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Guidance – How do I know what to do?
How can I hear God? How does God speak? How can I get guidance from God?
Sometimes God has already answered…
Maybe you are hoping that God will speak to you directly about something he has already answered. Sometimes we don’t like the answer he has already given and so we hope his answer to us, in our specific situation, might be different! The Bible tells us many answers to questions – it tells us how we should live, what is important in life, what our aims, attitudes and priorities should be – these things answer a lot of questions and often show us our aims are wrong and what we think is important, isn’t really! If you want to know what God is saying, if you want his guidance – then read the Bible and listen to what God has already said to us.
Sometimes God speaks to us directly…
God can speak to us directly in many different ways, but not normally through a physical voice we hear with our ear and not normally through dreams. The most common ways he speaks directly are…
– through the wisdom of other Christians – when we talk to them about the issue, they may have insight and guidance for us
– through an inner thought or conviction – something that is more than just a feeling, more like a compelling, a prompting inside
– through preaching and teaching – when someone is at the front of church preaching from the Bible, God sometimes prompts them to say something or use an illustration or a phrase that has a bigger significance to a particular listener than the preacher is aware of.
Sometimes God doesn’t tell us…
Sometimes we don’t try and listen to what God wants us to do – we forget to ask for his guidance or we just aren’t interested in what he has to say. But then there are other times when we are listening but he might choose not to answer because he either wants us to delay the decision or he wants us to use our human thoughts and wisdom to make a decision.
The Bible talks about walking in the spirit – this is talking about being guided by the Holy Spirit who lives inside everyone that is a follower of Jesus – if you are not sure you are a follower of Jesus please chat with us or read more about what it means to follow Jesus.
Often with spiritual things there is a middle line God wants us to walk along and people normally seem to prefer to walk on the left of the line or the right of the line! Some people seem to think that God speaks to them about everything, what to wear, what to say, what to do – not just sometimes, but all of the time… This may sounds very spiritual but it is not what we see in the lives of Christians in the Bible, and it is not what Paul, who wrote many of the letter in the Bible, taught. On the other side of the line some people think that God never speaks directly to anyone any more and that if you hear God today you are actually just making it up!… This also isn’t what the Bible teaches and it is not what we see in the lives of the first followers of Jesus. The truth is in the middle – God does speak but not all the time and not about everything!
How do I know if it is God speaking to me?
How do I know if God is asking me to do something?
The best place to start is to admit that you will get it wrong sometimes and ask that God would help you to get it right more often.
The next question to ask if the Bible has already answered this question? or does the Bible talk about an attitude or aim we should have that makes the answer to this question obvious, even though the Bible might not mention the specific thing we are asking about?
Another great step is to ask someone who is spiritually mature what they think – maybe they will know somewhere in the Bible that will affect what you decide, or if not at least they can pray with you that you will do what God wants.
A great principle to use is the more crazy, the more weird, the less sensible, the less normal the thing is that you think God might be asking you to do, then the clearer God will make it. If God hasn’t made it really clear to you and you are unsure if he wants you to do something crazy and really unusual, then it is best to say to Him – “I am willing to do anything for you but I want to be wise and so please make it much clearer than this”… and if he doesn’t make it really clear, don’t do it!