Christians have Jesus as a guide. He didn’t just save us and leave us to live on our own. He has a plan and purpose for our lives, and by considering the following, we can have confidence that we are making decisions in line with His will.
When a job offer comes your way, a new house looks irresistible and affordable, or a golden opportunity seems to fall into your lap, how do you know if it’s really from God? The Bible is full of wisdom to help us discern God’s will and make decisions that are not just good ones, but the best ones. Some “open doors” might be good opportunities, but not necessarily the best ones for us. God may speak audibly to you or make some things undeniably clear, but for me and many others, God can guide in other ways. Instead of sitting and waiting to hear an audible voice telling me what to do, I made a choice and let the Lord guide me through it. We all face decisions, and often let the fear of making the wrong choice keep us from making any choices at all. We wait for a divine sign from God, but aren’t willing to simply dive in and let Him guide us if and when we are wrong.
So here are five questions to help us discern if an open door or opportunity is from God and represents His best:
1. What does the Bible say?
God won't contradict His Word. Through spending daily time in the Bible, we can know if God has already commanded us to do or not to do something. For example, the Bible won’t have a clear cut answer on what to say to the person who insults you, but it does say to, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse” (Romans 12:14). There are already countless pages of wisdom at our fingertips to guide and direct us.
2. What does the Holy Spirit say?
The Holy Spirit guides us as we pray and act. If we're praying for guidance, we should be listening for answers. As Christians, we have the living and active Holy Spirit inside of us (1 Corinthians 3:16)! We all face decisions, and often let the fear of making the wrong choice keep us from making any choices at all. If you feel uneasy when praying about an opportunity, that can be the Holy Spirit leading you away. If you feel peace when praying about something, that can be the Holy Spirit’s affirmation. It looks different for every person, but it is important to be willing and ready to listen to the Holy Spirit.
3. What does common sense say?
Is it a logical fit for your gifts, talents, or abilities? It wouldn’t make sense for me to say the Lord was leading me to audition for American Idol because I have no musical ability. If I have a gift at writing or administration, I do those things for the glory of God and look for opportunities that align with my gift. We should assess the gifts that the Lord has given us, and use those gifts to further the Kingdom of God. We all have different talents and abilities we can use together as the body of Christ (Romans 12:6).
4. What do other godly people say?
One way God guides us is through godly advice. When we live in community with other believers, they can more credibly speak truth into our lives. Surround yourself with godly people that you respect and that are willing to listen. If you feel like something is from God, ask other people who love Jesus what they think and be receptive to their honesty (Proverbs 19:20-21).
5. What do your circumstances say?
God can also guide us through circumstantial signs. If you have been praying for clarity on an opportunity, and it changes or something happens that hinders your progress, that can be an indication you are not to pursue that opportunity. Sometimes God uses the circumstances that we cannot control, whether positive or negative, to lead us in a different direction. Even though God sometimes speaks audibly, be willing to hear His still and small voice in other, less dramatic ways (1 Kings 19:11-12) and use these questions to test whether or not an opportunity is from Him.
GOD BLESS YOU!