We all want to know if our decisions are aligned with God’s will, primarily because we want to avoid having to deal with the consequences and /or have regrets in the future. In fact, many of us have asked God for signs and manifestations.
I am not different from you: I am also one of the many who used to ask God for some unusual signs when I am about to make a decision.
But as I grow older, I learned that God speaks in 7 different ways. It’s actually a personal one; I don’t share it because I believed God deals with people differently and uniquely. What works for me may not work for you. But time and time again, I keep getting asked. So, I finally decided to put it in writing, just in case some of you will find it helpful.
The formula that works for me is this: God speaks in 7 different ways; and when I have to make decision, at least 4 of them need to align.
When I started applying that, my decision-making have been easier, and I never had any regrets about of the choices I made since then.
1. Through His Word
Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you in the way you should go. –Isaiah 48:17
His Word is like a compass, it will always point to the True North.
This is the Number 1 on my list and without it, I will never dare venture out. The Word of God is so powerful in my life that, whenever I look back at the decisions I made that I based on His Word, I saw they are the best decisions thus far.
How it works
Whenever I am about to make a decision, I pray and ask the Lord to give me Bible verses that I can hold on to. In most cases, he will give me 2-3 verses that support each other. The verse needs to have a “rhema” into my heart — that is, it has to have an unusual impact as if it is speaking directly about my situation. Only I and the Lord knows how it feels when the verse has “spoken to my heart”.
I need at least one verse that I can hold on to, because I know that once I set sail into the ocean, fierce winds and waves will test my faith and the firmness of my decision.
What are those waves and winds, you ask? Please stay with me a little bit.
My greatest weakness is impatience. I always want to see results fast. usually when I make decisions, my resolve is firm at first, but often God will allow delays, and I will start to complain. [Click here to see what happens when I have temper tantrums]”. And I hate it when it happens. Madalas, I want to give up in the middle of it all and throw away everything that I started. When I was younger, I even go haywire. Very immature right, and I’ve been asking God to help me overcome this. Somehow, learning to deal with God-delays by being anchored to his Word and committed to finish seems to work for me. His Word protects me from my (dark) self. Basically, it keeps me from falling apart. I can hold on it and use His Word to talk sense to myself and convince ME, and remind why I got myself into that decision.
I also use it as my “bargaining chip” to cry out to Him and ask for sustenance:
“Lord! You said…”
“Dad, I obeyed because you said…”
“Show me your glory, prove to me that it is You who spoke to me…”
You may feel that the above lines are too demanding of God. That’s another reason why I need a verse in the first place. I have always believed that He will never allow a verse to have that “familiar tug in my heart” if that is not what He wants me to believe. God watches how we handle His word, He watches how we cling to his promises.
So when I have a verse, I meditate on it and use it as my reference point. Then, I start looking for the other “signs”.
2. Through our Parents / Earthly Authorities
This has been clearly demonstrated in the Old Testament. For one instance, Jacob had to flee because he cheated and “stole” Isaac’s blessings that is meant for Esau. That is how important our parent’s blessings are.
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” — Ephesians 6:1-3
How it works
When I need to make big decisions, I speak to my mom and my (step)dad. I tell them the situations, my action plans and my expected results. More than just seeking their advise, I seek their blessings. I ask them to verbally declare that they bless my decisions. Besides, they will be my primary support systems when things don’t go out as planned.
If they are not in favor, the discussions table will be opened and I will listen to their points. If we don’t reach consensus, I proceed to the next signpost. At this stage, I will know if God is speaking through them or not. There are cases that my parents may openly object. But if I have a verse and I believe that God is speaking through it, then I sometimes go without their blessings. The Word of God is the sole authority in my life. Then later, I try to convince them again.
3. Through Spiritual Mentors/Leaders
And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him. — Deuteronomy 34:9
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. — Hebrews 13:17
Mentors are people you look up to, whose wisdom, experience and balanced opinion have significant impact in your decision making. While It is often best to have mentors ripe in experience, age and wisdom, it is also a good thing if you know of young people (even younger than you) who despite their age manifest maturity and wisdom beyond their years. God can speak through them. Seek their counsel.
Also, seeking the advise and blessings of people we consider spiritual authorities over us is a sign of humility. It means you acknowledge that God can speak through other people. God lifts up the humble, but rejects the proud.
How it works
This puts a great emphasis on the importance of having mentors. Since these authority figures are often “unrelated to us” and will not have any vested interest in the results, they can offer balanced opinion and valuable insights– which are sometimes not the case with our parents (ex: love life, applying for a new job, choices involving other “relatives”, etc).
Usually, I speak to 3 or 5 leaders (ODD number for tie-breaking.)
Proceed to the next signpost if EITHER the parents or the majority of your Spiritual Mentors gives a green light.
If BOTH Parents and majority of Spiritual mentors DO NOT AGREE, then it usually means something is wrong, and I have to reconsider the verse I am holding on. DO NOT proceed to the next signpost.