Because every decision must be made in line with God's will, Christian spiritual discernment can be distinguished from other types of discernment. Christian discernment is defined as a decision-making process in which an individual discovers something that can lead to future action. God leads the individual through the process of Christian spiritual discernment to help them make the greatest decision possible. In Christian spiritual discernment, the greatest approach to arrive at the best option is to look for internal and outward indicators of God's action and then apply them to the situation at hand. Christian discernment also places a strong emphasis on Jesus and making decisions that are consistent with Jesus' teachings in the New Testament. Christian discernment differs from secular discernment in that it focuses on God and Jesus while making decisions. Ignatius of Loyola is widely regarded as a master of spirit discernment. Ignatian discernment is named after Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), who developed his own distinct method of Catholic discernment. Ignatian discernment focuses on perceiving God in all aspects of life and uses a series of Spiritual Exercises to help people make better life decisions. The Spiritual Exercises are intended to assist those who are confronted with a significant life decision. Identifying the issue, spending time to pray about the choice, making a wholehearted decision, discussing the choice with a mentor, and lastly trusting the decision made are the seven steps of discernment to be followed.
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How do you get spiritual discernment?
In Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Charismatic (Evangelist) Christian theology, the term “discernment of spirits” refers to appraising diverse spiritual agents for their moral influence. These are the agents:
The judgment required is to distinguish the cause of a specific urge, with the first and last being evil and the second and third being good.
Although some people are said to have a specific ability to sense this through intuitive light, the majority of people are thought to require study, introspection, and possibly the guidance of others.
There are two methods to make this decision. The first is through a charism, or spiritual gift, bestowed upon select individuals for the purpose of recognizing spirits through intuition (1 Corinthians 12:10). Reflection and theological research are the second approach to detect spirits. This second approach is acquired human knowledge, but it is always learned “with the assistance of grace, via the reading of the Holy Bible, works on theology and asceticism, autobiographies, and the correspondence of the most prominent ascetics.”
How do you pray for discernment?
Dear heavenly Father, you count our hairs and determine our days; you hang the stars and feed the birds; you open and close doors that no one can open or close. Surely, we can put our faith in you when it comes to making significant decisions, or any decisions for that matter. We're through a similar season right now, Father, and we're aware that we're not alone. For the sake of your honor, we will trust you with generous wisdom, straight roads, and quiet hearts.
We adore you for being the God of decision-making. It is your choices, not ours, that determine the outcome. We'll make plans, but we'll entrust our actions to you. We'll pray, but we'd like you to direct our prayers to heaven. We'll seek advice, but you may count on you to veto any incorrect or incomplete information from our closest friends and mentors. We'll read through the Bible, but not for proof passages, but for you, Father. All we want and need is for you to come along.
Free us from the paralysis of analysisdesiring to make the right decision more than being virtuous; desiring to be known as smart people more than knowing you. Free us from the idolatry of believing that there is just one “ideal” option in every scenario. Free us from making decisions based solely on our comfort and the approval of others, or out of fear of their condemnation. Allow us to understand that good decisions do not always result in the most straightforward outcomes, especially at first. Allow us to make decisions without second and twenty-second thoughts.
Father, we know that your will is our sanctificationour becoming more and more like Jesusin ALL things, whether it's wisdom about purchasing or selling, vocation or vacation, this place or that place, this person or that person. Give us this zeal; make it our pleasure.
So, Father, when we trust you with the opening and closing of doors in front of us, make us more and more like Jesus. Everything we eat and drink is for your glory, as are our whatevers, whenevers, and wherevers. Amen.
How many types of discernment are there?
Ignatius' criteria for discerning spirits are divided into four categories: (1) seven attitudes or personal qualities necessary for authentic spirit discernment, (2) three different “times” or conditions in which decisions are made, (3) seven practical techniques that can aid in the discernment process, and (4) some guidelines for determining whether a given inner movement or desire is from a good or evil spirit.
How do I grow in my spiritual gift?
It's all too easy to get caught up in the daily grind and forget how fortunate we are. You may maintain these positives in your mind by taking time in the morning (and again before you go to sleep at night).
Request that God continue to bless and protect you and your loved ones. This is also a good moment to ask Him for assistance in keeping your mind on His plan for your life. When we ask Him a question, we may find that we immediately see opportunities in front of us.
2. Study and Read the Bible
Consider your Bible to be a manual. The pages contain more information about how to live your life than you may realize. Proverbs and the letters to the churches (such as Ephesians and Philippians) instruct you on how to live a Christian life. Life lessons abound in the Bible.
The teachings of Jesus can be found throughout Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and then the teachings of the disciples may be found throughout the rest of the New Testament. The Old Testament tells you about Jesus' ancestors as well as stories of people who had strong faith. The more you grow in God's Word, the less external influences will cause you to stumble.
If you have the opportunity, try to delve thoroughly into a particular book, either in a group Bible study session or online, in order to gather some truth nuggets. This will also help you understand how this fact affects your life.
3. Find a group of believers who share your beliefs.
Depending on where you live, you might be able to find Christian groups that meet for a variety of reasons. Christian book clubs, Christian counseling groups, and faith-based exercise courses are examples of this.
There's a cliché that says you become like the five people you spend the most time with. Choose persons who have a deep relationship with God and can assist you in your spiritual development as a Christian.
4. Help Others
“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them,” Jesus stated in Matthew 7:12, “because this is the Law and the Prophets” (New King James Version).
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We've all heard the command, but how many of us actually do it? And what does it mean to serve others in order to get closer to God?
While on Earth, Jesus demonstrated how God wants us to live by caring for and serving others. Will people betray and injure us? Yes. They also harmed and betrayed Jesus. He continued to reach out to people and point them to God. We are feeding Jesus' chosen by feeding and clothing the destitute. “Feed my sheep,” Jesus stated to Peter after three times asking if he loved Him.
Please feed my sheep. It is our duty to look after others and to serve as the Lord's hands and feet. The key to a closer connection with God is obedience. “If you love me, observe my commands,” Jesus stated. (New International Version, John 14:15).
This does not, however, imply that if you are a victim of abuse, you must keep your arms in the fire. You can forgive others while maintaining a healthy distance from harmful connections. If you need assistance, talk to a Christian Counselor who can guide you toward a Christian lifestyle with healthy relationships.
5. Find out what spiritual gifts you have.
Each Christian has been given spiritual gifts, according to the Bible. Did you know that this can imply more than bodily healing and the ability to speak in tongues? Those are two of the most important biblical gifts.
You've also been given discernment, wisdom, faith, knowledge, and the fruits of the Spirit, which include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. Some of the gifts are related to your mission. You can improve these abilities by engaging in particular activities. You can focus on aligning your spiritual gifts with your purpose and serving others as a means of deepening your relationship with God if you are aware of the spiritual gifts that God has given you.
These are your innate abilities and characteristics. Do you enjoy assisting others, whether it's through home visits or meal preparation? Do you have a natural aptitude for teaching? Do you regularly share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others?
Other spiritual gifts that you may discover in yourself or others include:
- Are you the person that everyone looks to in a crisis? Are you more of a take-charge leader than a follower?
- Administration – Do you enjoy leading a church function when no one else is available? Are you prone to delegating duties and organizing groups and events?
- Does it concern you when someone reads Scripture out of context when you're teaching? Do you ever have the feeling that you could teach others about a particular subject?
- Evangelism – Do you often share the good news of Jesus Christ with others? Do you coach others on how to do the same?
- Shepherding – Can you educate or lead while caring for and serving others? Do you feel a sense of responsibility for the persons God has entrusted to your care?
- Prophecy – Do you believe the Holy Spirit gives you special insight into a person or a group of people? Are you confident in your ability to express Biblical truths?
- Do you prioritize serving the needs of others in your church and community when you serve? Do you enjoy working on projects that require you to be hands-on?
- Mercy Do you sympathize with those who are in pain and looking for solace? Is it possible for you to provide a safe haven for a friend who is grieving or in pain?
- Exhortation Do you offer practical, Bible-based advice to people? Can you see the bigger picture and propose answers to a problem?
- Giving – Do you go beyond tithes and offerings to find methods to financially help ministries? Do you spend your time and money anonymously in order to build God's kingdom rather than to “show off”?
Consider visiting with a Spiritual Development Counselor who can assist you in developing a strategy to further each of your gifts. You may focus on serving others while also achieving your purpose if you discover the top three gifts God has given you for ministry.
Everything will begin to seem aligned when you are experiencing a spiritual awakening of these gifts. Your relationship with God will improve as you continue to work on these. Find folks who share your passions and can serve as mentors. A person with the spiritual gift of teaching who also enjoys writing, for example, could collaborate with a Bible study author to create content for their church ministry.
Make a daily commitment to incorporate each of these into your spiritual development plan. Nothing matters more than your spiritual awakening and your relationship with God. We hope that as you grow in your spiritual life, you will be able to carry that confidence out into the world.
What are the 7 steps of discernment?
With an open mind and an open heart, we must approach the decision in question. We won't be able to discover God's will for us if we go into the decision-making process with a pre-determined outcome based on our own will, biases, and attachments, which Ignatius defines as an attitude of “I already have my mind made up, so don't confuse me with the facts.” Attachments are areas in our lives where we restrict our freedom and impose constraints on our choices. For example, I'll attend college wherever if it's within a day's drive of my parents' house.
Such generosity and openness take courage, because God may be calling us to do something tough, demanding, and risky. Giving up control and trustingly placing the decision in God's hands while seeking God's will over our own demands courage.