There are times in our life when we really need to hear the voice of God. During moments of decision, we all yearn for clear guidance, not wanting to make a mistake. We pray countless prayers begging Him for clarity, but more often than not are left with lingering doubt and frustration. If God is always near us, why does He seem so silent when we need Him most? I sometimes wonder if I’m so busy pleading that I can’t hear His voice over my own incessant chatter. Yet when I try to be still and just listen, the silence lasts only a few moments before my mental factory begins tooling up again and hurling thoughts across my mind. While I certainly have much to learn in this area, let me share with you a few things I have learned in my walk with Jesus.
God created us to be agents of freewill; therefore He’s not going to make most of our decisions for us. Unless they somehow impact His sovereign plan for the world, we are pretty much left to exercise our freedom of choice. So I generally pray for discernment and wisdom. Certainly God sees the big picture and can see all the possible future implications of whatever we decide to do – or not to do, as the case may be. That is why I pray for discernment, because there are powers and circumstances in play that I could never fathom. The second thing I pray for is wisdom. God gave us brains to be able to process facts and make decisions based on our findings. His Spirit lives within us enabling our intuition to be prodded in ways that protect us or lead us in certain directions. Our own life experience provides us with some clarity based on what we have been through up until this moment in our lives. The point of all of this is that God will not necessarily speak to us in an audible way. However, He does speak to us by giving us discernment and wisdom, by prompting certain “gut feelings” and by enabling us to draw on the knowledge of what we’ve seen and experienced.
When you face a major decision in life, or even a small one, our first task is to pray. Pray for discernment and wisdom. Pray that Jesus will give you clarity and peace in the process and to reveal what looks like the better choice for you in this moment. Ask for wisdom so that you might understand all of the ramifications of your decision. In addition to praying for wisdom, seek wise counsel for your decision. Draw on the experience of others, particularly those who are older than you so you can benefit of their own observations in life. Seek out mentors, friends and family that you respect and that lead the kind of life that is both reverent to God and successful in ways that you admire. Take time to reflect on your own background and aspirations. How does your decision affect your goals? Does it move you closer or further away from them? How will your decision affect your relationship with Jesus Christ? Will it move you closer or further away from Him? Weigh the ethics and, to the best of your ability, the long term implications of each path you could choose.
While we may long to hear the voice of God in a clear, audible way when we are faced with decisions, we must acknowledge that this will be the exception rather than the rule. He has not left us without the faculties to come to a good decision. He has placed the Holy Spirit with each of us who choose to believe and follow Him. He grants wisdom and discernment to those who ask. Our minds are a gift beyond all comprehension, and we have the ability to process all that we need in order to come to a wise and pleasing decision, one that will best position us to further the Kingdom. Never forget that the point of our life on earth is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Every decision must be made with this in mind. What choice better enables you to be those hands and feet? While times of decision and change can be frightening, Jesus is with us every moment. His power and wisdom are ours for the asking. We need only seek Him, utilize every resource at our disposal and seek good counsel. Having done all this, make your decision and move forward with confidence. Jesus remains with you regardless of how you should decide. He will be with you in every moment of your life. Rest in that knowledge and embrace the freedom He has give to each of us. In Christ there is no fear; live your life in total devotion to Him. Every other decision is a minor detail and will fade away in time. All that counts, and all that remains, is what we choose to do with Jesus. Decide today to follow Him at any cost; the rest is easy.