How Can We Know It Is God Guiding Us?
By Mike Edwards
Reliable God followers speak of God guiding us. I am not talking about “God guarantees you prosperity” types who are living off your funds. The Bible does say that we are guided by God’s Spirit (Jn 14:16–17; 16:13) rather than by a Book or Scriptures. Many suggest God’s voice obviously isn’t audible but like a silent whisper, clear mental impression, or “we just know.” Color me a skeptic. I don’t just know! How do we go about discerning God’s guidance?
God can’t make future decisions for you
It is natural to think an all-knowing, powerful God has special insights into future outcomes. But to say God knows the future suggests a predetermined future which makes freedom nonsensical. God’s plan can’t be a detailed blueprint but a general one to set us free to love. God can’t tell you if your partner won’t end up betraying you or your new job won’t end up being phased out. God joins us in an unknown future. God surely desires we choose the wisest path known at the time based on past experiences, current circumstances, and future aspirations.
God doesn’t really have to speak to us about moral decisions
It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. What rational being doesn’t know we ought to love others like we want to be loved? Many decisions are obvious — murder, stealing, adultery, etc. is wrong. Even if God was with us in person, God doesn’t have to speak if a decision is clearly moral. Many decisions though aren’t clearly moral. God joins us in an unknown future in taking risks to change the world.
Uncertainty can be a good thing
We all want God to communicate in certain terms. God supposedly came in person but Jesus’ miracles didn’t obtain the results some may suggest if God would stop hiding. God’s awing or overpowering presence may only lead to fearful obligations to obey. Isn’t our love in human relationships greater when we have to trust than know for certain what the future holds together? The road traveled of learning, reflecting, and not being coerced may best lead to lasting convictions and more meaningful relationships. God may not speak to us demonstratively out of love.
Personally speaking — how do I know it is God’s voice?
I don’t know if it’s God’s voice! Am I a spiritual loser? I don’t meet my own expectations morally much less God’s, but God is still working on me. But I hang more with God than most. Writing is the same for me as conversing with God. For the past 40 years I often write up to four hours a day. I attended church at least weekly for over forty years. I talk to God a ton while exercising walking almost daily. I have learned I don’t need to be certain what God is telling me. God has given me freedom to make decisions, and I understand the consequences of immoral decisions.
Doesn’t God guide us through unspoken influence?
Influences in our life don’t have to be audible or certain. My parents aren’t alive, but I am still influenced by them in my decisions. God can’t tell us that our decisions will work out. God deals with a free world also. God is hoping with us that our decisions will make for a better world. Don’t we sense God’s influence when we have thoughts to be the perfect partner, parent, or friend we desire to be deep down. I sense God’s encouragement to continually strive to make the best decisions I know at the time. Our pursuit of a godly life is never in vain!
Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like He can be contacted by email at: email@example.com