Thursday, June 18, 2015

What is Discernment?

"We have been brought together by the goodness of God for reasons beyond our own choosing and for the purposes of God." Henri Nouwen

Discernment is a spiritual process that seeks to comprehend God's voice. Utilizing both community and solitude, discernment reaches beyond the ordinary and below the surfaces, through the noise and into the silences of God's presence.  Nouwen says, "We have to know the darkness to be able to search for the light." This process of hearing and understanding God's direction requires us to experience life both as a part of Christian community and with intentional solitude. As children of God, we acknowledge that God has a vision and a purpose for every person. From daily decisions to an unexpected life crisis, somewhere between prayerful petitions and listening for God's reply, each faith-journey evolves.

Discernment involves the core Christian disciplines of prayer, worship, community, and ministry. In seeking greater wisdom, insight, and understanding we must cultivate patience and a deeper knowledge of God. In 1 Chronicles 28:9-10 David explains to his son King Solomon the importance of knowing and serving God "with a whole heart and with a willing heart." God knows all about us, inside and out, and He desires a relationship with us. David reminds Solomon, "Be careful now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a home for the sanctuary; be strong and do it." (vs. 10) Just as God chose Solomon to build the temple as a place for worship, a sacred dwelling place for God, God chooses each believer in Christ to become a temple for the Holy Spirit, a place of holiness where we meet God. Discernment must become a way of Christian living, a daily spiritual discipline that seeks, listens and knows the Spirit's leading. ~ dho

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