Ministry Musings: Discernment is Not (3)

Today we explore the fact that discernment is not the opposite of what you want to do.

I don’t know how the notion God started that God’s will is opposite to our will.  Of course, there are times when it is, but I do not believe that is the norm.

Instead, I believe that most of the time God’s desire and your desire overlap—sometimes completely, often significantly.  I say this because a Christian’s desire is to do God’s will from the outset, so how can we assume that our will is always contrary to God’s will?  The truth is, our hearts are already disposed to do the will of God, so we can trust the impressions that come to us.

This does not mean our initial inclinations are automatically and/or always God’s will.  We have to ponder what we perceive, and we may need to take our impressions to trusted mentors and friends in the larger community.

All I want to say today is that we must not rule out the connection between God’s desires and our desires.  As Parker Palmer has said, “God takes your life seriously,” so we must take them seriously as well.

Often, we will find that doing God’s will means doing what we have wanted to do.  There is nothing wrong with that.

About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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3 Responses to Ministry Musings: Discernment is Not (3)

  1. Judith Warren-Brown says:

    Thank you for this post. I needed to read that today.

  2. Bill says:

    This is a helpful and encouraging point. It seems to me that if God’s will (big picture) is that all of creation exist harmoniously and sin-free (i.e. in a state of shalom), then part of that will be human desires lining up effortlessly with God’s desires. It would not be the norm that they would conflict. Thanks for the thought-provoking post!

  3. Jim Bradshaw says:

    I concur. I believe one of the best points of counsel to give to those beginning to consider what they want “to do” with their life is to pursue their interest. For example, what should I major in college? What interests you? Even though that may not be what you do the rest of your life… it will help you towards it. This also presumes that one’s will is under the One will of God concerning His Kingdom.

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