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In his book, Listening to God in Times of Choice: The art of discerning God’s Will, Gordon Smith focuses on helping the reader become receptive to the Lord. He outlines and explains how one can abandon our entire self to the love and goodness of God. He explains how when we are open to God, He gives us His grace and helps us recognize His voice during times of decision. As we learn to do this, our confidence grows and we can experience the fullness of Him. We give our control to Him and accept what God allows as well as His timing.
We are able to make our own decisions, however, when we relinquish ourselves to God, we seek Him and He meets with us. He sometimes communicates very specifically. Seeking God requires a personal relationship with him, which is often complex, but positions us to be transformed by Him as we give ourselves to Him. As we have a close relationship with God, He gives us discernment to encounter His will and purpose. Discernment gives us the opportunity to deepen that relationship so our decisions come out of our closeness with God. We will not get the clear answers we might want, but a deep assurance that we are living in response to God. Gordon talks about the importance of listening. In listening, God speaks to us in regards to our situation. He helps us through the things we are going through.
The foundation of our learning to hear God is to grow and develop discernment. This happens through prayer and communion with God. We need to keep alert to the areas that we can become deceived. Learning to hear God takes time that many people are not willing to take. In the process of stepping aside from the busyness of life, we are able to focus, thank God, mediate, forgive others and confirm our allegiance to Christ. This, followed by silence, allows God to speak.
This book is probably the most influential book in my coming to a full understanding and in motivating me to grow and develop in my discernment and to be still and quiet before God so that I could hear Him. It helps me understand how I need to shut everything out and listen. It gives me a strong perspective of how God allows hurt and difficulty and how He speaks through those times. I plan to spend more quiet time and to really seek growing in the area of discernment. I’m ready to be still, to hear so that I can know His will.
Listening to God in Times of Choice: The Art of Discerning God’s Will
InterVarsity Press, 1997