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01
Dec

Discernment

Posted by on in General Secretary's Blog
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Are we not all grateful that the Holy Spirit bestows gifts on the followers of Jesus Christ? These gifts are meant to equip and empower us both to make responsible decisions and to fulfill our   vocations effectively. Through the service we offer, we contribute to the welfare of humankind and all creation to the glory of God.

Hardly is any gift more precious than the gift of spiritual discernment. By exercising this gift, we can become confident we are leading our lives in a manner pleasing to God. The pursuit of obedience to the heavenly vision God gives requires us to make important decisions about how, when and where to serve.

The decision-making process requires our command of the facts surrounding the matter or matters around which our decision revolves. This may require much time for research, study and reflection. Yet, we need to make every effort to ensure we are not proceeding on premises that are incorrectly perceived and interpreted.

Beyond a command of the relevant facts, sound decision-making requires us to clarify the validity of the loyalties that influence the decisions we make. Christians ought to eschew values such as egoism, opportunism, cultural imperialism and materialism. God wants us to act on pure motives and to employ means that reflect a character that is formed by the Gospel and nurtured through the exercise of submission to the Holy Spirit. Besides, God calls us to engage in action that signifies our ongoing growth toward maturity in Christ Jesus.

Christians do well to consider the alternative courses of action when they have major decisions to make. They should question whether the option they are inclined to follow is influenced by values that are inimical to the Gospel. Furthermore, through prayer, sometimes fasting, they should search for the option that best advances their considered convictions about what God desires not only for them, but also for others.

Only after this kind of considered process should one accept or bring to an end the opportunity to engage in vocational commitments. If Christians adhere to this process, they can take actions that rest on a true discernment of the will of God. Their concern to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, their endeavor to be faithful to Christ, and their patient search for the will of God elucidate the paths before them.

When this happens, peace floods your soul and joy captivates your spirit. With equanimity, you can go your way in peace. Although greater confidence about what is God’s will for a particular situation resides in retrospective reflection, we can find enough light to guide our path and to free our minds when we walk the tortuous road of decision-making.

Let us, in all our ways, acknowledge God, who will direct our path (cf. Proverbs. 2:6).

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Neville George Callam, a Jamaican, has been serving as general secretary and chief executive officer of the Baptist World Alliance since his election in Accra, Ghana in 2007.

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