Faith-Informed Discernment: Asking the Right Questions

disž•cern•žment [dih-surn-muhnt] – noun – the aptitude of showing good or outstanding judgment and understanding (Dictionary.com)

quesž•tionž•ing [kwes-chuh-ning] – adjective – characterized by or indicating intellectual curiosity; inquiring (Dictionary.com)

College-life has a way of demanding growth by exposing one’s true identity. Simply, it has a way of helping students get real. Students are challenged and encouraged to think through the realities of their core values. What one believes has a direct correlation to a person’s actions. Therefore, it is important for a student to develop the “aptitude of showing good or outstanding judgment and understanding” (see aforementioned definition of discernment) so that direction in life becomes meaningful.

It has been said that the highest level of learning is evaluation – judging the value of information. The value of a Christian university is that students incorporate faith as life gets evaluated. Asking the right questions helps a person curiously explore and understand truth as they mature. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

Wired to Pursue

From the beginning of time, God has created our inner most being and made us wonderful and unique (Psalms 139:13-16). God desires for people to become whole, “mature, and complete not lacking in anything” (James 1:4). The maturation process is evident throughout the Bible in Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Peter, Paul, and John. Through a rather unconventional approach, David uniquely displays human development as God desires. It gives hope to fellow strugglers like me. Interestingly, through all of David’s painstaking wrongdoings, he is referenced as a man God sought “after his own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).

Social Science can help us understand the natural side of human growth, and provide insight into some of the hindrances to healthy development, but that is only one half of the equation. One must look not only to the natural side of human maturity, but the Supernatural or Spiritual dimension as well. Spiritual formation played a significant role in King David’s journey. Life’s questions must be addressed fully.

Not Intimidated by Questions

Remember, God is not intimidated by the questions. In this pursuit of truth, hopefully students discover that no one comes to a complete understanding without faith-informed discernment. However, it is important to ask the right questions.

Allow a metaphor of a tree to illustrate asking the right questions. It is essential to be deeply rooted, have a strong foundation, and bear much fruit/foliage. If a person stood under one of the beautiful oak trees on the UMHB campus, there they would find a phenomenal discovery hidden below the surface. Digging into the ground reveals a foundational root system that mirrors the reality of what is seen. In fact, just below the edge of its foremost extended branches are the tap roots that provide nutrition for the tree. Being deeply rooted allows our intellectual curiosity to beneficially stimulate our mind and soul rather than cause chaos through the pursuit of empty inquiry.

Think – Decide – Act – Live

The college experience will expose your heart and demand your growth. In pursuit of meaning and purpose, students must recognize the importance of faith-informed discernment. Through faith we follow Christ’s model. Therefore, we have a responsibility to think, decide, act, and live in a way that gives a correct opinion of our God. This will assist students in becoming mature and complete, fully developed, like David – after the heart of God.

Are you looking for a college where you can grow in your relationship with God and learn how to ask the right questions? The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor seeks to develop graduates who integrate Christian perspectives and attitudes into every dimension of life. For more information, we invite you to visit our website.
Dr. Byron Weathersbee

Dr. Byron Weathersbee

Dr. B serves as the Vice President for Student Life at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. He and his wife have written a book, Before Forever, to help individuals work through the “How do you know that you know?” marital questions.
Dr. Byron Weathersbee

Latest posts by Dr. Byron Weathersbee (see all)

Dr. Byron Weathersbee

About Dr. Byron Weathersbee

Dr. B serves as the Vice President for Student Life at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. He and his wife have written a book, Before Forever, to help individuals work through the “How do you know that you know?” marital questions.