Discernment is the next step of wisdom. Whereas wisdom is the proper application of knowledge, discernment is the accurate and consistent application of wisdom. Let's say you could wisely conclude that a course of action is appropriate. But if you never took the time to reach that conclusion, and never acted, then your wisdom was in vain, because you didn't use it. Suppose that you know that certain song lyrics are not appropriate for your children to hear, but you don't know that your child is listening to a singer who employs such lyrics. You have the knowledge to determine what the lyrics are. You have the wisdom to determine that your child shouldn't be influenced by such music. But you lacked the discernment to identify the bad lyrics under your nose so as to take action against letting your child listen to them. This 'last step' is what I want to improve on, because my great fear is that I won't successfully identify and separate what's good from what's bad, and everything "in between," and reap the consequences of that inability.
My new prayer is for discernment. And to show an example of what I mean by drawing a distinction between "wisdom" and "discernment," please watch the following video. I have the knowledge of what is orthodox soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). I have the wisdom to know that I shouldn't promote people as Christian brothers whose doctrine is heretical on the topic of soteriology. But I am uncertain that I could identify, on my own, that a certain person is espousing a heretical soteriology, if it wasn't directly and obviously stated.
That's where men like Todd Friel come in. I discovered him first when I investigated whether Roman Catholicism was authentic Christianity or not, and someone had uploaded a video of him comparing Catholic and Christian positions. I liked his style and the information delivery in each of his short video uploads I would find, so I've eventually come to consider him an online, impersonal mentor figure in my Christian walk. Every young person ideally should have an older, more mature Christian of the same gender from whom to receive advice and take cues from as they model the Christian walk for you, so that you can grow in the faith, etc etc. I'm still working on finding such a relationship in person, but thanks to the Internet, I've been able to benefit from Todd's podcasts and video clips from his show, Wretched, and continue to polish up on my theology and practice. He has seemed to me on more than one occasion to serve the purpose of a theological watchdog, on the alert for errors, heresy, and other dumb-but-not-damning silliness that ought to be avoided. Following is a video clip of him helpfully analyzing a segment of Phil Robertson talking about salvation. Phil is one of the "Duck Dynasty" characters, which is the most popular reality show of all time, and their family's faith is bound to be a huge influence in America going forward. So just what do they believe? The nuance is very important, and Todd explains it below. Please check it out.
~ Rak Chazak