Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (Jn. 10:27 NASB). Romans 8:14 says the Holy Spirit leads God’s children. And the Holy Spirit will lead us into truth (Jn. 16:13). But at times I doubt my ability to hear.
I fear the static of my own distractions, others’ strong opinions, and the enemy’s taunts will drown out God’s still small voice. Here are some principles that have helped me.
What does Scripture say about this?
Jesus’ will for me never contradicts the principles He’s already revealed in His Word. We simplify our lives when we live by what God has said in the Bible. For example, when we know the Scriptures, we won’t have to wrestle with questions like, “Should I form a business partnership with someone who is talented but dishonest or date someone who doesn’t follow Christ?”
- “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
- “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Does this line up with God’s good character?
The Pharisees claimed to follow God’s word, yet Jesus said, “If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” (Matthew 12:1-8). They had twisted the “perfect law of liberty” into a shackle.
Satan bends Scripture to tempt, accuse, and condemn us as he did when he tempted Jesus. For example, I didn’t want to do something someone wanted me to do. But when I thought of saying no, Joshua 1:9 played through my mind, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”(NIV).Satan bends Scripture to tempt, accuse, and condemn us as he did when he tempted Jesus. #discernment Click To Tweet
Instead of infusing me with courage, the message condemned me conveying, “If you were strong and courageous, you’d do this.”
Psalm 119:160 reminds us that the sum of God’s word is truth. Satan and his pawns can wield snippets of Scripture at us like a club. When I recognized the tone of this taunt I knew immediately that it did not come from my Shepherd.
The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
Even when God points out sin, He leads us to repentance and life, whereas condemnation from our foe leads to feeling hopeless, paralyzed, and distant from God (2 Cor. 7:10). The Bible promises there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)!
Does it line up with God’s work in my life?
God creates a desire in the heart of His child for His will (Psalm 37:4). As I walk with Him, He motivates me to want His will for my life (Philippians 2:13). That doesn’t mean I won’t face fear or dread. We are in a spiritual battle which also involves deceitful desires. But in spite of this, the Spirit is always at work in us.
What desire keeps playing in your heart that is consistent with God’s word and character, even if it’s unconventional?
Have I prayed in faith?
Before I ask for guidance, I sometimes have to ask God to make me willing to do His will and to create a desire in me for His best. As I regularly renew my mind with His Word, I’m transformed so that I begin to want His will more than my own because I am able to see that His will is always better in the long run than my short-sighted desires (Romans 12:1-2).
Before I ask for guidance, I sometimes have to ask God to make me willing to do His will and to create a desire in me for His best. #Godswill, #direction Click To Tweet
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8 NIV).
Do I need God to search me?
The answers to these four questions have helped me when I’ve felt confused. God doesn’t hide His will from those who seek Him. If God seems silent it may be He’s left the options open for us to choose. Or it may be we’ve discounted His will in another area.
If God is still silent, ask Him to search you and show you if you are living in disobedience in any area (Psalm 139:23-24). He is under no obligation to give insight to those who disregard what He’s already revealed.
We can trust Him to guide us when we seek Him. Will I trust Him to keep His promise?
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