Thursday, August 21, 2008

Everywhere there's signs...

Signs Signs
Everywhere there's signs
Blocking up the scenery
Breaking up my mind
Do this, don't do that
Can't you read the sign
-Tesla

About a month ago I went to a fantastic class on listening for the voice of God. One of the participants asked the teacher what he thought about "signs" from God, to which the teacher responded that he felt signs were the most unreliable way to hear from God. He said he's seen too many people drive themselves half-mad looking for signs, seeing contradictory signs, or waiting on signs to act.

He did qualify that he does believe God speaks in signs, but probably not as often as we would like, expect or think.

When I examine myself and the times I have asked for signs, I have to cringe a little. There have been times when I have been genuinely, absolutely at a loss for what to do and asked God for a sign. There are other times when I have asked for signs when really, my conscience was screaming at me what to do, but I was looking for a way out of whatever I didn't want to do.

But, like with every message from God, the first opportunity for error comes in our interpretation. So often we're quick to identify and interpret "signs" in ways that would benefit us.

I'm not hating on signs. I believe I've received them and been blessed by them. I also just recognize the margin of error due to my bias.

I'm actually more interested in hearing what you all think or have to say on the subject than expounding on it myself. So, let me know what you think.

6 comments:

Alyson said...

I've had one experience in my life where I thought God was speaking to me with a "sign" and later realized that I knew what to do anyway, but the "sign" was confirmation. I think our conscience is a better way to determine what we should do with ourselves, because it's true that everything... or nothing can be a sign to certain people, and it is a really unreliable way to seek the will of God.

Anonymous said...

This is a good question -- and one that I've thought about a lot lately. One thing I've noticed is that most people who are looking for a sign are wanting to know if they should pursue a particular job or significant other, etc, etc. Those are certainly not bad things, but it is much more rare to hear of someone who received a sign to give up a certain sin or pursue holiness at a deeper level, etc. That makes me wonder if "signs" are often be more self-serving than God-serving.

Another thing that bothers me about signs is that they can rarely be verified by anyone other than the person who receives them. If I proclaim to have a new doctrinal position, my friends can help me by pointing out scriptures that support or refute what I say, but it's impossible to have this kind of accountability if I say I have received a sign.

I guess all I'm trying to say is that I agree with your teacher about using caution when it comes to signs.=)God is certainly capable of working in countless different ways; we just need to keep our motives in check.

---CritterMer=)

Anonymous said...

My random visitation to your blog has compelled me to point out that "Signs" is not a Tesla song.. they just covered it, and the original was written by the Five Man Electrical Band. :)

Also, I think God speaks through the conscience.. I think more often than not, when people see a "sign" they are seeing what THEY want to see, not what God wants them to see.

Anonymous said...

After talking to people all day long, I've come to believe less in coincidences and signs. When I look at a "sign" or "coincidence" in the context of someone's life, I find a lot of mystery taken out of it. The question I often ask myself is: what part is God playing in all of it?

I presume it all lies in the interpretation of the event. Me not getting a job could be a "sign" I don't need to work in that city, or to someone else it could just mean they didn't get the job. Is a call from a long lost friend a sign of something, or is that just what long lost friends do? And again, what is God's role in the whole thing? I put most my mental energy into this question. Well, this question and the thought that we're all falling of a building right now and living a flashback...

Ben T.

Holly said...

Ann,

This is a great discussion! I think that God speaks to us in all kinds of ways. When I think of this issue, I think of the verse in Proverbs that says, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter and the glory of a King to search it out." So, I think that the Lord (and Satan) are always at work in the world, and the Lord soemtimes uses unusual circumstances in our lifes to get our attention about a matter.

I also think that all things must be searched out by scripture and tested by the Spirit. For instance, just because I read an article about a particular country and then the same day get an email in my inbox about that country does not mean I am supposed to jump up and move there. But perhaps the Lord is placing it in my heart to pray for that place or maybe there is something I need to think about regarding the Lord's work in the world.

So I believe that God speaks to us in signs, sometimes, and I believe sometimes the context of our understanding of the way the Lord works plays into our interpretation of those. BUT I think that anything that spurs into deeper understanding of the Lord is a good thing

Mr.B said...

Hello all. During Old Testament times, God spoke to His chosen people, Israel, by signs. But Jesus Christ said that those who are asking and looking out for signs are faithless. Yes, the commentator that said we should be wary of them is exactly correct. We shouldn't even ask God for them but excersize our spirit to the point that we can be led by the spirit in us. Paul, the Apostle, said that the children of God are led by the Spirit of God. Signs are kind of like emotions. Today that sign may mean one thing and tomorrow, it may mean another.
Kindly, Mr.B