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Leaders Who Are Discerning

If you don’t know how God is leading you, you won’t know how to lead others
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This simple truth is easily lost in the press of church and organizational life. We rarely hear leaders ask what love might be calling them to do in the context of making major decisions. We can often detect a slow drift—imperceptible at first—from serving people to using them, from loving people to doing what is expedient, from being honest with them to spinning truth ever so slightly. By the time we notice how far we have drifted from this most basic aspect of God's will, we are in very dangerous waters!

The good news, of course, is that the Holy Spirit has been given to us to provide in-the-moment guidance for understanding the demands of love in the particularities of our situation. When seeking to discern God's will, it helps to keep before us the question of what love requires, and then create space for listening to what the Spirit says in response.

The fifth building block is that we are committed to doing the will of God as it is revealed to us. It does no good to discern the will of God if we are not committed to doing it—but sometimes that's the hardest part! Chuck Olsen and Danny Morris note, "The question of willingness must be answered before the process of discernment begins: Are we willing to do God's will even before we know it? Or do we prefer to play games with God by saying, ‘God, show me your will and if I like it, I will do it.' Spiritual discernment is not a game, and playing games with God leads to nothing but frustration."

Jesus is very clear that "whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother" (Matthew 12:50; Mark 3:35). As we are faithful to discern and then actually do the will of God, we become the intimate family of Jesus.

Taken from Pursuing God's Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups by Ruth Haley Barton. Copyright 2012 by Ruth Haley Barton. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, PO Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515. www.ivpress.com.

September17, 2012 at 8:00 AM

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