Paying Attention To God’s Voice – Discernment in Community (Leighton Ford)

Spiritual mentoring is not a program, or a technique, or a profession.  It is a calling and an art:  a calling to be discerning together in community and the art of listening to and with others in the presence of God.  The central mark of the community will be a commitment to help each other to listen:  to God, to our own hearts, and to each other.

Following are five elements of discernment, along with Scripture references for each. These can be used for personal study and meditation, in small groups, and among a group of friends who are committed to helping one another grow towards and like Jesus.

Personal and Community Discernment – 5 elements

  1. Scripture
    • Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
    • “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work. II Tim. 3:16-17
  2. Holy Spirit
    • “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.” John 14: 16-17
    • “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” John 14:26
  3. Stillness and Quiet
    • “Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
    • “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 14: 27
  4. Submission and Trust
    • “I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God– what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12: 1-2
    • “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.” Psalm 52:8
    • “Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8
  5. Community Listening
    • “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.” Romans 12:3-5
    • “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Acts 2:42 (koinonia/close relationship and sharing)
    • “but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” I John 1:7

 

Leighton Ford

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