“Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised— look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor…”
In last week’s post, What Makes You Come Alive? Do That! I shared a bit of advice and encouragement I had received from a friend. In the post, I made the statement, “Consider this your “sign” my friend. What makes you come alive? Do that…” As I reflected on this post over the past week, I couldn’t help but think how often many of us seek an external sign in our life regarding God’s direction for us. Perhaps a word from a friend, a passage in a book, or really through any other possible means we may conjure up.
Understand, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be clear on God’s will and direction for our lives, that is actually a good thing. I would suggest; however, there are times our desire for an external sign is really just a means of putting off what we already know God has called us to do.
In Judges 6 we read the story of Gideon. As we pick up our story, an angel appeared to Gideon and told him God had chosen him to lead Israel in battle against the Midianites, a people who had been harshly oppressing the Jews. Full of insecurity, Gideon was shocked to think he could be the one to deliver Israel. While having clearly heard the angel’s instructions, Gideon asked God for a clear sign of His leading. Gideon then placed a lamb’s fleece on the barn floor and prayed that the following morning it would be dry and the ground around it wet. When God granted his request, Gideon then reversed his request and asked that the next morning the fleece would be wet and the ground dry. God again responded as Gideon asked. After both signs were granted, Gideon then concluded he was in fact to lead Israel to victory over Midian – just as the angel had originally instructed.
This story is no doubt one of interest as it has led many to ask God to show them His will through a specific external sign. Further, we can reference the example of Abraham’s servant asking for a special sign when seeking a wife for Isaac, or the multiple examples of casting lots to know God’s will through an external sign in both the Old and New Testament.
However, what do all of these examples of asking for an external sign regarding God’s will have in common? They were all done before the giving of the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 1 we read of the last example of casting lots when the disciples chose a successor for Judas. After the giving of the Holy Spirit, in Acts 2, the New Testament makes no further mention of anyone casting lots. Nor does it report any occasion where someone sought God’s will through an external sign.
So what does this leave us to conclude? I would suggest from this we can surmise that if we are believers in Jesus Christ who therefore have the Holy Spirit living within, we have already been given everything we need to know God’s will and make wise decisions in our lives.
With Jesus now seated in heaven, we have the Holy Spirit with us. The whole reason He lives in us is to lead and guide us each and every day. He directs our thoughts, feelings and emotions, prompting us to take action and follow God’s plan for our lives.
Really think about that for a minute. We cannot assume all thoughts, feelings and emotions we have are our own. If we have the Spirit living within, it only makes sense He would lead us through these avenues. So when we feel sudden compassion for someone, are compelled to speak of word of encouragement to a friend or even total stranger, feel a nudge to give an extra generous tip to our server or someone in need, or are drawn to step out of our comfort zone and pursue a dream, whatever the prompt may be, don’t ignore it. It is likely not your own great idea – as much as we may like to think so. Understand that such thoughts, feelings and emotions are likely from the Holy Spirit. Lean in to the leading of the Spirit and then follow.
If you have been looking for an external sign regarding a specific situation you are facing, my challenge to you this week is to spend time in prayer, considering if you already have your answer. Could it be you are looking for an external sign as a means of putting off what God has already told you to do? If so, stop looking for a sign, you already have your answer. Move forward in faith and continue to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit – the promptings are the only “sign” you truly need.