth group, can I say? Youth group? Yes. Whatever things you have decided, okay, my child can go and do this. You are putting a stamp of approval on that unless you’ve otherwise said no, don’t listen to them because I don’t trust them. But why would you put them there if you don’t? Let’s just say that. Can I just say that?

Well, because parents want to break in, they feel burned out and they want some me time and they want some marriage time. And in these kinds of things, I think that there’s more productive ways to do that than if, you know, something is not good for your kids putting them in it.

Right? So you just need to evaluate and audit the influences and recognize that, you know, Scripture warns us big time. You can tell your kids this good or bad company ruins good morals. That’s a proverb. Look that one up like there are so many warnings all throughout proverbs and Psalms that tell us to judge the influences of the people that are around us. So you as a parent first have to do that for your child, and then you have to teach them how to do that for themselves.

Okay. Our final point is audit. Really evaluate what you do and why you do it. Do it. And James one five says, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives generously to all without a reproach and it will be given him. There’s a promise right there from God to give you wisdom. So if you ever stuck, ask God. And you know what? Pay attention. Because sometimes I think we ask God and then we feel like He didn’t answer us. And then we didn’t call somebody back that called us. Or maybe we saw somebody that has the gift of discernment. You know, you walk in grocery shopping or something. And we didn’t think that maybe God had you crossed paths with them for a reason. You start paying attention to Divine. Appointments and how the different ways God might be answering your question to get wisdom. Because sometimes I think we’re we’re not looking hard enough.

No, it’s good. So we have two last questions for you there. One one is a little bit more simple than the other. The first one is when you’re evaluating and auditing what you’re doing and why all those things, the activities, the influences, the doctrine, everything, everything. Will this activity, will this sport, will this teacher, whether it’s a guitar teacher or a history teacher, will this school will this youth group produce the biblical fruit and physical fruit that we desire in our kids lives? That is the question. Number one, will this activity produce the biblical fruit and physical fruit? Because those are two different things. Sometimes they’re the same, but sometimes they’re different. Will it produce that fruit that we desire in our child’s life? And then the second question, which really impacts the first question is hold on a second. Biblically, we need to understand that our kids are not our own. They’re actually gods. And so if we’re evaluating if something’s going to produce the fruit that we desire, we need to ask ourselves, is what we desire for our kids, what God desires for kids, That needs to be an alignment, that needs to be in check first, because otherwise we could be pursuing the wrong things for our children.

So and this is such a good time of year to do just that reflection, you know, reviewing last year, thinking about each child, thinking about where they’re at spiritually, what good and maybe not so good habits, looking at the family culture issues that might exist in your family, is there yelling, is there a lack of respect? Is there a lack of meeting together for dinners, for meals and these kinds of things? Look at the things that frustrate you because from there you’ll find the new rhythms that need to be developed in your family. And so this auditing process is so important and you can discern and just remember God is counter intuitive. So what is intuitive to humans is what seems normal and what seems like the logical. Let me use logic for a second. This is logic. A plus one plus two equals what? Three? Right. Logic. Right. Well, God is counter intuitive. So what he’s going to a discerning person sometimes is going to do something that doesn’t look normal to people around them. And I think I just look back and I go, Wow. I remember a time when we were part of a church and there was like 300 people there, and then everybody left except for families or five families. And with the pastor sitting there and. The natural thing, the intuitive thing. We go, Wow, go where all the community is.

Where all the people are who have kids. Our kids age.

Our kids ages, and we’re like, That’s not right.

Actually, that was more You were.

Thinking that way, the right thing. Yeah. The question is, was that done correctly? Yes. The answer is no. So I would never follow what’s done incorrectly. Well, everybody else did. What? That does not matter to me. What everybody else is doing, in fact, is like a glowing a siren going off of. Maybe that’s not the best thing to do. Yeah. Oh. You know, I was going to go into a tyrant about other things, but I won’t.

No, but in all seriousness, Isaac’s right. Some of the best decisions that we’ve made over the years were very counterintuitive to what the world and what would make logical sense. But that being said, you do need to have wise people around you that you can bounce ideas off. And I remember we were even in that season that you’re describing, there were a few people that were objective that were outside of that community that were not part of that church, that were actually part of a previous church. We had been a part of that we were able to go to to get godly wisdom and sound advice from. And that was a confirmation for us. Right. And so sometimes you need to go to people who are objective that are not going to be emotionally affected or emotionally offended. Can I say that? Because sometimes let’s just say you’re choosing to decide I’m going to have a massive lifestyle shift here and we’re going to pull our kids out of public school and we’re going to homeschool. You don’t go to the other moms who are currently public schooling their kids and seek wisdom. You go to someone who’s already raised their children, who is walking with Jesus, who either has the fruit that you want your kids to be like theirs, or they have humble hearts and they’re just going to preach the biblical truth to you because they care about the purity of your family and they’re honest about the mistakes and the good decisions that they’ve made and they can give you some perspective and support.

Well, part of something that came to my mind, Angie, that’s so good is that sometimes subconsciously we actually choose people who are going to tell us what we want to hear versus we actually go, Och, I know I’m supposed to ask for wisdom relationally, I’m close with these people and so I’m going to do the right thing now. And then I go ask them for wisdom. But deep down inside you might not even acknowledge it. You actually are hoping they give you the wisdom you want to hear that validate the decisions you’ve already made instead of challenging you to maybe do something different, better long term, better short term, hard long term, better short term hard is part of long term better every single time. So if you want long term fruitfulness in the short term, it’s always harder. And so if we’re believing that life should get more comfortable, life should get easier. I can’t wait until we get to that spot where everything is easier. You might not be a discerning parent. You might actually be falling to inferior choices because your goal was easier. And I’m just going to tell you our life is not easy. It is never been easy, and it’s been a lot harder than it had to be. Actually standing for what’s right is a lot harder when others won’t. Right. Doing an action that goes against what people around us for the sake of our kids.

Sacrificing financially because of deep personal conviction, all kinds of things we’ve done over the years. And honestly, at the end of the day, I look at my kids and I know what they’ve learned vicariously through living it transparently, us being transparent as parents and sharing with them the lessons that we’re learning. That is part of the equipping process where your kids, then they learn discernment, they learn what it looks like to actually stand for truth in a world where everyone just gives in and does what’s easy, teaching them to do the hard things by living it out and having joy helps them to stand on your shoulders so that they then can be making even a bigger impact for God’s kingdom. You guys, thank you for joining us today. We are praying for you. Yes, we are praying that you would be discerning, courageous parents that would be willing to stand firm for God’s truth, that you would be raising up the next generation to be bold and to be accurately dividing the truth and judging and discerning on what kind of influences they should have in their life. Thanks for joining us today. If this podcast was encouraging to you, would you please consider sharing it? We just appreciate you guys joining us in this effort to impact 10 million legacies. But we definitely would love your help in doing so. So if this podcast was an encouragement to you, you can share anywhere on social media, Tag us and we’ll reshare it.

God bless.

See you. Hey, thanks for listening to this episode. For more resources, go to courageous parenting and courageous mom dot com for free online workshops, blog posts, and best selling courses. Also, we wanted to quickly tell you about our six week online parenting Mentor program. Isaac and I created a powerful biblical curriculum. Here’s how it works. Each week we release a video with a downloadable parenting packet to make it easy for you to incorporate those teachings directly into your parenting.

This is an incredible, self paced program where we cover everything from obedience training to overcoming mistakes most Christians are making. But more than that, it’s a supportive community. You’ll have access to our. Private online group live webcasts and the courageous parenting text message line where Angie and I can send you weekly encouragements straight to your phone.

If you’re interested in joining our next online parenting mentor program, secure your spot now at CourageousParenting.com

Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of CourageousMom.com, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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