People often ask me how they can know for sure that they have heard from God. It is really an important question because the Lord has established a path for his people and on that path they will discover their destiny and tap into every blessing he has ordained for them. I remember hearing Lester Sumrall say once that if a believer gets off the path of God it is very difficult to get back on course. The best course of action, obviously, is to not allow the “hiss of the serpent” (as Thomas a Kempis described it) to pull us away from God’s best in this life – and make no mistake about it – God’s best is his path for your life.
The following questions will help you determine if you have really heard from God or whether it was just the pizza or Mexican food you had the night before. We can’t afford to spend any time in the back forty because we missed God. Jesus is coming back soon and we need to redeem the time and make the most of every opportunity – and we can’t do that if we are walking down the wrong path.
EIGHT QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF TO DETERMINE GOD’S WILL:
1. Have you thoroughly renewed your mind through the Word of God? You are not in any position to make big, life-changing decisions from a position of spiritual weakness. Before you try to declare, “thus sayeth the Lord,” make sure you have spent the time in the Word so that you are able to adequately discern the voice of the Lord from the voice or the enemy or the voice of your flesh.
2. Does this line up with the Word of God? We are living in a day when “Christians” are bailing on the express teachings of the Word of God at an alarming rate, giving to carnal thinking and the pressures of a post-Christian culture. If what we think God said to us contradicts the teachings of Scripture we did not hear from God because God and his Word are one.
3. Will this require faith? We know from Hebrews 11:6 that is impossible to please God without faith. The guidance and direction of the Lord is always going to require the exercise and the releasing of our faith because what He directs is always beyond our ability in the natural realm. Faith looses the believer from the constraints of the natural realm and enables him or her to tap into the supernatural.
4. Will this take courage to accomplish? Moses was dead and the task of leading the people of God fell to Joshua. With his mentor now gone, the Lord personally reached out to Joshua to challenge him to be courageous (Joshua 1). Courage enables us to press on to victory despite the temptation to yield to fear instead.
5. Do you sense God’s peace in this situation? Colossians 3:15 exhorts the believer to permit or allow the peace of God to rule in his or her heart. That word “rule” is literally like a modern umpire calling balls, strikes, hits, and outs. When we sense that uneasiness in our spirits we need to pause until the check in our hearts lifts or until that unmistakable confidence from God’s peace manifests.
6. Is obedience required? When the Lord is speaking there is always a directive. Like Abraham we might be called upon to make a major life transition. Like Isaac, he may tell us just the opposite – to remain in the land, plant in the middle of a famine and reap a hundredfold in the same year. The key is to discern that thing we are to do (or not do) and then be faithful in it.
7. Does it square with wise counsel? Whenever a believer makes a major life-changing decision without the input from trusted spiritual counsel, more often than not a mistake – a serious mistake is being made. In the modern Charismatic age it is common to hear people say that they only listen to God – no man can speak into their lives. But Scripture tells us to submit to one another and especially listen to the spiritual leaders in our lives.
8. Will this direction bring spiritual profit? In many ways, the Christian in the United States makes major decisions in life the same way the world does – entirely based on natural, carnal, and financial concerns. Where can I make the most money? What amenities does the community offer? How close is the location to my family? Often, the believer does not consider the impact spiritually until after the move because spiritual matters are low on the priority list. In fact, the impact of the decision spiritually should be the first consideration when making life changes.