"I am with you always"

Spirit of Discernment

HEARING FROM GOD

God is still speaking. God speaks to us through Scripture, prayer, the communion of the saints, and the circumstances of our life.

Hearing the Voice of God requires stillness and silence. We live in a frenetic world of ceaseless activity and constant noise. Hearing the Voice of God requires that we make sacred time and empty space in our lives. We have to learn how to seek solitude so that we have room in our lives for God.

Hearing the Voice of God requires a knowledge of Scripture. The Bible is the primary tool that we use to discern the will and wishes of God. The Bible teaches us to recognize God's Voice. Through a meditative, slow reading of Scripture (lecto divina), we can hear the Voice. We should go to the Bible not so much for information with the learning of facts, but transformation as we hear the Voice.

Hearing the Voice of God requires humility. We must be quick to acknowledge that we do not know all that we could or need to know. We must desire the Voice of God the way that a barren desert desires rain. We must be willing to let go of prejudices and preconceived ideas that can prevent us from hearing the Voice.

Hearing the Voice of God requires a spirit of obedience. Disciple One Bible Study taught that God does not reveal God's will to the curious, but to the obedient. We must choose obedience first and then God might be pleased to reveal God's will to us. God does not reveal God's will to the curious, but to the obedient. We have to say 'yes' first and then hear what God requires of us. Often God just gives us enough guidance to take the next step even though we would like to see the whole path before us before we start the journey. Henri Nouwen wrote that we must have "an evergreen openness to let the spirit of Jesus blow in us where it pleases" (Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life, HarperOne, 2013).

We live in a complicated, contentious age when we desperately need God's guidance. May you pray for our upcoming United Methodist General Conference that will take place May 10-20 in Portland, Oregon.

Find more information on the General Conference here.