GUIDANCE FROM THE BIBLE
Westminster Confession of Faith 1.2
Under the name of Holy Scripture, or the Word of God written, are now contained all the books of the Old and New Testaments [Here a list of the 66 books of the Protestant Bible is included] All which are given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life.
How do you know what to do in any given situation? Do you go by hunches, intuition, or other feelings? Can you be certain that what you do has the approval of God? You can if you approach the subject of guidance from the perspective of the Word of God.
In the Bible we are told how to live in a manner that pleases God. We are also instructed in the way to seek guidance from the Lord. Guidance is to be sought as God teaches in Deuteronomy 29:29:
29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
In this passage from Gods Word, Christians are instructed not to seek guidance from those things that God has not revealed to us; that is, we are not to seek to determine the secret will of God before we act in a matter.
Many today mistakenly attempt to do this. They ask God for signs, visions, dreams or a feeling of peace before they act. All such actions are attempts to discern the secret will of God for their lives. But God specifically says that He will not reveal these things to us!
How then are we to know what to do when we are called on to make any decision in our lives? We are to make our decisions based on the revealed will of God, the Holy Bible.
In the Bible we discover the revealed will of God for His people. This revealed will is made up of both general principles and specific commandments. In some cases God tells us directly what to do and how to go about doing it. In other cases, however, we do not find such specific commands. Instead, we read of general principles which apply to our lives, and govern our decisions.
For example, no Christian should ever be confused about whether it is proper to marry. The Scriptures teach the honor of marriage in various passages (for example, Gen. 2:18; Heb. 13:4). But the Scriptures nowhere tell a specific Christian the name of the person he is to marry. Instead, general principles are laid down which will enable a Christian to choose a godly spouse. He or she is to be in the Lord (another Christian) according to 1 Cor. 7:39. A Christian is not to be unequally yoked (not to marry an unbeliever) according to 2 Cor. 6:14. A Christian is not to marry someone who has been unscripturally divorced (divorced on grounds that the Bible does not recognize as legitimate) according to Matt. 5:31-32; 19:3-12; Mark 10:2-5; Luke 16:18; and 1 Cor. 7:10-24, 33, 34, 39, 40. If these guidelines are followed, a Christian may be assured that his choice of a mate is pleasing in Gods sight, without having to know the secret will of God as to the name of his life partner.
Dont feelings play any part in decision making? Arent we supposed to feel good about the decision we make? Arent we to be at peace about it? Certainly we are. But to use those feelings as criteria on which you base your decision is to sin against God. You are not to go by feelings, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Good feelings will come along as a result of making a godly decision based on the Scriptures. But they are never to lead the way. They are the caboose, not the engine.
This is especially hard to understand in our day, because everywhere we are confronted with a feeling-oriented culture. On TV and in the movies, people fall in love, experience warm feelings inside and get married. Then later when those warm feelings have died down they think that they have fallen out of love, and they divorce. A marriage based solely on feelings is doomed from the start. For a marriage to work it needs Biblical commitment to one another in covenant before the Lord. It is only such commitment, which is part of the Biblical teaching on marriage, that will sustain a marriage in those rocky times when feelings grow cold. And when a marriage is Biblically based, and has been entered into by Biblical principles of decision making, those feelings can be rekindled and the marriage made stronger than it ever was before.
The Bible is to be our rule of faith and practice. In it we not only learn what to believe about God, but also how to live to please Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. Part of Christian living is godly decision making. Those decisions are to be based, not on attempts to discern Gods secret will for your life before the fact, but on the principles and specific commands which God has graciously given in His Word for that very purpose.
Christian, if you want to make decisions which please God, look to His Word for guidance, not inside yourself to often misleading feelings, hunches, and intuition. It is only as you begin to do this that your decisions will truly honor God.
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|This page was last updated 19 June 2008.|