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Spiritual Companionship: Discernment

Here is my grandson in action. He is five years old, tackling his first 100-piece puzzle by himself. Yes, one proud "Pappy" here. I love that boy, and you should see his sister!

Good puzzle enthusiasts start with the corners and border of the puzzle and then assemble the pieces. The picture defines the puzzle that is being assembled.

Discernment is a 'piecing together' regarding our big and little decisions and desired goals at the end of our lives. These pieces are different sources of knowledge to make the best choices about direction, guidance, and paths to a defined picture. As believers, the big and small decisions create a picture of a life of faith that reveals directional and pivotal moves our lives take. This wise way of seeing obscure things points us in a direction we see through the lens of faith. The desired end is to be close to Him, be like Him, and please Him. For believers, this is our journey. But each of our pictures will be unique and beautiful in its own way.

We all use discernment whether we call it that or not. We all are informed by the experiences, relationships, and circumstances we have gathered. For believers, our faith overlays these. We are informed by God's word, His Spirit living in us, and the community of faith we belong to as God leads, speaks, and guides us on our journey. Our faith is real and alive.

For puzzle enthusiasts, the corners are flag markers that settle our faith. These are movements that the individual can't deny, such as a salvation experience, a moment(s) when God's voice was so clearly heard, and, or a miracle a person experiences.

God's word is the border of this puzzle. This boundary holds our lives together, telling us who and what we are not. The picture of the puzzle is the scripture(s) that inform us what our lives are and how they are to look. This is important - 'What does the Bible say about my life?'

Each of us has a unique story under God's larger story for our lives, making each picture one-of-a-kind. There are plenty of pictures for us throughout the Bible.

For instance,

He is like a tree planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he does, he prospers.

Psalm 1:3

There are many others, such as, 'They will know you are my disciples for your love one for another,' 'Be a cheerful giver,' and 'Love one another as I have loved you.' The man who built his house on the sand or the rock. The narrow path vs the wide path. A teacher, evangelist, an encourager...the pictures are plentiful. Our lives are not random; instead, they are very intentional by the Creator.

God invites us to grow to these pictures for our lives in discernment—listening to God's word, stepping toward the truth of God's word, and meditating on God's word in a direction that brings these scriptures alive. It's life-giving! This is our way of life.

But finding life in the scriptures is not its purpose; instead, it is directional, a means to an end. Jesus told the Pharisees, "You search the scriptures because you think you'll find life, but you refuse to come to me." This is pivotal. The Pharisees knew the scripture back and forth, waiting for the Messiah, yet standing before them, they didn't recognize Him. If they can do that, we can do that in the very movements in our lives. We can miss God's movements in our lives. David says, in Psalm 16..."I continually put you in front of me, Lord."

Our walk with Christ is a personal and relational journey experienced within a community of believers. He speaks to us uniquely within the border of His word. He speaks to me in my story (puzzle pieces, unique shapes, and colors) with His story.

We see the picture from God's word for our lives, looking at our circumstances, relationships, and experiences as if holding a puzzle piece before us to see if the shape fits and the colors align to bring forth what God is leading us to become. As the sheep of His pasture, we know His voice, He calls us by name, and we follow Him. He speaks directly and personally into our lives, bringing forth what He has for us. It is beautiful. He is beautiful.

Holding the puzzle pieces (discernment ) can look like:

  • Reading scripture about the picture He has for your life

  • Silence and contemplation (think of water soaking into dry soil)

  • Sharing with others your considerations and listening to trusted insight

  • Pay attention to what gets your attention - consider deeply these obscure moments

  • Holding circumstances and decisions in prayer, keeping a gaze upon it to consider if it's something to let go of or if it stays laid upon our hearts

  • Noticing how God heals our past wounds and situations to bring renewed life

  • Paying attention to conviction over actions, words, and attitudes that don't look like Christ and making those right with God and others

As with any relationship, there is wrestling, figuring out the meaning and connection I have with another person, what they mean to me, and what I mean to them. In marriage, it is a continual discovery of my bride (joy). This is so much more with our faith in Christ (life). Faith is about relationships - who I trust, lean into, and believe. Journeying with Christ is daily, personal, direct, and life-giving. It is an adventure with an infinite God with a finite person of Him drawing out His picture in the life He has for me.

Once again - It is beautiful - He is beautiful!

What picture from the scriptures do you see for your life? How do the shapes and colors of your puzzle pieces fit together? What is He calling you to, and what is your first step in that direction? Perhaps you need time and space to reflect on how God guides you through prayer and explore your beliefs about your story and His story freely. It is my joy to walk with others on their journey, so feel free to reach out to me to meet and see if we fit what you are looking for.

Peace, my friends.


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