I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes. (Ps. 119:125)

Teddy Roosevelt had a dog that was always getting into fights and always getting beaten by larger, stronger dogs. Someone commiserated with Mr. Roosevelt by saying, “Colonel, your dog is not much of a fighter.” Teddy answered, “Oh, he’s a good fighter. He’s just a poor judge of dogs.”

The psalmist prayed for discernment, not so he could be a better judge of dogs, but so he could understand God’s laws. Discernment is a highly prized quality throughout the Scriptures. Pharaoh chose Joseph and put him in charge of Egypt because he was a “discerning and wise” person (see Gen. 41:39).

When Solomon became king of Israel, following in the footsteps of his father David, he prayed that God would “give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong” (1 Kings 3:9).

Paul prayed a wonderful prayer for the Philippians, that they might “be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:10).

The writer to the Hebrews recommended the “solid food” of God’s Word, so we can “distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:14).

We can pray about many things—and we do—but how long has it been since you joined the psalmist and others in praying that God would help you to know, discern, and then do the right thing?

Ask God to give you a discerning heart.

Ron McClung lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife Carol. He has written his weekly column, Positive Perspective, for more than thirty years.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.