At dia•spora, our ministry for young adults and young families, we do a Q&A session at the end of the service. The people who come to the gathering are really smart and ask great questions, so I'm really looking forward to not being on the panel eventually! Because they ask such good questions, we don't have time to get to them all. But we do try to follow up on our ministry blog with responses to all the unanswered questions. Here's one that I tried to answer.
"Are you against waiting on Gods confirmation to make a decision? I am not against stepping out in faith just because casting lots isn't the way to go anymore. But I absolutely respect people that are able s to sit, wait, and pray for God to make his will known."
I don’t think anybody would be against waiting on God’s confirmation to make a decision. The question is, How does that confirmation come about? In what form does God deliver his answer? Is it an audible voice, or perhaps a voice in your head? Scripture? Through friends? A miraculous sign? A word from the Lord through a pastor? A general sense or feeling?
There are some forms of confirmation that are more reliable than others, and the trick is learning to hear God’s voice through the static and noise of your own selfish desires and the conventional wisdom of our culture. I could tell you plenty of embarrassing stories of what I thought was God’s confirmation but turned out to be something entirely different. (Thankfully, I was never the guy that told a near stranger, “God told me to marry you.” But it happens, and, please, don’t be that guy.)
When you’re seeking God’s confirmation on a major decision in your life, here’s my advice:
1. Pray. Invite God into the decision making process. Ask him to bring clarity and wisdom.
2. Read the Bible and look for principles to guide your decision. But when you go to the Scriptures it’s very important that you be humble. Remember, you’re not Moses or David or Paul. But God’s principles that guided their life are the same principles that ought to guide yours.
3. Talk to people with more life experience than you. Chances are that someone else has been down this road before you, and they’ve got a great perspective to offer you. Who knows, maybe God will speak to you through the wise counsel of your elders.
4. Talk to your friends who know you well, and invite them to be brutally honest with you. Find people who will tell you the truth and tell them about the choice at hand. A good friend is someone who will tell you when you’re being ridiculous and who will encourage you when you’re being smart.
5. Use the wisdom that God has given you from the previous experiences of your life. Look back at the story God has been writing through your life, and let that be an element to consider how he might be continuing the story.
I’ll leave you with one final thought: God moves at his own pace. Be sure that you’re walking with him, not running ahead or lagging behind. And, given our culture, it’s likely that we’re trying to go faster than God is willing to move. So be patient. God’s going to go as fast as God’s going to go, and there’s nothing you can do about that. Remember, you’re not that important, and God dearly loves you.