Spiritual Formation


“We need discernment in what we see and what we hear and what we believe.” — Charles R. Swindoll by Captain Stephanie Pavlakis

My understanding of discernment used to be limited to being able to decide whether a person was working for good or harm. While that is a part of discernment, true spiritual discernment is being able to recognize and listen to the will of God

When we encounter difficult situations we often wonder, “Why doesn’t the Bible tell me what I’m supposed to do here?” or “How do I know which way God really wants me to go?” Instead of practicing discernment, we jump to the option that sounds the more difficult and holy, or the option that is easier and more comfortable. Or sometimes, what will benefit us better in the long run. We might even open the Bible and put our finger on a word, then expect that to be the answer.

In truth, God has provided us a better way, and that is through the spiritual discipline of discernment. Through seeking the Lord, practicing love and representing Jesus, we can better develop our discernment abilities. Let’s start with the small things this month. Let’s practice discernment in all the little things so that when the bigger questions come up, discernment feels like second nature.

“And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you may approve the things that are superior and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ.”

Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV)

Going Deeper

1. Pray—Ask for Wisdom.

Not just a quick word or rushed prayer under your breath as you hurry into whatever the crisis is. This is about slowing down, taking time and truly asking the Lord for wisdom.

2. Listen—What is God telling me?

God doesn’t always give a clear answer, but He does always respond. More often, it is less about the situation and more about how I need to adjust myself. And when I adjust myself, I can better assess the situation from a lens of love.

3. Is this in line with Scripture?

The Word of God does not change. Does what you feel, prefer, or are being told match with the truths found in Scripture?

4. How do I best show love?

The greatest commandment is to love God and love others. Love is not being a doormat or always saying yes. Love is selflessly always wanting the best for others. When making a decision, we should always consider which response best shows love.

5. Does this lead others towards or away from Jesus?

The greatest way to show love is to introduce another to Jesus Christ or to help them grow closer to Him. Is your response a help or a hinderance in this?

“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him.”

James 1:5 (NIV)

Steps to Salvation

The Bible states that God loves you and cares for you as a person (John 3:16). Humankind has been separated from God by sin (Romans 3:23). God sent His Son as a provision for our salvation through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection from the dead (Romans 5:8). Doing good deeds is not enough (Ephesians 2:8-9), but receiving the free gift of salvation is (John 1:12).

You can invite Jesus Christ into your life right now by praying something like the following:

Dear God, I know I am a sinner. I need Your forgiveness and grace. I believe that Christ paid the penalty for my sin, and He died in my place, and He rose from the dead. I invite Jesus Christ to come into my life as Savior. Thank You for saving me from my sin and making me Your child. Help me to grow and learn how to serve You. Amen.

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