As looked at in the last post, we know that the Bible reveals to us God’s basic story premise:
Our all-good God loves us and always wants what is good and best for us.
What does this mean for us? Unpacking God’s story premise gives us a couple more important foundations for our discernment:
1) God is good and always wants what is good. So whatever we are discerning must in itself be good; it must conform to God’s law. Our all-good God would never want us to do something morally wrong. God doesn’t contradict himself. When we are making a choice between good and evil, we are making a moral judgment or moral choice. This is different from discernment in the spiritual sense. God always want us to choose what is good.
2) God loves us as we are. Our Creator God wants what is good and best for us. Having created us in his own image, with intelligence and free will, God invites us to live our full potential, to “become our best selves” by loving fully and freely. While God will never violate our free will, evil in the world around us and our own tendency towards sin condition us to make choices that are not always truly free. This is why God sent his Son into the world. Jesus Christ is God’s “Yes!” to humanity, God’s “Yes” to the question of whether God loves us.
A big part of discernment—and why a good discernment often takes time—is our becoming interiorly free enough to receive God’s love. Receiving God’s love and letting it transform us means letting go of fear, guilt, outside pressures, or anything else that can distract us from God’s invitation and dream for us.
3) God is always, actively, seeking what’s best for us. The Gospel of John reminds us that God is love. For God, love is not a noun but an active verb. Whether we know it or not, whether we see it or not, God takes an active part in our lives. Because God is pure Being, whatever God wants is also what God acts to bring about. God doesn’t just drop us into the world and walk away. Jesus reminded us of this concretely at the Last Supper, when he promised to send the Holy Spirit, and that he would be with us always.
The Holy Spirit is God at work in the world around us and in the people around us, including family, friends, enemies, mentors. This means that: Authentic discernment always takes place within the context of this vibrant relationship with God. The more we seek out a vital connection with God, the better our discernment will be. True discernment means listening for how the Holy Spirit is speaking to us, how the Spirit is inviting us, how the Holy Spirit is acting in our lives. One of the key places where the Holy Spirit speaks to us is in the depths of our own hearts.