Ken Davis, a Christian comedian, tells a humorous story of a Christian who gets on an empty city bus, walks to the rear, and sits down. Lord, he prays, if you want me to speak to someone about you, please give me a sign. At the next stop another passenger gets on, goes all the way to the back of the bus, and sits right down next to the Christian. “Do you know anything about Jesus?” the passenger asks.
The Christian excuses himself for a moment and slowly bows his head once again and prays,
Lord if you really want me to talk to this stranger, I need just one more sign. Please turn the bus driver into an armadillo.
Have you been praying for armadillos?
– Quoted from The 10 Second Rule
There are some decisions we don’t have to spend much time thinking about, like simple everyday impressions from God to do something kind or generous for another person. Simple stuff.
And, there are biblical accounts of people looking for signs, testing the will of God for major decisions, like when Gideon “put out the fleece” and the disciples waited for the Holy Spirit’s coming. However the waiting for a sign stories are few and far between in Scriptures, and they certainly aren’t the normal way God directs his people to make major decisions today.
Signs don’t require faith Think about it; asking for a big dramatic sign before you move forward in obedience doesn’t really require faith at all. It’s literally walking by sight – not by faith!
Nevertheless, we Christians still like the idea of signs, don’t we? Why? Perhaps because it puts the responsibility back on God before we feel compelled to act on something we may not really want to do.
I want to make this clear, right up front; I believe it is perfectly legitimate to ask God to make his will known to you about important decisions you’re uncertain of. To ask God for his will, honors him. It lets him know you not only care about his will, but that you want his will to be “done on earth (in your life) as it is in heaven.”
It’s complicated But here’s where it get’s tricky. I trust God, but I don’t always trust me! And you may not want to trust yourself either. By that I mean, when I’m looking for God’s will in a certain situations, I tend to look for signs that confirm what my heart desires. The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things.” Jeremiah 17:9 We want, what we want.
So, is there a better way to get direction from God? There is, but it’s not easy. Here are three ideas that may help you.
Ask God to reveal to you your real motive for asking for direction. There are people who ask God for directions for a new job, who simply want to make more money or get promoted. There’s nothing wrong with having a good paying job. But how will that new job affect your family, your marriage and your friends? Be careful what you pray for! I’ve quoted this piece of wisdom to many a man; He got what he wanted – but lost what he had.Don’t risk losing something or someone, incredibly important to you to gain some temporary, or temporal thing.
Ask the advice of the three people you most admire, spiritually. I once had a wife tell me how angry she was because her husband had bought a sports car she thought was extravagant. Her husband disregarded her counsel because he had sought out two Christian friends for their advice and they said “yes.”It’s a great temptation to seek the counsel of people who are likely to agree with us. However, the wise man (or woman), seeks the counsel of the most spiritually mature people they know. So, right now, write down the names of the two most serious Christians you know, so you won’t be tempted to go elsewhere for advice in the future.
Is there anything about which I’m seeking the will of God, that would violate a biblical command? Are you surprised I’d add this requirement? You’d be shocked at the number of people I’ve met with who “got peace” about their decision to divorce their spouse, sue a fellow Christian or marry an unbelieving person, in spite of a clear warning in scripture not to do it. Perhaps your situation is more subtle – you’re praying about co-signing for someone, lending them money or investing. Again, I’d advise getting the counsel of at least two of the most spiritual people you know, even if they don’t know much about business. God’s laws and principles are applicable and understandable by almost any spiritually mature person.“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22
How following Jesus works in real life.
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