We begin an exploration of some of the things that discernment is…
Discernment is a disposition of the heart–a general life orientation. It is not so much figuring out God’s will in a given situation as it is a desire to do God’s will in any and all situations. Discernment is what we express when we pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Nancy Bieber has written a good, practical book on discernment entitled, Decision Making and Spiritual Discernment. This is precisely the point she makes in the book— that discernment is the search for God’s will in relation to our willingness to do it, once we know it.
This willingness, she writes, brings a new level of attentiveness into our lives, which creates a spirit of responsiveness. These three elements: willingness, attentiveness, and responsiveness enhance the entire discernment process. They are like the hidden infrastructure of a building, holding up the rest of the edifice.
Similarly, it is the disposition of our heart which is the prerequesite to discernment. It’s what the Bible has in mind in the phrase “incline your heart to the Lord.” As we do so, we position ourselves to be receivers of God’s revelation. This is where discernment begins—in the attitude which says, “Lord, I want to know your will.”v