Courageous Enough to Discern


By:  Dr. John McKellar

Co-Pastor, White’s Chapel UMC

East District

“Let discernment be your trustee, and mistakes your teacher.”

― T.F. Hodge –

Beyond all the books and formulations, as we seek to witness, we do not have to come up with a strategy or a plan of what to do or say.  Foremost, we need to be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and courageous enough to discern what God is trying to say to us (and through us).  Every day in life, thoughts, ideas and plans crowd our brains.  An age-old question is:  How many of these come from me and how many are God planted?  An ability to discern what God is saying is a primary gift of the Holy Spirit.  Hours before the cross Jesus made his followers an astounding promise.  He said, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you” (John 14:26).


So, how do we practice discernment?


Line up our thoughts with Scripture.  Is this consistent with the message that Jesus gave us?  Is this idea about me or about helping others?  Does this help us love in a more sacrificial way?  Is the kingdom of God enhanced with this idea?

Talk to trusted advisers.  Other people may see things we cannot and point out ideas that can enhance our vision.  They can ask the tough questions and join us in prayer – seeking God’s wisdom.  Surrounding ourselves with people who will be honest with us is a key ingredient in discernment.

Trust inner spirit.  God has given us all a conscience and an ability to reason.  Sometimes a thought just doesn’t feel right.  Learn to trust that inner voice, even when (especially when) it tells us what we don’t want to hear.

Does this idea scare me?  Too often we want to play it safe and have assured victories.  God has a way of stretching us and giving us dreams that seem impossible.  God wants us to rely on Him and nor merely on our own strengths.  


The Holy Spirit will guide us through the process of discernment.  We need to allow Proverbs 16:9 guide our journeys in life: The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.”

 O, God, help us to be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and go where You lead us.  We confess that we are not smart enough or talented enough to know what to do.  But, if we will put ourselves in your hands, and listen for your call, You will direct our steps.  Give us the wisdom of discernment, and the courage to follow where You send us.  Amen.





February 19th, 2021 – Waco, TX – 9:00-3:30