Have you ever heard of the Spiritual Discipline of Guidance? Well, if you haven’t, that makes two of us. As I was studying this week, I was curious about what Richard Foster meant by the Discipline of Guidance. Even after I read his chapter on it, I was still a bit foggy as to exactly what he meant by it. Foster did a great job of explaining what he meant, and gave many great biblical examples of what he was trying to get at, yet, I still was a bit puzzled.
Essentially, what Foster is saying about Corporate Guidance is that we come together as Christians and seek God’s will for our lives. That together we can help each other out in discerning what God wants us to do. He gave great examples from the Apostles, when they needed to discern who they were going to send out with Paul and Barnabas. Also when they needed to fill the spot that was left vacant by Judas. Other examples of times in the church when the community needed to come together to make a decision. He pointed to a time in Israel’s history when they collectively said to Moses that he had to be the one speaking to God and be a messenger instead of them hearing directly from God himself.
Yet, seeing all these examples, I was still left wondering about this as a spiritual discipline. The more I did some research and listening to other sermons, I came across one that has helped me in shaping the message for this week.
As we continue to look at the disciplines, I can see how this is a discipline. The more and more that we shape our lives after God, the more and more we try to align ourselves with his will. When we do this as an individual, it is difficult to keep in check the fact that we can easily convince ourselves that what we are doing is God’s will, even if it means it is going contrary to God’s will. As a church we can help each other out when it comes to life decisions. If we use this as a discipline, we can help each other seek God’s will. We can use the other disciplines to help us in this discernment process: We can pray together. We can study scripture together. We can spend some time in fasting and silence listening for God to speak. We can worship together to hear God speaking and shaping us.
We live in a culture where we are left to make many choices on our own. We often look for different resources to help us in our decision making process. Unknowingly, we are actually looking for guidance in different areas, when we have such a wonderful resource of a church community. We can come together to help each other discern God’s will. As we grow in God’s likeness, we align ourselves with him, and our lives reflect the fruit of the Spirit living in and through us!