Ministry Musings: Discernment is Not (2)

We continue to look at what discernment is not….

It is not “static”—it is not an “it.”

When we discern the will of God, we have not captured something.  The will of God is dynamic—alive—ongoing.

One thing leads to another.  Accurate and faithful discernment will create a new platform for subsequent discernment.  Or to say it another way, our previous discernment will inform and direct our current and future discernment.

We must not look at discernment as a series of isolated events.  All our actions in carrying out God’s will create a “deposit” of experience, learnings, and knowledge.  From these, we face new moments of discernment with the accumulated wisdom they give us.

What we discover is that God leads us little-by-little.  Each step is an experience in its own right, but it is also part of a larger journey.  Our ability to discern God’s will in the future is always related to the ways we have done so in the past.

This does not mean that God is obligated to lead us in the future exactly as in the past, but it does mean that what we have previously learned about the will of God will help us as we face new needs to do so.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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