August 27, 2020

Should Christians Look for Signs from God When Making Decisions?

Nathan W. Bingham & Steven Lawson
Should Christians Look for Signs from God When Making Decisions?

Many Christians spend their lives looking for signs from God to direct their choices. Is this how Scripture teaches us to make our decisions? Today, Steven Lawson discusses effective decision-making principles that honor the Lord.


NATHAN W. BINGHAM: I'm here on the Ligonier campus with Ligonier Teaching Fellow Dr. Steven Lawson. Dr. Lawson, is asking God for a sign before making a decision biblical?

DR. STEVEN LAWSON: Nathan, that is a great question. And I know a lot of people live their Christian lives looking for signs. And what I find is that they can read into anything. It's like the woman who was trying to figure out, "Should I go to Europe on a vacation?" And she woke up the next morning and the digital clock said 7:47. And she took that as a sign she's supposed to get on a 747 airplane and fly to Europe. I mean, that is factoring down your Christian life to the single most immature level it could possibly be lived on. No, we are not to look for a sign. In fact, even when Gideon asked for a sign, it was a step of lack of faith and lack of trust in God. It really is almost like a baby request from God. No, you can interpret circumstances around you. It's like the proverbial wax nose. You can twist it to say anything you want it to say.

No, the Bible has an entirely different approach on how we are to know the will of God and matters that are not specifically designated in Scripture, like which college should I go to, should I marry this person, etc. And so, some of those factors in knowing the will of God, obviously it's first the Word of God itself, which sets guardrails on the side of the road. We're not allowed to stray outside of Scripture in making our decisions.

Further, we are to use wisdom and we are to ask God to renew our mind and to give us wisdom, which is the practical application of doctrine and theology. Wisdom is applying knowledge in practical ways. In fact, the word wisdom, hokmah in the Hebrew, really just means "skill in living." It was used of the artists in the temple and the carpenters in the temple who could very skillfully use the material and use their hands to make beautiful objects. Wisdom in the Christian life is taking the truths of the Word of God and skillfully applying it to your life so that you lead a proper Christian life. So, there are principles of wisdom.

And further, the Bible says that there's victory in a multitude of counselors and to seek the insight of other spiritually minded people who know God and who know you and who know the situation in which you're looking to make this decision.

And further, prayer. As we pray, God has a way of answering those prayers. Sometimes it's renewing our mind as a result of answering our prayers. We have it in our mind, in our heart, what we are to do. Sometimes prayer, God answers that to close doors or open doors. But we don't want to factor this down to, I see a blinking light on the other side of the highway and that's God's way of winking at me or something that I'm to proceed forward. So, I would strongly urge not to be looking for signs, but to walk in wisdom and to walk in the Scripture and walk in the counsel of other godly people and to be on your knees in prayer.