But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14)
There are acres of woods across from our house. Some of that land is zoned for development, and so townhouses and condos might replace some of the woods. But the rest of the woods is wetlands and can never be developed.
The woods are shown on our town zoning map, but the exact line of demarcation of the wetlands was unclear. It did not much matter if no one was interested in building on the land.
But recently, surveyors went out, marking ‘wetland delineation’ on the wetlands boundaries with pink tape.
The tape now traces a squiggly line of separation between what can be developed and what can’t.
Our Lord uses demarcations too. You might think that the book of Leviticus is a bunch of boring rules. But the overall goal of the rules is quite important: You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean, (Leviticus 10:10 ESV).
Today, we are not bound to follow all the rules and regulations of Leviticus, but the goal remains: to discern the line of demarcation between what God says is good, worthwhile and noble and what is trashy, junk, garbage.
How do we tell the difference? It’s not always obvious, especially if there is no specific rule or verse in the Bible for the situation we have a question about. Indeed, today’s opening verse has nothing specific about what is excellent in 2018. It doesn’t tell us whether it’s OK to watch a certain R-rated movie or whom to vote for.
But the verse uses three helpful it-takes-time words: “mature”, “practice”, and “trained”. We really do get better at discernment over time as we continue to walk with Christ and his people.
Just as the experienced wetland surveyor was trained to know where to put the pink tape, we learn where to put our own boundary line between what is worthwhile and what is junk.