Proverbs 18:15 (NIV)
The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.
So few words, yet such a profound teaching!
Discernment is that elusive thing that we all seek. It is the process of being able to gain wisdom, direction and spiritual guidance from several sources. Scripture reading, prayer, and conversations with fellow seekers are usually the best places for discerning something.
Discernment allows us to grasp and obtain knowledge or insight that helps us in our daily living. Whenever we are in a planning, contemplating, preparing, or envisioning phase of life, discernment is that God-connector that helps us tap into HIS perspective on the matter and make it our own.
When I was discerning my call to ministry, it took a full two years to realize it in its fullest. A single remark by a former pastor was all it took to begin the process, and much scripture reading and prayer (mostly in the form of “you’ve GOT to be kidding”) brought me closer. But it was the comments of others that finally brought me to that AHA moment of clarity.
Lack of discernment leads us down very wrong paths. I have seen firsthand what a lack of discernment can do to a family trying to raise teenagers, to marriages, and to ministries that haven’t been thought out. A colleague and I just had a good laugh at a rather rash conclusion I had come to last year and was just proved totally wrong. Looking back on it, I had based my conclusion on a few external criteria rather than spend some time in proper discernment. God obviously had a better plan!
I love how this proverb connects the heart to the discerning process. Surely it is a matter of using the heart rather than the mind to increase your perception on an issue. Some call it our “sixth sense,” and the lovely thing about it is that discernment allows us to access the higher powers of God, who already knows the right thing to do.
The challenge for us is to WAIT. This truly is a “wait upon the Lord” situation. Words spoken in haste and anger, decisions made without proper and thorough contemplation, and assumptions made without investigation will thwart the methodical discernment process.
Isaiah 40:31 The Message (MSG)
27-31 Why would you ever complain, O Jacob,
or, whine, Israel, saying,
“God has lost track of me.
He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind.
Indeed, God doesn’t come and go! God LASTS. Those who wait upon him get fresh strength, real answers, proper direction, and they spread their wings and soar like eagles. So if you are trying to figure something out today, pray, read, talk, and most of all, WAIT.
Sunrise Fishermen by Michelle Robertson.