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Spiritual discernment and vocational counseling Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Dec 21st, 2019


Any person with the zeal to succeed in life has to make sound decisions on issues that concern his or her life. Decision-making is an important process that involves selecting among available alternatives the best factors that will have a great impact in one’s life. People have to face decisions on the careers to pursue, relationships, and work coupled with how they are going to spend their time effectively doing the right thing.

These are just some of the issues that call for decision-making skills. Having emphasized on the importance of the decision making process, a person needs to gather relevant information that will aid in discerning the right path to avoid doing anything absurd or wicked and not pleasing to the eyes of God. The decisions that we make in life should be aimed at deepening our bond with God as this aspect underscores the ultimate goal in life.

At this point, spiritual discernment comes in as it underlines the decision-making process that Christians can use since it helps them to overcome their own personal will in life (Liebert, 2008) and make great decisions that are in line with the will of the almighty God.

Spiritual discernment is the ultimate secret weapon that can be used by Christians who are interested in drawing closer to the Lord as they progress in life as it guides them to make the most informed decisions that align them with the will of God.

Personal position

Making a decision on the career that you are going to take is very critical as this move determines the kind of life that you are going to live on earth before going to meet with your maker. Unfortunately, in the society we live in, most people have not been taught on decision making especially on issues concerning vocational calling (Bieber, 2010). From my point of view, when making career decisions, Christians should be guided by certain factors with the main one being prayerful.

In the decision-making process, sparing some time to invite God through prayer affects the outcome of the decisions that you make. By telling God your greatest desires and showing that you need Him in making decisions, He enlightens you on the best decisions that you can make, as the Lord is interested in every aspect of our life. God may not speak to us directly, but through circumstances that will guide us in making good decisions (Horton, 2009).

Praying helps us in getting closer to the Lord, which enables us to discern different ways in which He communicates to us and this aspect is the perfect guide in making the appropriate decision when choosing a career path. The importance of prayer is undisputable as it also helps in defeating the devil that can lure Christians to career choices that will lead them to committing sins which is against the will of God (Wilkie & Cannon, 2006).

Another aspect that needs to be put into consideration in making decisions on a career is the person’s interest. There is a need to identify your interest and compare them with the available careers. Having sought for God’s guidance in selecting your career, His will leads you to the right career that is aligned to His will.

Discernment involves making decisions and God’s purpose for us is to bless us abundantly though He does not have a definite plan for each person, as He wants us to make our own decisions on the kind of life that we want to live. Therefore, there is a need to know what interests you as an individual as it will guide you in making the most important decisions in life. In addition to your interests, finding out your strengths and weaknesses will play a pivotal role in making a decision concerning your career.

By knowing your personal interests, strengths, and weaknesses, it is easier to know the career that will draw you either closer or further to serving the Lord. These are factors that many Christians ignore when making decisions on the career path they are going to take.

As a Christian, one is supposed to associate with people who believe in the word of God and can offer good advice. God had a reason for bringing such people in your life and you should utilize this opportunity. Young people tend to think that they are more knowledgeable than elders are; hence, they end up making poor decisions in the career choice. This trap can be easily avoided by seeking some advice from elders as they may have a better experience in life.

Ask them on the best available careers that you can join and continue to serve the Lord faithfully. Seeking wise council from elderly people around empowers the youth with useful information on the competition in a certain field. Based on the new information acquired, they can make the right career choice.

However, as a Christian, you should not let other people’s guidance together with their opinions and philosophies about certain careers solely guide you in making your decision, as you are the custodian of your own destiny. At this point, you should rely on sound judgment, as God wants us to be good decision makers so that we can have some impact in the world.

Another factor that should be put into consideration when making a career choice decision is the bible. This life guide is so far the best book that has been written in the history of humanity. Christians can rely upon the bible when making career decisions as it guides them to know the will of God.

By knowing what is important to God, the process of choosing a career becomes less tedious as the light of the scriptures guides it. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand God’s revealed will in the scriptures and thus Christians can reach the ultimate goal of spiritual discernment.

Based on the factors stated above, the spiritual discernment approach I am likely to follow is the wisdom approach rather than the bull’s eye approach. The school of thought of wisdom approach is the most relevant as it shows that we should utilize whatever talents that God has given us. God love for humankind is unconditional and this assertion was demonstrated when He sacrificed His only beloved son Jesus who came to save us from sin.

However, He gives us the opportunity to make decisions on our own as making decisions in a Christian life leads to spiritual maturity and getting closer to God. Even in the bible, Jesus’ disciples were tasked with making life-changing decisions that would affect their livelihoods for the rest of their lives. Jesus asked them to decide whether to follow Him or to stay back and continue living with their families. Deciding to follow Jesus was a turning point, as they became fishers of men rather than fishers of fish.

By being thoughtful and prayerful, the disciples helped to convert many non-believers to believe in Christ and they are reserved a place in heaven. On the other hand, one of the disciples made a bad decision by becoming greedy and thus he betrayed Jesus by accepting money.

In addition, there is the parable of a man in Mathew 25:14 who called his servants, put his wealth on them, and asked them to utilize their talents to make more money. Each one of them made his decision and when the master returned, they were rewarded depending on how they had they had utilized their talents.

These examples are not in line with the school of thought of bull’s eye approach, which speculates that God has a perfect plan for all of us. God is powerful and can use His supernatural powers to make decisions for us, but instead He allows Christians to make their own personal decisions for them to grow spiritually and make the best choices. This aspect explains why even being saved and deciding to serve the Lord is a personal decision.

Wisdom approach encourages Christians to utilize the talents, strengths, and wise council that God has blessed them with, as such are the guiding factors that can help one in making the right kind of decisions. God provides us with these gifts for He wants us to make informed decisions that will be of great benefit to us in the future. In Jeremiah 29: 11, the Holy Scriptures record that God has great plans to make us prosper and that is reason why He blesses us with various gifts.

As wisdom approach school of thought is further divided into two categories, viz. Pragmatic Christian Wisdom Emphasis and biblical Wisdom Emphasis, I tend to agree more with the biblical wisdom emphasis.

The wisdom that is contained in the bible cannot be replaced by any other source as it is the guiding factor and it enlarges the reasoning of Christians on knowing the will of God and putting biblical principles into practice. As the biblical wisdom emphasis suggests, no sound decision can be made without either the teachings of the bible or our own critical thinking.

Past and present influences

Having come from a Christian family, I was taught on Christianity and the importance of reading the bible as it is the book of life. Being a Christian, as I grew up I discovered many situations in life that called for responsible decision-making.

At one point, I even wondered how the Bible could be a guiding factor for me in making a career choice, as no verse indicates careers that I could take to be prosperous. After struggling for some time with this problem, I decided to seek spiritual guidance from my parents though I was not sure if it could help. The kind of advice that I got from my parents was my turning point, as it pushed me to read the bible and pray for revelation of the scriptures from the Holy Spirit.

That is when I realized my purpose in life was not merely to choose a career that would make me super rich, but to choose a career in line with the will of God. The Bible was my guiding factor as it helped to realize that God had blessed me with various gifts that I could to determine the right career to choose. By listening to the wise counsel of my folks and regularly reading the bible, I realized that in the past, I had been praying to God and craving to hear immediate response from Him.

Therefore, I failed to notice that the Lord was actively involved in every aspect of my life and He wanted me to make the right decision concerning my future. This revelation made me to realize the benefits of combining biblical principles with spiritual guidance from the elderly members of the society as they had more experience compared to me.

From my experiences over the past few years, I have discovered that in the spiritual world, there is a battle going on and Satan is actively involved in misleading me into making the wrong decisions. However, by communicating to the lord through prayer, I have emerged a winner by avoiding making the wrong decisions.

To me, prayer has been very effective in my decision making process as I get wisdom from God to know that the basic tools of spiritual discernment are my head and heart. Being prayerful and reading the bible has also aided me in growing spiritually a situation that has entirely enhanced my decision making process fulfilling my purpose on earth.

Practical application

My advice as a counselor would greatly help one in making a decision on choosing the right major to pursue. Firstly, I would make it clearly known to her that God’s purpose for us is to show us the right choice among the many available options. God had a reason for guiding her to the university to pursue the course she is undertaking. He is with us in every step of our life with the main reason being to help us in making free personal decisions.

After this assurance to her, I would seek to find out what inspired her to change her mind coupled with the feeling that pursuing the major was not the will of God. If it were just a feeling or intuition that by pursuing the major it would not be the will of God, then I would tell her to reconsider her decision.

Our intuition cannot be the guiding factor in determining whether the decision we make is in line with the will of God as our inner thoughts can misguide us if we are not careful for such thoughts are informed by fear and doubt or emotions. I would also seek to know whether somebody had advised her on the same.

If someone had advised her, I would seek to know how well he or she knows the field to convince her that it was not the will of God for her to pursue that major. It is important to know that even elders and spiritual advisors can mislead people in making the wrong decisions in life. Further, I would advise her to read the bible and pray for wisdom from God, as the situation could still need some spiritual view.

My personal position would be to aid the client in making her decision, as I would be more informed than the client is on decisions that concern choosing careers that are in line with the will of God. By sharing what I know and times when I had to make critical decisions, I would be in a better position to convince the client to make an informed decision.

Reference List

Bieber, N. (2010). Decision Making and Spiritual Discernment: The Sacred Art of Finding Your Way. Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishers.

Horton, D. (2009). Discerning spiritual discernment: Assessing current approaches for understanding God’s will. The Journal of Youth Ministry, 7(2), 7-31.

Liebert, E. (2008).The Way of Discernment: Spiritual Practices for Decision Making. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

Wilkie, A., & Cannon, N. (2006). The Discerning Heart: Exploring the Christian Path. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

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