Spiritual Formation Program: Discernment
Updated: Jul 5, 2022
Grace and peace of the Lord be with you!
Since all of us are so busy these days, it often feels like we have very little room to breathe. We move seamlessly from one activity to the next in the hope to increase our efficiency, productivity, and time. However, when was the last time we looked back on our day and analyzed where things went wrong or what we could have done better? Since we often do not make time for self-reflection, this has ultimately hindered our ability to discern. Consequently, this can prevent us from living our best lives and becoming the best versions of ourselves. For when we rely on our own strength, we are often bound for disaster.
For myself personally, it can sometimes seem like my day goes by so fast with all sorts of activities that God ultimately gets neglected. Even when I am doing activities for church, I can easily depend upon myself rather than surrender everything to God. Yet I am reminded again and again of how many problems arise in the process when I do not make space for God. For example, there were times when I got really stressed from all of my school work and then I would immediately go to another planned event. As a result, I would sometimes take out my stress on other people. I was not always conscious of how much damage or strain I was causing in my relationships until it was too late. As a result, I now recognize that it is important to take little breaks from all the craziness of life and reflect on my actions. Not only that, but it can be greatly beneficial to reflect on my schedule as well. After all, busy-ness can be a Christian killer.
So I would personally like to invite you to join me in an exercise about discernment. I want to help equip you with the tools necessary to analyze your own life so that you can lean into your best possible life. It is my hope that this exercise can show all of us how a little self-reflection can go a long way.
How To Engage In Discernment:
Scripture: Philippians 1:9-11 (NIV)
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
What is Discernment?
Discernment literally means "the ability to judge well."
Christian discernment, however, is the process of having God guide the individual to arrive at the best decision.
Discernment is also one of the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit. Yet it is important to remember that everyone has different spiritual gifts. Some of us may excel at discernment while others may need more help in this area.
So, How Do We Do It?
Make a list of all the worst things that have ever happened in your life.
After you have written your list, reflect on these four questions:
What type of context/situation were you in at that time?
What were you actively doing or not doing then?
What was your mindset/thinking in that season?
What kind of people were you around?
As you look at your list and reflect on the 4 questions above, try to see if you can notice any patterns (both positive and negative).
Surrender everything you have learned or do not yet understand to God in prayer. Sometimes we do not get huge revelations during these exercises, but we trust that God is still present and working.
Feel free to share about your experiences with others. It is important to share since we can see how God works in each other's lives. Additionally, God often blesses us so that we can bless others.
In order for our love to "abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight," we absolutely need to exhibit discernment. When we are not reflective about our actions, we are not able to love others effectively. Instead, we only seek to satisfy our love for the self. For only when we have our eyes focused on God are we able to let go of our own selfish desires and lay down our lives for others.
So, brothers and sisters in Christ, what is God saying to you today? How are you going to respond to God? How can you prioritize self-reflection and discernment in your daily life?
May God allow us to have the necessary courage and wisdom to see the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
* Please feel free to comment, ask questions, or share your prayer requests.