Years ago a friend of Jerry Bridges gave him a formula to know right from wrong. The formula asks four questions based on three verses in 1 Corinthians. In The Pursuit of Holiness Jerry goes in depth on this formula and how important discernment is for pursuing holiness. Here is that Question Formula:
’Everything is permissible for me’ – but not everything is beneficial
(I Cor. 6:12).
Question 1: Is it helpful—physically, spiritually, and mentally?
’Everything is permissible for me’—but I will not be mastered by anything
(1 Cor. 6:12).
Question 2: Does it bring me under its power?
Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to all into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall
(1 Cor. 8:13).
Question 3: Does it hurt others?
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God
(1 Cor. 10:31).
Question 4: Does it glorify God?
As simple as this formula may appear, it is powerful in developing conviction—if we are willing to use it. These questions can get rather searching. But they must be asked if we are to pursue holiness as a total way of life.