There are some times in life that decisions are too difficult to be made. I read letters in the newspaper about Enbridge and Line 3, and conclude that both sides have valid points. If Congress called me in and told me to make the decision for them, I’m not sure I could, even if both sides continued to present their evidences. Luckily, that will never happen, but I still have decisions that have to be made in my daily life. Every day, I must carefully weigh my choices and actions, and their consequences, and make good choices. I want to live a life that is pleasing to God and that honors Jesus Christ. What I need is “discretion.”
“Discretion” is defined in Webster’s dictionary as “Prudence, or knowledge and prudence; that discernment which enables a person to judge critically of what is correct and proper, united with caution; nice discernment and judgment, directed by circumspection, and primarily regarding ones own conduct.” It is found nine times in the Bible, and always is paired with wisdom and understanding, two of the great themes of the book of Proverbs. Discretion is an important Christian character trait.
Mr. Discretion is someone who is submitted to God’s Wisdom. If discretion is making a choice, how can we know the right choice? The answer is that God knows the right way, and furthermore He wants us to know it as well. He invites us to take hold of wisdom, saying in Proverbs 1:4 that He offers to give discretion to the young man. One of the sources of this discretion is God Himself. The Holy Spirit lives within believers and guides them “into all truth,” (John 16:13). He will tell you what you need to know, and how to decide matters. The other source is the Word of God. Isaiah 28:26 says that God instructs us to discretion, and many times we see that God’s instruction comes through His Word. Mr. Discretion is one who is wholly yielded to and listening to God. He says in Proverbs 5:1: “My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: that thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.”
Mr. Discretion is someone who is not swayed by his emotions. How he feels is not nearly as important as what he knows to be true. Our emotions are God-given, and are meant to help us make decisions, but some emotions tend only to rash decisions. When we are angry, we make snap decisions, and often when we are not angry anymore, we regret them. Mr. Discretion is always making sure that wisdom, not anger is directing him, which is why it says in Proverbs 19:11 “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.”
Mr. Discretion is good. He wants to make decisions that are moral, encouraging, and beneficial to others. Psalm 112:5 says “A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.” What influences his decision-making? What is right and good. This means that he has a firm grasp on what God wants, and not just what will make him happy. Too often, we lose discernment because we are too focused on our own desires. The Bible often condemns judges for perverting justice by taking bribes, but Mr. Discretion doesn’t allow his lusts to sway his verdict. He will sometimes even come down against his own desires, just because it is the right thing to do.
What can Mr. Discretion expect from his character? Proverbs 2:11 “Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.” He can expect to prosper from his ability to make good, godly, right decisions.