Discerning Church Learning to discern the movement of God's Spirit


Church work is hard work. Sometimes the right answer in a given situation is unclear. The complexities of personal relationships, varying philosophical or theological viewpoints and perceptions of particular encounters can be overwhelming. As a pastor or church leader, we find ourselves making our best guess and hoping that it all turns out OK.

In light of this dynamic, Solomon is a fantastic resource. He is touted as the wisest man who ever lived. We are fortunate to have his writings as a part of Scripture. In Proverbs, Solomon personifies wisdom.

(Proverbs 4:6 NIV) Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.

Thinking of wisdom in this way is intriguing. It helps us understand wisdom as outside of us. It is not something within us, rather its existence is beyond us. We must call on her and seek her. Solomon continues,

(Proverbs 4:7 NIV) The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

This might seem a bit redundant. Yet the point is clear. To be wise is to seek wisdom. We must be willing to get it at any cost. But how do we attain wisdom? Can we buy it at a store or order it on the Internet? Hundreds of years later, James writes,

(James 1:5 NIV) If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

While this might appear simplistic, this core recognition is essential. Wisdom is not something that we can manufacture. It is from God and is, in fact, generously distributed to those who ask.

What do we do when we find ourselves in complicated circumstances? We seek God and ask for His wisdom. How can we navigate the convoluted jumble of problems we face? Only God can offer pathways. May we learn to call on the wisdom of God to aid our course of action. We will, at times, find ourselves in what seem to be no-win situations. Yet we can be assured that we serve a God who will provide. I need to be continually reminded of this truth.