Signs of Approval from God?

November 1, 2019 at 8:22 am | Posted in Q&A | 1 Comment
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Question: Sometimes when I’m praying about a decision that I’ve made or that I’m about to make, I will look for a sign, like a butterfly showing up in my backyard, or a rainbow in the sky, so that I know I’m doing what God wants me to do. Isn’t it wonderful when He does something like that?

Answer: No, I don’t think that’s wonderful, and I think it’s presumptuous for you to assume God’s approval from such occurrences. I think that’s a very dangerous and unbiblical way to make decisions, or to interpret God’s approval of what you’ve already done. God has not instructed us to take a stab at forming our own subjective plans, and then to test them by external signs that we dictate to Him, or that we interpret based on our preferences. The Bible is very clear that He has given us His Word, filled with principles and precepts, and that we are to filter our decision-making process through these (II Timothy 3:16-17). Things that are clearly forbidden in Scripture will never be given God’s stamp of approval by the appearance of a rainbow, a song on the radio, a dream, or even a “feeling of peace.” Decisions that we face that are not explicitly addressed in the Bible should be prayed about with humility, and should be undertaken with a willingness to submit to God’s will if He later shows us that our decisions were wrong. Saturating your mind with Bible knowledge, and humble trial and error bathed in prayer while depending on God to guide you, will help you to grow to be more like Jesus and to make better decisions. (See Romans 12:2 and Hebrews 5:12-14.) He has also equipped other members of His body with gifts of knowledge and discernment, and you would be wise to seek counsel from mature believers before taking your cue from light refracted through moisture in the sky (Ephesians 4:8-12; Romans 12:3-8; Proverbs 11:14)!

How Do We Get the Answers to Our Prayers?

May 18, 2017 at 9:24 am | Posted in Q&A, Where There's a Way There's a Will | 5 Comments
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Question: When you’re praying for a specific thing, how do you know what the answer is? Is it like a sign, a gut feeling, an unexpected blessing? How do you really get or “see” the answer to your prayers?

Answer: That’s a good question, and one that is often asked. When we ask God for a specific thing, He may or may not give it to us or show us the answer in a specific way. Our task as Christians is to pray about everything (Philippians 4:6), with the idea that God’s will would be done (Matthew 6:9-10), asking Him for wisdom to help us see the answer or know what He would have us to do (James 1:5). Do not seek a sign (Matthew 12:39); do not trust gut feelings (Jeremiah 17:9); and attribute all blessings – expected and unexpected alike – to God (James 1:17). Our task is to pray about it, determine whether what we are asking for is permitted or forbidden by the Scriptures, and trust that God will work out the “answer” for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).

God knows everything, but Ephesians 5:10 indicates that we are supposed to discern the will of God not by expecting mystical clues, but by going to the Bible, and asking ourselves, “Is what I’m asking for, or what I’m thinking about doing, in line with what the Bible says I should be getting or doing?” If you have a Bible reason for doing something, do it. If not, don’t. Our job is not to “get answers.” Our job is to “prove God’s will” (Romans 12:2).

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