Many of us when we have a big question to answer in our life, we seek out counsel, and as follower’s of Christ, we’re usually encouraged to “listen to God’s leading.” What? How do I that? What’s God’s leading, other than Christianese? While it certainly isn’t easy to hear God’s voice amongst all the noise of our culture, I believe strongly that it is possible, and should definitely be sought out when you have no easy answers (or perhaps, even when you do have easy answers).
Last week, I began to list some of the things I did when I was seeking God’s direction when considering what school to attend for college. I suggested that we need to keep our head in the Bible. (If you haven’t yet read Part 1, you can do so here.) This week I offer two more suggestions for hearing God’s voice.
2. Seek spiritual counsel and wisdom
Even if you’re not contemplating full-time ministry training, you need to find someone you trust, someone with greater life wisdom than you, more mature in their faith than you, and preferably someone who knows you reasonably well.
Talk to your pastor, your priest, a board member, a church elder, your Sunday school teacher, that old lady that always sits in the very front row with that feathered hat that doubles her height, and blocks the view of everyone behind her. Tell them your situation, and ask them for wisdom. Write it down. And if it agrees with Scripture and it agrees with your spirit; if it checks out with #1 (here), hold on to it tightly!
3. Honour your parents
It’s a little unconventional perhaps for advice on hearing God’s voice to throw the Fifth Commandment at you:
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. – Exodus 20:12
But, more so than seeking spiritual counsel, we need to seek the advice of our parents. Perhaps you don’t always agree with your parents opinion. Maybe your parents aren’t even followers of Christ. Maybe they could care less what choices you make. It doesn’t matter. God has called His followers to honour their parents.
Discuss your concerns with them, ask for their wisdom and advice on the situation. Honouring them does not necessarily mean obeying them–especially if you’re an adult. You honour them by seriously considering what they have to say, and responding sensibly with what you think. This act of honouring will speak so much about your character, it will be remembered beyond the present concern.
I was in Nairobi, Kenya for my Junior year of college, and needed to decide on a location for my internship for the Fall. I had lined up an opportunity to work with some missionaries in Kyrgyzstan. I had the option approved by my program overseer. I was set to go. But when I suggested the idea to my parents, they didn’t even want to hear it. I had been in Kenya for 11 months. Going to Kyrgyzstan meant I would be away from home for a total of 16 months. They would not support my decision. So I didn’t go. And the missionary ended up leaving the country during the time I would have been there.
My wife felt called by God to go to Bible College, so she went. But she went without her father’s blessing and approval. Throughout her first semester, her father remained firm in his choice. She came home for Christmas having already decided that if her father didn’t change his mind, she would not return. God worked on his heart, however, and he eventually did give his blessing. But she was willing to honour him in his decision and give up what she believed God had called her to, trusting another option would come. Thankfully another option wasn’t necessary, or else I never would have met her.
Honour your parents in choices. God commands it.
Question: Who do you go to for counsel? Whom do you trust? Do you follow the 5th Commandment when you relate to your parents in life? Share some of your experiences in the comments below.