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Godly Decision Making

We must understand the dynamics of discernment

Cultivate solitude as a time for listening to God around these and similar questions. Jesus himself set aside times of solitude for intense prayer and listening at important choice points in his life. The very beginnings of his public ministry came as a result of listening to the voice of his Father affirm his identity as the beloved Son (Matthew 3:13-17). Matthew 4 describes how he was driven into the wilderness to struggle with subtle temptations regarding his calling. In Luke 6 we observe Jesus' choice to spend the night alone in prayer before making his decision about who he would choose as his disciples—certainly one of the most important decisions of his life in ministry. Luke 22 describes another night spent in solitude, when Jesus struggled mightily with his calling to go to the cross; he did not stop until he had wrestled all the way through it and was ready to do the will of God.

Since Jesus, who was already so intimate with God, felt the need for solitude relative to discerning and doing God's will, it is certain that we need it as well. We only want people at the leadership table who practice solitude and silence as a place for hearing God's voice relative to decisions they face and who are open to incorporating this into their leadership discernment as well.

Identify and work with options. At some point in the discernment process a way forward starts to become clear. There may even be a couple of options that seem equally good. Go ahead and identify those as clearly as possible and even improve them or combine them into one option that combines the best of both. Now God invites us to make a choice—at least privately—and to once again rely on the inner experience of consolation and desolation by seeking inner confirmation. We can take some time to live with our choice privately and see whether there is a sense of rightness about it, a sense of being in harmony with oneself—the person God created me to be and I want to be. We can take several days to walk around as if we have made a certain decision and notice where there is the greatest level of life and sustaining energy. (If there are two equally good options, walk around for a few days as if you have made one decision, and then do the same for the other.)

July24, 2012 at 8:38 AM

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