All Christians yearn to live at the center of God's will. But how to discern his will is an art that eludes many of us. And the advice we get often conflicts. Some tell us to look for a divine "blueprint" - the one perfect plan for our lives that we need to find. We are encouraged to search the Scriptures and hunt for signs, trying to uncover the map of our lives that God has drawn. Others have rejected the blueprint school of guidance for the "wisdom school." With minds renewed by the teaching of Scripture, we are to develop the wisdom necessary to make wise choices. We are told not to expect that there is just one answer to God's will for every decision we face. Several may be possible.
The difficulty with both approaches, writes Gordon Smith, is that they minimize the presence and voice of God in times of choice. Instead, he argues for a third way. He suggests that we develop discernment as a spiritual discipline. By stressing the personal aspects of growing in our relationship with God, we can understand his will, not just in times of crisis but throughout our daily lives.