I recently was asked about whether God speaks today to people through dreams, visions, angels, and other experiences. This question highlights a fundamental question about how God reveals Himself to us today. If we believe that God speaks to us only through Scripture today, then we will be dedicated to searching the Scriptures regularly for guidance and insight from the Lord. If we believe that God speaks through a variety of means including Scripture, personal experience, visions, dreams, circumstances, inner peace, etc, then we will be trying to compile all of these messages to understand God’s direction. Whatever answer you have to the question of how God reveals Himself today will dramatically affect how you live your life and what decisions you make.
After discussing this question with a friend of mind, he recommended the book Is that You Lord? A Biblical Perspective on Hearing the Voice of the Lord by Gary E. Gilley. Gary is the pastor of Southern View Chapel in Springfield, Illinois and writes the monthly study paper, Think on These Things.
In Gary’s book, he seeks to help believers understand from Scripture how God teaches us to know His will. “Finding God’s will” is something that many Christians find a frustrating and challenging pursuit. Stories of how others “found God’s will” can cause more searching and frustration, especially when these stories highlight circumstances, inner feelings, or external messages such as visions, dreams, etc.
The basic premise of Gary’s book is that God has revealed all of His will that we need to know in Scripture. There is no need to seek for some hidden, secret, personal will of God for our lives that is not already clearly taught in Scripture. God’s Word contains His final, full, and sufficient revelation of Himself to us. It contains all that we need for life and godliness and for every good work (2 Peter 1:3, 2 Timothy 3:15-4:20).
This means that making decisions is both easier and harder. It is easier in the sense that we don’t have to wait for some impression, feeling, or circumstantial evidence before making a decision. But it is harder in that we have to carefully search God’s Word for God’s will and then with wisdom seek to apply what God’s Word teachings to our day-to-day lives.
I would really challenge every Christian to read the book and carefully ask themselves how they make decisions about God’s will and direction. Are those decisions based on the Scripture, on personal feel and experience, or a combination of both?
In the New Testament, we are not told to seek God’s will but to make wise decisions based upon biblical commands and principles. The understanding of these principles gives the child of God wonderful freedom and great confidence in their pursuit of lives that please the Lord. – Gary E. Gilley