With the way I concluded my last blog, by going through the Word of God and asking heart questions, and then saying “…do what you want to do…” the natural question that would come up is: “What about prayer and seeking counsel?” Or, “What about ‘open doors’ or God showing me through circumstances?” In our last blog we discussed “hunches” or “feelings” - we know that they can not be our authority, and circumstances, feelings or “open doors” certainly can’t be seen as divine revelation. So, let me just mention three main points in our passion to know the will of God.
Circumstances certainly play a part in the decision-making process, but they are not to be seen as “God’s voice;” God has spoken through His Word and it is powerful, alive and relevant for each of us today. We can each see the same set of circumstances and come up with vastly different conclusions. Haddon Robinson says in his book Decision Making By The Book says: “I’m reminded of the Rorshach Test, the psychological test featuring the big ink blots. Psychologists ask their clients to describe what they see in the blots. One person sees a beautiful butterfly. Another sees, in the same blots, demons coming to claim his soul. Circumstances often work the same way. The things we see in them often say more about us than they do about what is really happening." Robinson goes on to use the episode of Acts 28 when Paul was bitten by the viper. At first they thought God had cursed him to die then, when Paul survived they wanted to make him a god. Both conclusions were very wrong. This is a pitfall to always looking for “open doors”- we tend to give too much authority to our situation. “Open doors” certainly do not mean we should walk through them does it? If your answer is yes, take a moment to look at 2nd Corinthians 2:12-13. David certainly had an “open door” to kill King Saul, but was that a call to take it? God could have kept Saul from going into that cave at that moment…but he didn’t. If we are to be correct, it is safe to say that our circumstances must be observed and thought through, but they are not revelations from God and should not hold that kind of sway in our lives!
The next issue we need to look is the role godly counsel plays in our decisions. Well, the Word of God (or God’s Revealed Will) is crystal clear regarding this. From Prov. 12:15; 13:10; 20:18; 27:9 and several other passages, we are told to seek input from others. This is another reason why we need the church. We need people of God to get involved in our lives, we need correction, counsel and love. There is no telling how many marriages which could have been saved if the church was invited and expected to be involved. However, there is also a danger of putting too much faith in counsel. The advice given to us from the most godly of men and women, is still not inerrant, nor is it the Word Of God unless they are directing us to the Scriptures.
I also want to mention that I said earlier… after going through a list of biblical check points and evaluations and not finding a stopgate or danger markers, do what you want to do. But I want to take this time and clarify. We tend to fall off on one of two sides when it comes to our desires: the first is this super spiritual view that what we want really doesn’t matter. The other is that what I want is all that matters. The caveat I want to mention is that we must be willing to allow the Word of God to be an honest X-ray into our desires and emotions. Let the Word of God search your heart.
Last, what about the role prayer? Much like the necessity of seeking godly counsel, we must also pray, because if we don’t we are in disobedience. The danger comes today in the misunderstanding of prayer: the idea that in prayer as we talk to God, He also talks to us through a prayer, feeling or “urging,” a nudge, or any other subjective notion, is foreign to the Word of God. When I pray I am talking to God, and when I read the Word of God, He is talking to me. The Holy Spirit can and does guide our thoughts and our hearts back to the Word of God when we earnestly seek Him….that is why we see the Word of God admonish us to know it, search it and memorize it – so that the Holy Spirit recalls it to us when we are faced with difficulties (so that we are prepared for every circumstance). After all, doesn’t Psalm 119:9-11 say that “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your Word. With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your Word I have treasured in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” What we should be praying for is biblical understanding (Ps. 25:4), wisdom to apply the Word of God (James 1:5), and that we would see the Word of God correctly (2 Tim. 2:15). We should be consumed with glorifying Him by what we do and our reaction to all of our circumstances. In short, we have the completed Word of God… we can’t rely on dreams, feeling, circumstances or anything else extra-biblical.