Discernment is a huge topic with so much variety and substance that it feels as if we have barely scratched the surface. Here are some of my final thoughts on discernment:
- Discerning a decision is different from applying the best logic to a situation. Pro and con lists have a place in discernment but at the end of the day, discernment is about listening for God.
- Every follower of Jesus has the necessary tool for discernment: the presence of the Spirit.
- Discernment is choosing to form our lives, one moment at time, toward the Kingdom of God.
- Community plays a vital role in true discernment. Others can sometimes see more objectively where we are fooling ourselves into believing we are following God but are actually seeking our own advancement.
- Groups who seek to discern the way for a community undertake the difficult task of emptying themselves of their own desires for the community to seek what God would desire.
- A discerning disciple has already committed themselves to be formed into the image of Christ.
- Your ‘gut instinct’ matters when discerning a decision. God speaks to us through the power of the Spirit; many times this communication is at the level of intuition or feeling.
- It seems to me that at times, the discerned choice looks like foolishness. It moves me toward less recognition, less power, and less influence for myself.
- Growing in the practice of discernment is a mark of maturity in a follower of Christ.
- There are many great resources for learning about discernment. My three favorite are God’s Voice Within by Mark Thibodeaux, Pursuing God’s Will Together by Ruth Haley Barton, and Inner Compass by Margaret Silf.
So, what do you feel has been left unsaid in our discussion? What do you want to add?