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A wise teacher once pointed out to me that most of the work of discernment is simply getting to the point where you desire God’s will. In other words, the hardest part of discernment isn’t sifting through the options and studying the relevant passages, the hardest part is doing, wanting, even eagerly wanting not my will but God’s to be done. What makes it hard is that to really desire God’s will requires a conversion of our hearts. And guess what? Conversion is not something we can do. Only God can do it. And so we need to call on and wait for God in discernment. 

Fruitful Discernment Starts with Remaining in Christ

That’s why, in Next Steps, we encourage churches to make use of Spiritual practices like fasting, prayer and study. Next Steps has other discernment tools, too: listening circles, fair process procedure, but it all starts with the heart.

In John 15, Jesus says, “If you remain in me and I remain in you, you will bear much fruit, but apart from me, you can do nothing.” We want fruitful discernment. But fruitful discernment can’t come from a community that is not remaining in Christ.

So, as you discuss and pray. As you sift through the options or study the relevant passages, as you try to understand how God is leading you to move forward with a tough issue, Next Steps encourages you to lay a foundation of remaining in Christ. 

Learn More

To learn more about how Next Steps can help your group desire and discern God’s will, check us out at

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