I appreciate the wise counsel from my pastor, Mike Lee, in helping me sort through this issue. His knowledge of the scripture and doctrine is a grace-gift of God to me and 3BC. Even so, he still needs me to transpose guitar charts.
I’m sure you’ve heard that said before, as have I. Some listeners will perk up upon hearing the impending pronouncement of divine information; others, though, may settle back in the chair with skepticism. After all, God is about to provide some sort of fresh revelation of Himself…in this, the year of our Lord, 2014.
It’s a common thing to hear, though. TV evangelists do it. Christian authors do it. Songwriters are especially prone to do it. Many pastors may do it. They proclaim that God has spoken to them, and now, a certain response on your part is required. It’s sort of like the prophets in the Old Testament, except now, the mouthpiece of God is popular, well-known, and liked. I can’t ever remember many in the Old Testament who spoke the word of God who were well-received.
Sometimes, the “God spoke to me…” statement is made in regard to some sort of important decision – a life-changing decision. It could be job-related, or it may be who you’re to marry. Sometimes, it’s a big decision like buying a house or car, or which college to attend after high school (if at all).
In any case, prayer is involved and, in due time, there’s an answer from God. And, out comes “God spoke to me…” The decision-making process is dumped on the Divine, and all responsibility for the results can be – and is – credited or blamed on Him. Because “God spoke to me…” we often times end up confused because it turned out to be the wrong decision.
I thought God was perfect.
God Does Speak
Well, God is perfect. And, God does speak. He reveals Himself to us clearly in several ways.
1. God is revealed in His creation. The Apostle Paul tells us this in his letter to the church in Rome. He says,
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20 ESV)
God tells us what He’s like, in a general way, when we look around us at the things and people He’s created. The majesty, the creativity, the uniqueness of creation all work within order that gives us a sense of what God is like. In other words, God speaks to us through His creation.
2. God is revealed in Jesus. God is with us in Jesus. God become man. Fully God, yet fully man. And, the words spoken by Jesus are the words of God.
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:22-30 ESV)
3. God is revealed in Scripture. God’s words for us are contained in the Bible. It is the authoritative, inerrant Word of God. It is sufficient for all; even more, it is complete, and nothing should be added to it. God’s directives for you and me are found in the Scriptures. When you read the Scriptures, God is speaking.
So, will the Bible tell me who to marry?
In making decisions, there is no doubt that the Bible is sufficient to guide us. Will it tell you which college to attend? Will it reveal if you’re to buy a house? Will it be clear about who you’re to marry?
Yes. And no.
As you seek God’s will in your life, and you seek his leading in the decisions you make, ask yourself these questions:
1. Am I in a right relationship with God? We are called to live a life that is transformed (Romans 12), seeking to be more and more like Christ in all we do. We are to seek His thoughts and pursue His character. In essence, we must have a faith that’s active. If we’re not communicating with God – praying, reading His Word – then our relationship isn’t right. Even more, if there are deliberate, known areas in our life where we are disobedient to His desire for us to be Christ-like, then we’re out of fellowship with God.
2. Will my decision contradict Scripture? As we seek God’s will in our decision, the answer must not stand in opposition to Scripture. For example, if you’re wanting to make a decision about whether you should marry a particular person, I would ask you these questions: 1) do you genuinely love the person? and, 2) is that person a Christian? Marrying someone who is, as the Scriptures say, “unequally yoked” would be going against what Scripture teaches. So, there’s your answer.
Kevin DeYoung, in his book Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will, presents an approach that frees us from the hyper-spirituality of those who pronounce “God spoke to me…”. His approach tells us to love God fully, obey His Word, and, then, do what you want. You can hear him discuss this more fully here.
As you make decisions, love God with all your heart. Though we are not perfect, seek to be obedient to His Word. And remember, He holds the future.