The Journey of Discernment

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

The dictionary defines discernment as “the ability to judge well.” There is also a Christian context to discernment listed in that same dictionary, “perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual guidance and understanding.” Discernment, in a spiritual context, is a journey of discovery and understanding. It is a journey of listening to God and others for a sense of direction. I am embarking on such a journey.

Discernment is or should be a lifelong process. The Scripture from John’s first letter that I quote above lays out why Christians should be of a discerning mind. “Test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” Sometimes we think we hear God’s voice, but actually, it is our voice that sounds like God’s voice. Discernment is a way to determine where that voice is coming from.

Discernment also involves other people. It has been said that God calls, but the church confirms. I may think God is calling me to this or that, but there needs to be a confirmation of that call. It is that confirmation that I am seeking. That confirmation also is a way to determine if it is God’s voice or my voice.

I am embarking on a journey to discern where that voice of God is leading me, but this is also a journey of self-discovery. Self-discovery involves patients, as this journey will not be a short one—patience with the process and trust in those who will be on this journey with me. As with any journey, especially spiritual ones, one has to be willing to go where the spirit leads, and I pray that I am open to that direction. I would ask that you hold me in prayer during this journey.

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