Do You Need A Sign From God?

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Sign from God

Do You Need A Sign From God?

By:  Rick Fannin

Do you need a sign from God?  Have you ever asked God to give you a sign?  It is a bold thing to do, and many of us have done it before.  Sometimes, we ask God for a sign out of desperation, frustration, confusion, fear, or doubt.  Sometimes, we need a physical, tangible, visible sign to confirm what God has been speaking to us because of our limited faith.  Sometimes we ask for this sign to confirm a difficult decision that we have been procrastinating on making.  At our core, we knew what we should do, but we could not make this decision without first getting a sign from God out of fear.  We may even get these signs, but we continue to avoid making this difficult decision.  However, you will never realize God's blessing in your life until you stop ignoring the signs that God is giving you.  Your actions must align with God's direction, or you will never receive the blessings that God wants for you and your life.

Ignoring God comes at a steep cost.  The Bible is full of stories to prove this, and trust me.  My life is also full of examples of the high cost I have paid when I have ignored what God has been telling me.  Honestly, right now, I am still cleaning up the mess of my life caused by ignoring what I know that God has been telling me for a long time.  This was something that I knew the Holy Spirit had been speaking to me over the last three years, but I simply ignored it.  I hoped that things would change, that a miracle would happen.  I hoped that my self-centered desires would somehow become God's desires for my life.  I deceived myself into thinking that I was walking in faith.  In reality, I was walking in defiance of what God had told me all along.  I was waiting for God to align with me instead of taking corrective steps for me to become aligned with God.

So, this weekend, I asked God to give me a sign of what I should do with this relationship that I have been struggling with.  LOL, be very careful of what you pray for.  I committed to God that if he would only give me a sign today, I would follow his direction no matter what.  After praying this prayer on my way to see this person, I was hit with sign after sign that day.  Each of these signs confirmed what God has been telling me all along.  After these symbolic encounters with God, it was now up to me to walk in faith.  "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:26)

I cannot ask God for a sign and then ignore these signs and claim that I am walking in faith that God will deliver what I deeply desire.  No.  I had to take a step of action that aligned with what God had just confirmed.  I had to let go of the death grip on this relationship.  I had to surrender this person and this relationship to God.

This relationship meant so much to me.  It was one that I just couldn't imagine not having in my life.  I realize now that this relationship was also used as an idol, and I desired this relationship more than I desired a close, intimate, and personal relationship with God.  But, after I finally took this step of faith in alignment with God by ending this relationship, I was hit by a peace that surpasses all understanding.  Ignoring God by having a death grip on this relationship equated to constant anxiety, sadness, fear, and anger in my life and their lives.

When I finally listened to God and my actions aligned with Him, I was instantly rewarded with peace.  I could never have imagined I would feel such a feeling of peace by letting go of something that I desired so much.  But there is always a rich reward by aligning with God's plan for your life.

Honestly, this relationship is one that I felt was divinely architected from the moment I met this person.  Maybe I was completely wrong.  Or, perhaps it really was.  Perhaps it was one that God intended for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  And, even after surrendering this relationship and letting go, I still believe that any of the above could still be possible.  I know that this relationship would have equated to constant pain and suffering in my life until I finally let go of it and humbly placed it in God's perfect hands.

So, I thought I would write this article on what does it mean to ask God for a sign, how to ask God for a sign, where to look for signs from God, how to know if this sign is from God, and what to do when you get a sign from God.  But, if you do receive a sign from God, I deeply urge you to immediately take action in a manner aligned with what God is revealing to you.

What Does It Mean to Ask God for A Sign?

Asking for a sign means to ask God to do something, sometimes in a highly unusual way, to confirm His will.  The Bible is full of examples of others who have asked God for a sign.  Moses, Hezekiah, Gideon, David, and others in the Bible all received miraculous signs of affirmation.  Sometimes God initiated the sign, while people asked God for the sign at other times.

When Saul's son Jonathan was preparing to fight the Philistines, he looked for a sign that God would be with him.  He told his armor-bearer, "If they say to us, 'Wait until we come to you,' then we will stand in our place and not go up to them.  But if they say, 'Come up to us, ' we will go up, for the Lord has given them into our hands, and this shall be the sign to us" (1 Sam. 14:9-10).  God revealed this sign to him to know how to respond to bring victory.

A sign can be as simple as a door of opportunity opening or closing or as complex as a set of circumstances miraculously coming together.  This sign could be a situation that is too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence.  I call this coincidence God Winks.

Remember that asking for a sign should not be your primary way of discovering God's will.  There is no better source of knowing God's will than knowing God's word.  However, seeking a sign from God can help you on a much more personal level.  God, should I go this way or that way.  God, should I stay or should I go?  God, are you with me on this journey or is this one that I have chosen to be out of alignment with you, and I am walking alone?

Signs Are Often Followed by a Severe Testing of Our Faith

Often the fulfillment of a sign from God is accompanied by a difficult task, such as Gideon going into battle severely outnumbered.  The difficult task that I had to do after receiving these signs from God was to end a relationship with someone I loved.

Although it may be assuring to have solid proof from God as a confirmation, signs are often followed by severe testing of faith.  Gideon had to go fight the mighty Midianites with his army whittled down to just three hundred men.  Moses had to lead Israel on a multi-year journey to the promised land.  If you are planning to ask God for a sign of confirmation, be prepared to have your faith tested.  If you choose to ignore a sign from God, be prepared to have the quality of your life tested.  When God reveals a sign and chooses to ignore it, God tends to increase the pain in our lives until we follow the signs He is showing us.

Seek God's Word and Presence Before Asking for A Sign from God

There are many ways that God speaks to us, and signs and wonders are not the only way.  The most common way that God reveals His will is through His word found in the Bible and through prayer.  The other most frequent way God speaks to us is from the Holy Spirit.

Signs, prophetic words, interpretations, and gifts of knowledge are great, but we cannot overlook the greatest manifestation of God's will by ignoring His word.  The Bible is the greatest instruction manual and troubleshooting guide ever created for your life.  If you honestly, earnestly, and humbly seek it God's word, you will find the solution to most of life's problems.  Just knock, and He will answer.  By reading, knowing, and meditating upon the word of God, you begin to know the will of God better.

Seek sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, not to signs.  The call to be sensitive to God's call is not mysticism but mission.  Some will argue that even Gideon himself asked God for a sign after being called to lead Israel against the Midianites but note how Gideon did it.  He declared, "Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more.  Please let me test just once more with the fleece."

He may have been asking for a sign, but it doesn't mean that God wasn't annoyed by it.  Gideon himself knew that he was wringing the arm of God.  Sometimes, there can be a tendency to twist the arm of God for signs and wonders when he has already clearly spoken.

In my case, I had done just that.  I knew that this relationship was wrong for me long ago.  I heard the Holy Spirit speaking to me with instructions as to what I should do.  I blocked out and ignored these divine instructions found from within.  Instead, I like Gideon, asked God for a sign once again to confirm what had already been revealed by the Holy Spirit.

Often, many believers ignore God's word, direction from the Holy Spirit, or advice of elder Christians in their search for clouds, pillars of fire, or four-leaf clovers.  God speaks, but He doesn't want us to focus on how He speaks, but to focus on Him.  God isn't calling for signs and wonders.  He is calling for sensitivity in the context of having an intimate and personal relationship with Him.

How to Ask God for a Sign

When we go to God and humbly and honestly request a sign of His presence, His favor, His Love, His protection, or His direction, we must consider three things.

  1. Your Motive
  2. Your Mission
  3. Your Manner

Your Motive

Before you ask God for a sign, you should first examine your motive.  Are your heart and your motive pure in why you are asking God for a sign?  Is it about what God wants or about what you want?  Do we want a sign to draw closer to God and follow His will, or do we want a sign to have God put His stamp of approval on a self-made plan that you intend to follow regardless of what a sign from God reveals God's answer?  When we seek God's intervention, our motives should be to see more of God and allow Him to show us who He is.  If we come with self-serving motives, we may not get the answer we seek.

Your Mission

When we come to God, what is our mission?  Are we begging for a sign?  Are you asking for this sign to better understand God's mission for your life, or are you asking for God to put a stamp of approval for your mission for your life?  Have you decided we want a promotion, a new relationship, or more time and money?  Are we looking for God to smile down on us so that our lives will be stress, trouble, and worry-free?  Does getting a sign from God include recognition, success, or praise for ourselves?  If so, you may never see a sign from God for self-serving missions.

God invites us to join His mission to bring love, hope, and peace to a world full of hate, fear, and strife.  He has called us to be His hands and feet, which may include suffering and pain.  He never promised the journey would be easy, but He promises (like He did with Moses and David) that He will never leave us or forsake us.  If we are looking for a sign to know if we are doing God's will, we can be assured God will let us know and lead the way.

Your Manner

I know this sounds crazy, but have you ever prayed something so silly and insignificant as, "God, if you give me a good parking space, then I know you are with me today." But in my experience, prayer does not work like a slot machine.  We cannot just drop in our token requests, pull the lever, and hope we hit the miracle jackpot.  We also cannot demand that God give us a sign for something.

When we come to God asking for a sign, it is okay to be bold and confident.  I think the Bible shows us that both Moses and David approached God in that way.  However, their boldness and confidence did not come from themselves but rather from the God they asked.

Moses acknowledges God as the only reason for the Israelites being set apart. It was not what they did, how they prayed, or the fact that Moses was their chosen leader. It was God and God alone. Likewise, David tells God, "You are my God…none can do what you do…you alone are God."

The manner, attitude, and posture we take in which we come to God, seeking His face, asking Him to show us a sign, is so very essential.  We cannot demand or pout, stomp our feet, or throw a temper tantrum when God does not reveal Himself in the way that we want.

We cannot presume to make deals with God:

If you show me ________, then I will do _________.

Again, this is the God of everything, not some genie in a bottle.  We need to approach God with the reverence and respect He deserves.

"Warning Signs" About Signs

There is a huge difference between humbly asking God for a sign to confirm His will and putting God to the test by demanding He meets your expectations.  Scripture warns, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test" (Luke 4:12).  Occasionally, it is not wrong to ask God for a sign, but be careful not to violate scriptural principles or attempt to force God to do something against His will.  Here are some "warning signs" about signs.

The danger of becoming sign-dependent

King Herod wanted Jesus to perform a miraculous sign for him, but He would not give in to the king's wishes just to satisfy his curiosity (see Luke 23:8).  Some of the religious leaders told Jesus, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." Jesus replied, "An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign, and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet" (Matt. 12:38-39).  He had already performed miracles right before their own eyes, which they had refused to believe.  Yet, they asked Him for even more signs.  Since they did not repent after seeing indisputable evidence that He was the Messiah, why should Jesus give them more proof?

Some people think they should ask God for a sign about every decision they need to make.  God give me a sign if I should order the steak or the shrimp…  We can become sign-dependent, which is dangerous because they will always need to see a proof before they will trust God.

The danger of seeing a sign that is not a sign

Some people interpret everything they see as a sign from God.   This is especially true when it comes to what is called "confirmation bias." Confirmation bias means that we are biased in looking for a confirmation that matches the one we hope for and we tend to reject any contrary confirmations.  This is where you must be open-minded and detached from the outcome.  If we are truly seeking God's sign regarding something, we must be totally open to his answer, even if it doesn't match up with what we want.

The danger of misinterpreting a sign

While the apostle Peter was staying in Joppa, he saw a vision of a sheet coming down from heaven with animals inside it that Jews were forbidden to eat.  The vision was repeated three times, and then a voice said, "Arise, Peter, kill and eat." Peter told God, "By no means Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean." The voice answered, "What God has cleansed is no longer considered unholy" (Acts 10:13-15).

Immediately after the message had been given, three Gentile men showed up at the house door.  If Peter had not correctly interpreted the vision, he would have killed and eaten the three Gentiles!  Instead, the Lord wanted Peter to know that non-Jews, who at that time were considered unacceptable by Jews, would also be included in God's family.  Be sure to interpret the signs correctly, or you will misunderstand God's intended application for your life.

No sign by itself should be taken as absolute proof of God's confirmation but should be affirmed in other ways such as Biblical truth and wise counsel.  As you continue to seek the Lord with an open and willing heart, He will guide you down the correct path.

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