We live in a feelings
based culture and I find often times my counselee's live there too. When it
comes to making decisions many are looking for a “feeling” that they assume
comes from God. Frankly, it is
discouraging to hear this kind of talk from Bible believing Christians: “I feel
that God wants me to go to …..”
It sounds so spiritual and
noble and it’s based on a feeling that amounts to the person saying “God told
me” to do this or that or not do this or that.”
The “feeling” is elevated to the status of a specific command to do this
or that, thus adding to the Scripture.
There is a huge emphasis on
subjectivity and there is little to no accountability when a person “feels” God is
telling them to do this or that. After all, who are you or I to argue with what
God told someone?
Most Christian are sincere
about wanting to be in God’s will, we hear this prayed for all the time. The truth
is, God’s will is never revealed in some spooky feeling.
We are an “emotional”
culture. If it “feels right” then it
must be right. So, if I want to buy a new house and I want to be in God’s will,
what I would look for is a “sense of peace” in my heart. If I do not have this
sense of peace then perhaps I’m not in God’s will. And that’s what they equate
with using the Bible for their decision making.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15
Many Christians think they are using the Bible in their decision making because they remember something about this passage but there are a couple of things wrong
with claiming it and using it as I suggested above.
Primarily, it is a misapplication of what this passage means. The
interpretation and application of the passage hangs on what is meant by “the
peace of God.” Nowhere in the context of
this passage is it implied that this peace of God is related to making
decisions. Instead, the word “peace” is
in reference to the call of God to salvation. Remember, that the unsaved person
is at war with God-he is not neutral. In salvation, it is God who takes the
initiative to make peace. Then this peace refers to the attitude of rest or
security we have in God because we know now He has made peace with us (Romans
Yet, so many people
continue to use the word “peace” as if God gives them a sense of it when making
a decision. Honestly, you can have a sense of peace, going out and getting
drunk, carousing and debauchery but God did not give that sense of peace-you
gave it to yourself. Sensing “peace” is
a bad plan for decision making and not found in Scripture.
Another method often used is hearing God speak through prayer. One member of a mission’s
team who decided to go on a mission trip arrived at her decision this way: she
said,” I prayed about it. And when I pray, I don’t talk to God, but I listen to
him. And through prayer he told me to go.” This person believes she
has received special revelation either audibly or via “the small still voice”
method. Also, If God told her through
prayer to go, then it’s a command for her to do so.
Psalm 46:10 is often used
to justify this perspective: “Be still, and know
that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the
What it really says is
found in the NASB: “Cease striving and know that I am God”
So then, how do we know God is communicating through His Word? It is quite simple really! First, do not separate the Word of God from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspired the writing of Scripture and does not trump it in extra or special revelation.
Ephesians 5:18 says, And do not get drunk
with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit; and Colossians 3:16 says, Let the word of Christ
richly dwell within you, with all
wisdom teaching and
admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual
songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
Both of these verses tell
us to in essence be dominated by the Holy Spirit by having God’s Word dwell richly
Second, pray for a greater understanding of
Scripture (Psa. 25:4). And third, pray
for more wisdom in applying it (Jas. 1:5). Proverbs says; if you do
nothing else in this life get wisdom and understanding. Both come when God’s
Word is deeply implanted in the heart of a woman. Then, you will be strong in
the Lord and you will not be susceptible to every wind of teaching and the
foolish wisdom of this age.