Outside of the Bible, how can you know if God is trying to tell you something?
What is Obvious
The most obvious place to start with knowing what God is trying to tell you is the Bible, because in the Word of God He reveals His will to you and to me in plain words. We don’t have to guess because we can know. We’re to be giving “thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1st Thess 5:18), and we should “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2). If you’re conformed to this world, you won’t have a clue about God’s will for your life. What is God trying to tell you? Obey His revealed will or He may not reveal what He’s trying to tell you. We know that “the will of God, your sanctification [is] that you abstain from sexual immorality” (1st Thess 4:3), so God is trying to tell you something right there! He wants you to know that you are to abstain from any sexual immorality in your life. He is very clear about telling us that, but we also know He desires to “equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb 13:21), so stay in the Word of God and “do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:17).
God’s Hidden Will
What is God’s hidden will for your life? I’ve been asked that before, and my answers always the same; “I don’t know what God’s hidden will is for your life, and if it’s hidden, doesn’t that mean you’re not supposed to know it…at least, yet?” How can I know a secret thing of God? Only in time will we know what God’s hidden will was, but I don’t think it’s good for us to know ahead of time anyway. God alone knows the future. He knows better than to let us look into it. All I know is “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut 29:29). I also know this; the more people obey the revealed will of God, the more it seems God reveals more of His will for their life. If they obey the light given to them, God gives them more light, but if they don’t walk in the light God has given them, then its unlikely God will give them new light. Living in disobedience will make it harder for you to know what God is trying to tell you.
How Some Heard God’s Voice
How do you know when God is trying to tell you something? You start with the Bible and then you value the opinions of others. You seek godly counselor with older, trusted Christian friends or family members. If you think God is trying to tell you to go to college, He will enable the means that would allow you to do so. If you have friends or family members who think you would be good at some trade, think about what they’ve said. Do some research. Also, what is it that you really love to do more than anything else? Is it something that is already an occupation or one that’s a certain ministry? There are so many places where people are needed in ministry these days that no one should have difficulty finding a place to serve. Ask others about it and talk to church leadership to see which needs in the church are the most pressing. Read about how others have found out what God was trying to tell them. A few people told me they had dreams and they woke up, knowing it was obvious what God wanted them to do. God can communicate to you through your passions, your friends, your family, your interests, your church, your dreams, and in the strangest of places. Some tell me they felt a sense of peace when they found out what God was trying to tell them. They call this feeling, a “holy pleasure,” since they are sure that God has told them something specific. Of course, God would never contradict His Word, and anything done contrary to Scripture is certainly not from God. For example, God clearly tells us to glorify Him in our bodies because we were bought we a price and we are not our own (1st Cor 6:20).
What Glorifies God?
I remember a pastor years ago tell someone that was asking about the will of God. He asked the young man, “Does it glorify God? Is it costly? Is it difficult?” The young man said, “Yes, it’s all three I believe.” The pastor said, “Then it sounds like it might be God’s will for your life.” God may have just told this man something by using the pastor. We know it’s always God’s will that Jesus Christ is glorified and when we glorify God in our bodies, it will cost us the passing pleasures of this world. We might lose friends who we used to run with. We might be looked down on by family members. You can know when God is trying to tell you something because it should always be according to Scripture, but it should always bring glory to God, for that is God’s will. If we bear godly fruit, we glorify God, as Jesus said, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:8).
I know we’re not saved by works, but saved to do appointed works (Eph 2:10), but these works are intended to glorify God, and not ourselves. Unless we give God the glory, it’s all for show. To fail to give God the glory, like giving Him the credit for a blessing, is to be taking that credit to ourselves. Remember this, we actually have nothing at all that we did not receive from God (1st Cor 4:7), so give God the glory, give God the thanks, give God obedience, and abide in His Word on a daily basis. God will find a way to tell you something, especially if you do these things.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.