Wrong Approach #3: Sign-Seeking Approach
As the name implies, a sign-seeker is always asking God to “show me a sign.” You may say something like, “God, if you want me to marry this girl, I pray that she will wear a blue shirt today.” If she shows up in pink she’s just out of luck–she obviously didn’t get the heavenly memo.
There are examples in the Bible of God speaking through signs (see Gideon and his fleece, Judges 6:36-40). While this happened at different times in the Bible, we should not use this as a pattern for finding God’s will. Here’s why:
Gideon and others did not have a Bible. We do.
God has given us an entire book that we can read to understand His will. Gideon and others did not have this advantage, so God spoke to them through angels, dreams, and signs. Can’t God still do this today? Sure He can, but why should we ask him for a special sign when He’s already given us plenty of instruction. Look to the Bible before anything else.
Often the signs in the Bible only confirmed what God had already spoken.
This is true in Gideon’s case. God used a sign to simply confirm something that He had already told Gideon. I see this pattern over and over in the Bible–God speaks, then He gives a sign to confirm His promise.
Can we ask God to confirm something that we think He is telling us? Yes, but be careful that you are not playing games with God. Let me give you an example. A couple of years ago I decided to continue my ministry here as an independently funded missionary. I felt that this was God’s will for me. I asked God to make it clear that I would be able to raise enough money. He did confirm this–people responded to my fundraising efforts and it became obvious that I would have enough financial support. Do you see the practical nature of this? I didn’t run outside and ask God to send a meteor shower–I simply asked Him to practically confirm what He was telling me in my heart.
“Signs” can be easy to misinterpret
There’s a wonderful example of this in Bo Sanchez’s How to Find Your One True Love. He mentions a young woman who was in a relationship. Her boyfriend had a terrible temper and was very hard to get along with. She prayed that she would receive white-colored gifts at an upcoming party if mr. hot-head was the one she should marry. She received three gifts that were white in color. She married him. He continued to be a major jerk and was a nightmare to live with.
What happened? She followed a “sign” instead of using her God-given common sense and other resources (the Bible, the counsel of wise friends, etc).
Learn how to study the Bible and to recognize God’s voice. Follow God, Don’t Follow Signs!
One day some teachers of religious law and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign to prove your authority.”
But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.”
–Matthew 12:38-40 (NLT)
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