"A clean heart create for him, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit." Psalm 51:12
Renewal of Faith
"Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong. For who is able to govern this vast people of yours?" "
1 Kings 3:9
The word "discern" appears in the Bible over thirty times. It speaks of discerning right and wrong (Job 34:4) and discerning that we might understand God's command (Psalm 119:125).
People speak of discerning our gifts. When a person is considering what God might be calling them to (vocation), we speak of discernment. In order to understand what this means we must first understand what the word discern means.
Dictionaries define "discern" as to perceive by the senses or intellect or to have an insight. When we discern our our vocation, we are seeking an insight into God's plan for us. When we discern our gifts, we are seeking spiritual insight as to what gifts God has giving us and how we might be called to use them for the good of all God's people.
So, discernment is a process. Discernment ultimately culminates in a personal decision but it should not be done alone. There are several things we should do in discernment. The first is to pray. We pray that we may listen as God's reveals his plan to us. In discernment, it is also good to talk to others, to seek their advice at what our gifts are and how we might use them. It can also be a good idea to have a spiritual director. A spiritual director is a spiritual person, often a priest or religious, who we can meet with to share with them how we believe God is speaking to us. The spiritual director then helps us sort out what thoughts we have from God and what thoughts are not from God.
Resources for discernment