Week 1 – Four Strategies for Discerning God’s Will
Psalm 1:1-6; Matthew 1:1-25; Genesis 1:1-27
In 2023, the Ginghamsburg Church community is following the Bible in One Year reading plan. Anyone can download the Bible in One Year app and join the discussion in the comments below, or by joining the ginghamsburg facebook group and locating the Bible in One Year community chat. The following post is a reflection written by Ginghamsburg Church community member Martha Brown.
The most primitive organisms on this planet have something in common with us: they seek pleasure and avoid pain. הָגָה Hagah means to murmur either with pleasure or anger. It is translated as plotting in Psalm 2:1 but in our lives, it can simply be our simple (and problematic) process of discernment. Something pleases us and seems good at the time, so we decide to pursue it – like the woman in the Garden who ate and shared the desirable fruit with her husband. Something unsettles us and seems wrong, so we resist it – like John the Baptist balking at the impropriety of baptizing Jesus. Both Eve and John made errors of judgement because of their reliance on their own way of seeing.
So what is the remedy?
Here are four strategies for discerning God’s will:
1. Meditate on the Word of God, day and night, like the prosperous one who delights in God’s law
2. Heed warnings and signs like Joseph and the wise men paying attention to their dreams
3. Seek wisdom and instruction like the discerning ones praised in Proverbs
4. Pray and cry out to the Lord like the psalmists who go to God first
What is your discernment process like?
Are there any means of discernment that you over or under utilize?
Is there a decision you need to make in my life?
How can you more fully employ the four strategies of discernment listed above in my decision process?
Rules for discernment have been of interest to teachers in the church as well. Consider these simple rules offered to early Methodists.