Forty Days of Discernment
When Pilate was questioning Jesus, he asked a question for which we all still seek an answer: “What is truth?” (John 18:38 NIV, emphasis mine). This is what I hope you are seeking over the next forty days. Now, this is not about seeking any other truth that discounts Jesus. I pray you are fully committed to and framing your life after the truth that Jesus is the Kings of kings, Lord of lords, Master of all, your (and the world’s) Lord and Savior, and the way, truth, and life.
What will you be undertaking? What are the next steps—plain and simple?
I believe that when we have a decision to make, we come to a “burning bush” moment (see Exodus 3), where God is trying to get our attention to speak to us. God is saying how we live in relationship with him and how we should move forward with him for his work in the world. The question now shifts from “What is truth?” to “How is God calling me to best faithfully serve him and his people in the world?” In other words, “How is God making me to be more like Jesus and be part of his mission in this world?”
I tend to struggle with the patience needed to thoroughly discern (weighing out the best options). I believe that when I hear from God, I can trust I am making the right decision. But when it comes to big decisions that may require significant change, I am not as patient; therefore, I find myself living in a period of anxiety because I want to make a decision and move forward. I’d bet this describes you too, so this is a journey I invite you to take—to listen intently to the voice of God.
God tells Moses, “Take off your sandals, for the place you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5 NIV). I often tried to explain this as God telling Moses not to bring any “defiled” dirt or the past into his presence (or something like that), but something has made me stop and pay better attention.
We are always ready to move when we’re wearing our shoes (sandals). We have somewhere else to be. But God tells Moses, “This is where you need to be.” So take off your shoes and listen. Enjoy this moment. Allow the presence of God to change your life and life mission.
That is the purpose of this forty-day journey of discernment. I hope you will do your best to sit still and listen to what God has in mind. Be present and available to the one who is truth and who will lead you to truth.
This is not a journey to ask God to bless any decision we want to make. Instead, this is a journey to empty ourselves of our thoughts, desires, and plans and to submit everything to God (Proverbs 16) to best live into God’s calling on our lives. To do this, we need to understand and remember who God says we are.
“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now, if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites. (Exodus 19:4–6 NIV)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9–10 NIV)
I know there will be days when you will go into this time kicking and screaming, not wanting to be patient or do the internal work needed. But I am praying God will do his work and bring trust and clarity to your mind and heart.
Let’s pray: Gracious and holy God, here I am. I am trusting you for this journey of faith. May I be open to your Word and trust you completely with what you say and what you have in store. I am yours.