As complicated as life is most of the time, it’s nice to have people in our life that we respect and trust enough to help us think through our decisions. If we decide to take advantage of God’s offer for assistance in every area of our life, including wise decision making, how can we discern the difference between His thoughts and our thoughts as we think an issue through?
Accessing the wisdom of God in decision making was never intended to be a complicated process. One of the clear and detailed sources of God’s wisdom is what He has already literally “spelled out in black and white”—the Bible. Becoming familiar with the authors of each book of the Bible, and their intended audiences, helps us determine how we can apply what’s already been said by God to our current-day issues. There is a lot of practical wisdom for relationship choices, business decisions and addressing the personal and cultural problems we face every day.
Familiarity with His principles for having peace, joy and contentment in spite of our circumstances allows us to be “OK” regardless of the outcome of our tough decisions. Remember, our making a good choice doesn’t always result in a “good” outcome. Regardless of how wise our own decision might be, the people we are in relationship with will always have the opportunity to exercise their free will in a healthy or unhealthy way. Not everyone will be looking for wisdom the same way you do.
Most of us understand that there is a lot of straightforward direction available if we are willing to be good students of the Bible. Our struggle usually comes in the form of deciding if the way we are discerning Scripture is based on an accurate perception of God’s intent, or our learned traditions.
Let me suggest a few ideas for having some degree of certainty that the “still, small voice” you are hearing internally is God’s.
Become familiar with what He has already told you is a clear declaration of His will and wisdom. God speaking within you will never violate what He has already said in Scripture.
Become familiar with God himself. Haven’t you noticed that there are some people in your life that you have spent so much time with that you recognize their voice and know who they are the moment you hear their voice on the phone? They don’t have to announce who they are. Our quantity and quality time with them makes them quickly recognizable.
Developing familiarity with God occurs as a result of time spent reading His “letters” to us. It also develops as we practice the regular habit of talking to Him (prayer), and then pausing to listen for His response.
Another way to have some certainty that what you are hearing within is God is the content of the “messasge.” If it involves loving someone else through practical mininistry that includes personal sacrifice, there’s a good possibility that it’s Him.
The best thing you have going for you in this journey to know God and His voice is the fact that He wants the same thing for you.