Lord, I need your guidance. Where should I live? What should be my life’s work/career? Who should I marry? How many children should we have? Who should I hire? Should I take the job in North Carolina or the one in Minnesota? The Bible doesn’t specifically address these questions, but God wants to give us answers to these questions. How do we place ourselves in a position that gives us a better chance of receiving answers from God when we seek him?
Making the right decisions can be very stressful. It becomes even more taxing when we have two or three good options from which to choose or when the Bible doesn’t give us specific direction.
Therefore, I believe God wants to remove the anxiety by answering our inquiries. We have a heavenly Father who loves us, knows the future, and is ready to give us guidance in these areas of our lives. I am certain there are more. But, I believe there are at least six indispensable prerequisites for receiving guidance from God.
1. Have I chosen to follow Jesus and let him reign in my life?
God will guide us when we have chosen to submit to the reign and leadership of Jesus. So, our decisions should be grounded in a relationship with Jesus. If we have not made the decision to follow him in the most important area, that is, to love him and seek his kingdom values, then why should he give us guidance/direction in other areas of our lives? (Matthew 6:33)
2. Am I being filled with the Holy Spirit?
When we become believers, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our lives. His main role is to help us be conformed to the likeness of Jesus. Also, another role of the Holy Spirit is to guide us in our life’s choices. One of the ways he guides us is he fills or controls us as we make decisions. Therefore, we have a better chance of being led when we are being filled with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18; Psalm 143:10; John 16:13; Acts 16:6-7)
3. Am I living a holy and obedient life?
God’s moral will is revealed in the Bible through the commandments and other biblical principles – don’t steal, don’t kill, don’t commit adultery, etc. God’s moral will is connected to his specific guidance for our lives. If we habitually violate one aspect of God’s moral commands, what makes us think he will guide us in specific areas of our lives. So, before we ask God who we should marry, where we should live, and how many children we should have, we should ask the questions: Am obeying God in areas he has already revealed? Is there unconfessed sin in my life that would hinder my ability to hear God’s directions for my life? (Psalm 66:18; Ezekiel 20:31)
4. Am I spending extended time getting to know God’s voice?
Wouldn’t it be nice to have the right voice, over all other competing voices, giving us guidance and clarity for our lives? Jesus says that it is possible for us to pick out his voice amidst all these other competing and confusing voices. So, the key to recognizing his voice and getting guidance from Him is spending quality time with him in prayer and reading and listening to his words. Thus, the more we practice these disciplines, the more we will recognize his voice and follow his guidance. (John 10:4-5)
5. Am I trusting and believing that God will answer my inquiry?
When we ask God for guidance, we must trust that he wants to answer us and he will answer our prayers for guidance (Hebrews 11:6). God answers our prayers for guidance in at least four ways:
No way – Your request is not in my will (Matthew 26:36-39).
Slow Your Roll – Your request is not in my will at this time (John 11:1-6)
Grow Up – Your motives and spiritual condition are wrong (James 4:3).
Go Ahead – Your request, timing, and spiritual condition are right (Acts 12:1-17).
6. Am I willing to accept the supremacy of God’s will over my own will?
Often we go to God for guidance, but when we get an answer we don’t like, we sometimes go for a second opinion. Or, we keep asking, thinking that God will give us an answer that we like. Or, we go in asking God for guidance, hoping he will bless what we have already decided. Consequently, if we are going to receive guidance from God, we have to resolve his will is more important than ours. And, we will do what he says when he speaks. (Matthew 26:39-42)
Lord, we don’t know what to do and where to go. But, we trust you because you know things we don’t know, you love us and wants what’s best for us, you can make happen what you ask us to do, and we believe you will answer if our hearts are right. Make us desperate for you and your direction for our lives.
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What other prerequisites do you think are important so that we have a better chance to hear from God?
Which of the prerequisites are you having problems answering “yes” to?