A Process for Discernment
The Quakers have a fourfold way of guidance to help people seek God’s will for their lives, especially when stuck or not sure if to proceed with something. And where these four harmonize, they feel it is safe to say it is God speaking.
- Is it in line with Scripture and its principles? Chances are, God will not ask you to walk up to somebody and punch them in the face. Much of our clarity will come through Scripture, but for times when there is still no clear direction or a difficult point is not settled, the other ways here can be sought out.
- Providential Circumstances–What doors are opening or closing in your life? How does your current situation help or hinder what God may be calling you to do?
- Common Sense–Is the new call something that is within your abilities (though it may stretch you beyond your comfort zones!). Might it be unhelpfully disruptive to existing primary relationships or stage of family life?
- Inner Promptings of the Holy Spirit–How do you sense the Holy Spirit at work? What inner prompts, words, pictures, themes are forming? Is there an inner sense of enthusiasm or peace as the path unfolds?
It is important to look for the harmonization of all of these since we can have inner promptings from somewhere other than the Holy Spirit. Common sense alone is obviously not enough. Open doors alone do not always mean it is God’s path for you. But test each one along with the other three.
Some add a fifth dimension–Other People’s Perception–what do your mature Christian friends have to say about the possibility you are considering?
In the Name of Jesus,
Soli Deo Gloria