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How can I know whether God is telling me to do something?

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In the Bible, God reveals many ways He has communicated with people. How can we know when God is telling us to do something?

A look at Scripture reveals that one of the best ways to determine if God is telling us to do something is to see if it is consistent with God's teachings. John 16:13 teaches, "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth." In other words, God's Spirit will only guide you to do things that are consistent with what God has already taught as truth.

Another way to know when God is telling you to do something is through prayer. James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." If we are uncertain, we are to pray and ask for wisdom from God.

A third way to better know when God is telling you to do something is through counsel with other Christian friends. Proverbs 15:22 observes, "Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed." Proverbs 11:14 says, "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." It is often through consulting with godly people that God helps us to discover whether our motives are pure and confirms whether our desires are truly from God.

Fourth, God often prepares our circumstances to support the way He is leading. The saying, "Where God leads, He also guides," can be a helpful way of considering God's will for your life. For example, if God is leading you to move to a new town, He may choose to allow you to meet certain people or make connections for the new place in ways that help confirm His leading in a new direction. When circumstances match God's Word, prayer, and godly counsel, they may be part of God's way to indicate His leading.

If God's Word is consistent with how you are being led, your prayers appear to affirm your leading, other godly friends confirm your plans, and God has allowed circumstances to support your calling, then it may be that God is telling you to take a particular course of action. Even in the lives of biblical leaders, God rarely spoke audibly or provided clear signs like a burning bush or sending an angel. In most cases, God's Spirit will lead believers toward godly actions through less dramatic means.

God's Word speaks on the major issues regarding God's will. However, He has also provided His Spirit, prayer, godly people, and circumstances to help guide our individual lives regarding the specific details of many areas of our lives. When we are aware of these areas and seek God's will for our lives, He often shows us insights that better guide us in making decisions to honor Him.

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