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Spiritual Formation

The Discerning Leader Guide


Incline Your Ear

November 14, 2019
By Joshua Stines

Photo by evening_tao -



In a passage of scripture I read this past week, the writer compels the hearers/readers to “incline your ears” to the Word of God (Ps. 78:1 NASB). As I was thinking about this in the context of hearing and responding to God’s voice, I realized two things: (1) God is always speaking to us, and (2) there are some specific things we have to do to put ourselves in the best position to hear God’s voice. 

One of those things is taking time to just stop. This week, many of our normal routines have been put on pause for student conferences. So the idea of stopping has been on my mind. I have been asking myself, "How often do we miss out on God’s voice in our lives because we didn’t stop long enough to hear it?" Stopping in our culture is an incredibly hard thing to do. 

God is showing me, however, that when we take time to stop and incline our ears by directing our attention to God, we discover that God has been speaking to us all along; we just haven’t stopped long enough to listen.

My prayer as we head into the seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas is that we would continue to find ways to stop and incline our ears to hear God’s voice in our lives. 

Spiritual Formation 2020–2021

What Is Spiritual Formation? 

Paul writes to the Galatians, “My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you” (Gal. 4:19 NRSV, emphases added). Spiritual formation is the process by which we partner with God’s grace to bring about Christlike virtue and character within us. It is simply Christ being formed in you and me. This process doesn’t just happen in one aspect of who we are. Christlike transformation happens in our heads, our hearts, and our hands—lived out in our actions. This is where this year’s Living Free spiritual theme comes into play. 

Each month, we will unpack one thing God has freed us from, the place He has freed us to, and ultimately for what purpose He has brought about that freedom in our lives. Our hope and prayer as we journey through this year’s theme is that God will use it to be our “guide,” prompting us along the way to discover the depths of freedom that Christ has for each and every one of us—in our heads, in our hearts, and in our hands! I pray for you and me as we make this journey together!