When we are trying to determine God’s will for our lives, should we ask Him for some kind of sign so we will know what to do?? This is a question that has been asked throughout the ages, and there are examples in the Bible of people who did just that. However, should that be one of our primary go-to methods in determining various decisions in life?
Asking For A Sign? What?
When people speak about “asking God for a sign” they are normally wrestling with a tough decision of some kind. They want to ask God to do a certain thing or have a specific situation happen that might indicate to them that a decision is right or wrong.
But, is this really the best way to find out what God wants us to do?
Let’s explore it a bit and attempt to come to a conclusion about whether or not asking for a sign from God is a wise decision in itself.
Although it’s not necessarily sinful, asking God for a sign when making decisions about your life is usually not the greatest method of making the right decisions. And, it can be s slippery slope that can hinder your walk with God if you’re not careful.
However, we do see examples like Gideon and the fleece in scripture (Judges, chapter 6).
As we look at the broader scope of teaching in the Bible (and particularly the New Testament) it doesn’t appear that asking for a sign is the most reliable or best way to discover God’s will or purposes.
You may personally come to another conclusion because God definitely sent some signs in biblical days. And maybe he has loaded you up with signs in your life. If so, good for you. We know that various Christians will take different positions on this issue.
But, let’s have a closer look at the topic. Do, I ask God for a sign or not?
Should I Ask God For A Sign In 2022?
When it comes to the topic of discovering, learning about, or finding God’s will for your life, Google gets quite a few searches. That’s one reason I’m even writing this post. Christians and those who may be seeking God have a desire to know the best decisions to make for their life so they will have the best life possible.
For some questions about life, you really don’t have to search very hard for an answer from God. Should you commit murder? No. Should you be a thief? No. Should you cheat people?
Should you covet? Should you commit adultery? No. No. No. People don’t always obey the answers to questions like those, but those answers are easy to find. Do I ask God for a sign about those? Certainly not.
Our problem is that many of life’s answers are not specifically spelled out in scripture. There are scriptural principles that we can study and follow that will help us determine our direction in life, but the Bible doesn’t specifically name everything.
Who am I to marry? Well, the Bible didn’t specifically tell me which exact person to marry. But, I believe I was faithful to scriptural principles when I made the decision about my life partner (She might feel the same…). Those are the types of decisions for which we may be tempted to ask God for a sign.
It’s 100% fine for us to ask God to guide us in decision-making. It’s great when we ask for His guidance and for His Spirit to work through us as we are making a tough decision. However, to ask God for a sign is a very debatable issue.
One reason is that we see some examples of God giving signs in the Old Testament. The story that will come to mind for many readers of the Bible will be the story of Gideon. Did Gideon ask God for a sign?” He sure did. You may very well know this story as it is a common illustration for this topic.
Should I Ask God For A Sign? Well, Gideon Did!
The story of Gideon is found in the book of Judges, chapter six. Gideon was called by God to lead an Israelite army against the Midianites. Before he did this, however, Gideon wanted some assurance from God that He was doing the right thing. So, Gideon proceeds to ask God for a sign from God.
“So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.”
And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.” Judges 6:36-40
Gideon said he would take a fleece (a piece of cloth) and lay it on the ground. Then, he asked God to let the dew only be on the fleece and not on the ground, then he would know for sure. Well, God did that.
But, then Gideon asked for another sign. For the next morning, he asked that the dew would be only on the ground around it and for the fleece to be dry. God did that as well. So, in this story we see a man ask God for a sign and he got it. God confirmed to Gideon that He was supposed to lead the army against the Midianites.
Okay, God gave someone in the Bible a sign. I guess that settles it! NEXT QUESTION!
What sign can I ask for?? Well…not so fast…
Should I Ask God For A Sign? What About Today?
We’re going to look at what the scripture has to say but just think of something for a moment. What if God did uses signs as one of the primary ways of answering prayer and giving us direction? Isn’t it possible that all determining signs within the activity and faced-paced actions of modern society could cause us even more confusion? It’s very possible.
Maybe your answer is no. You’re reading to read God’s signs to you every day. You would like to be able for God to confirm his will to you by giving you frequent signs. However, would that be living by faith and encouraging us to develop an intimate relationship with God? Well, I’m not so sure about that.
Is It Wrong or a Sin to ask God for a Sign?
I don’t necessarily think that is the case. If you are being rebellious against God in doing so, then, yes. At other times it might not be necessarily wrong – but just not the wisest thing to do. And – there are countless stories out there of people who have interpreted certain events as signs from God when they actually weren’t. When the situation didn’t pan out as they thought they felt extremely hurt.
I know of some very hurtful stories where people interpreted something as a sign from God, they acted on that, and they were very hurt when it turned out that it wasn’t a sign from God at all.
So, think twice, or maybe a dozen times – before you ask God for a sign.
Our advice – Asking for a sign is usually not the best way to find God’s will.
What Did Jesus Said About Asking God For a Sign?
We will keep in mind that when Jesus spoke the following words he was speaking to the Pharisees and Sadducees who were demanding that they be given a sign that would let prove that Jesus was the Messiah.
These guys were always trying to trip Jesus up or distort what He was saying. So, we’re not necessarily making a specific comparison to those who want God to give them signs, but I think we can read the principle here.
“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 12:39-40
So, Jesus certainly wasn’t happy with them asking for a sign about Him being the Messiah.
But, will he give you a visible sign about which house to buy? How to handle your children? How to handle a conversation with your co-worker? I wouldn’t stake my future on that method.
I didn’t say that I wouldn’t count on God. He is 100% reliable, but scripture does not teach “asking for signs” as a primary New Testament method for seeking God’s will.
How To Find God’s Will Without Asking for a Sign
1. Continually Make His Will a Priority
Something that will be extremely helpful is to not wait until you have a very difficult decision in life to get serious about your communication with God. You might not be praying or reading God’s word or putting any effort into your spiritual life.
If that’s the case, that very well be why you feel like you need to ask God for a sign. It’s because you seem disconnected to Him and, therefore, you need something very unmistakable to help you make your decision.
If you haven’t been living in conversation with God, don’t panic. You can change today!
Jesus wants us to live in the attitude and lifestyle of seeking a relationship with Him above all else. If that becomes our habit, then many of the decisions in which we are faced will come to us more easily and more naturally as the Holy Spirit works through us.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
2. Seek His Will Through The Bible
As we mentioned, answers for every specific situation in life are not found in the Bible. However, as you look closely into the scriptures you can find overarching principles that might be related or actually covers the topic in which you are dealing.
Let’s look at the question we asked about who we should marry. Although you won’t find their name and address in Genesis through The Book of Revelation, you can easily see scriptures that will help direct you toward the right person.
If you have a choice of dating someone who is not a Christian or has no interest in God or practicing things in their life that are ungodly, then Scripture provides a warning about that.
However, if you have a chance to date a Godly man or woman who exhibits the fruits of the spirit and follows Christ, then you could reason that there is at least a possibility that this person might make a future spouse.
Or, let’s say you work in computer sales, for instance. Well, obviously you’re not going to find those in the Bible. However, let’s say that someone is trying to get you to be a part of a business deal or transaction that involves dishonesty to the buyer or in selling. Then (Ephesians 4:25) and many other passages could instruct you.
There are hundreds of examples that we could give but simply look for overarching biblical principles that would apply to your specific situation.
- Ortberg, John (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 288 Pages - 03/01/2016 (Publication Date) - Tyndale House Publishers (Publisher)
3. See His Will Through Godly Counsel
Instead of trying to ask God for a sign, you may help determine the best decision in your life by allowing Godly people to speak into your life. It could be a minister of some kind or just a friend or family member you consider wise and walks with God.
God has provided many Godly people here on earth who can provide you with Good counsel about your situation and He can speak through them to give you just the information that you need. That doesn’t mean that all of those answers will be correct.
You still need to compare their answer to what you KNOW from the word of God. If it doesn’t violate scripture and you have confidence in this person as a wise believer, then you may have found great help in making your decision.
“Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.” Proverbs 15:22
4. Pray and Listen
As we said, do your best to be constantly in communication with God, However, in times of decision, it’s wise to make additional times of prayer with God. Maybe even get your friends and relatives to pray with you.
Just as much as asking God for his will and to help you make the right choice, you need to listen. Be quiet before God. Settle your thoughts and listen. He may speak directly to your heart.
However, it can be hard to hear him in today’s society through all the noise. In Psalm 16 He says. “Be still and know that I am God.” Make sure you are listening for His voice and his answers.
5. Examine Your Motives in Decision Making
Be honest with yourself. Look deep within. If you are making a certain tough decision can you honestly look at the motives of your heart and know they are pure?
If you find selfishness or self-centeredness at the heart of a possible choice, then you should pause and look more closely. It could very well mean that you are to go in another direction. However, it’s possible that God points out those issues for you to deal with before you move forward with the decision you are contemplating. So, look at the motives of your heart.
6. Look Closely At the Circumstances.
God will speak through circumstances and sometimes we can simply overlook them. Sometimes we need to just sit back, try to relax, and look at the decision we’re going to need to make in light of our present life circumstances.
Does it seem that God may have worked things out in a way that it would make more sense to go with option A rather than option B or C? Or, does it seem that God may be putting up roadblocks in your pathway that are making it difficult to make the choice you are considering?
Does it appear that God in any way has opened up the way or cleared the path for you to make decision A, rather than B or C?
God can help you know his will through circumstances, however, just know one thing. Sometimes God will ask for us to do something or make a decision that may not make sense to us. Sometimes it might look like there are roadblocks and that he hasn’t cleared the pathway for our decision.
Maybe the reasoning behind it doesn’t seem to add up. That’s when you have to rely on scriptural principles, much prayer, and seek Him first as best as you can. He may just impress upon your heart exactly what to do and you will simply know.
One Final Note
One last thing. Sometimes God’s will is not one small specific target. His will is for you to have a relationship with Him. Within the wonderful spiritual concept of that relationship, there might be many decisions or paths that you could take that would fit under the category of “God’s Will.
Seek to know Him. Seek to love Him and live in the constant knowledge of his grace and love. Doing that will take the pressure off in decision making and there will be no need for a sign. We know that God fully loves us in good times and in difficult times.
Is it a sin to ask for a sign?
I don’t think think so. If you are being rebellious against God in doing so, then yes it can be. At other times it might not be a sin – sometimes just not the wisest thing to do. And – there are countless stories out there of people who have interpreted certain events as signs from God when they actually weren’t. When the situation didn’t pan out as they thought they felt extremely hurt.
I know of some very hurtful stories where people interpreted something as a sign from God and they were very hurt when it turned out that it wasn’t. So, think twice, or maybe a dozen times – before you ask God for a sign.
Our advice – Asking for a sign is not a great way to find God’s will.