Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How to Discern What God Wants You to Do

Trail to the river in my backyard.

What does God want you to do? Henri Nouwen writes: 

"God has a very special role for you to fulfill. God wants you to stay close to his heart and let him guide you. You will know what you are called to do when you have to know it." (Nouwen, Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life, p. 97)

This is counter intuitive in our culture, and obvious in God's kingdom culture.

In our culture we are told to figure this out for ourselves, or get career counseling which hopefully will point us in a direction.

Nouwen's counsel is different. God will tell you what to do if you stay close to him. For all of us who believe in God this makes sense. Yet it is radical in church life, since many focus on figuring out what to do without emphasizing, in the first place, staying close to God's heart.

1. Stay close to God. (Abide in Christ.)
2. Listen and discern.
3. Follow.

All this is "the Lord is my shepherd" stuff. God desires to guide me in this life and will guide me as I stay close to his heart.

You can read about discerning the voice of God in my new book Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.