Today’s Devotional: The Absence of Supernatural Guidance

Do you ever wish God would just tell you exactly what He wanted you to do?

Few people have had the blessing of a crystal-clear calling from God. Their stories are inspiring and often amazing, but they have the side effect of tempting us to think that if we haven’t “heard God,” we’re spiritually defunct. However, as Blaine Smith from Nehemiah Notes writes in this article, overtly supernatural guidance isn’t actually all that common. In fact, instances of God giving humans specific spiritual direction are few and far between:

There are substantial reasons why we shouldnt normally expect supernatural guidance today. One is the scarcity of it in the early church. When we examine the many personal decisions noted in the New Testament, we find that most were made simply through practical reasoning, with no supernatural guidance involved. Even Paul rarely experienced it. Acts records less than ten incidences when he did, and the evidence is overwhelming that supernatural guidance seldom played a role in his day-to-day decisions.

Furthermore, its by no means evident that the typical Christian in the early church ever received such guidance, or even that most of the apostles did after Pentecost. It was clearly was a decidedly exceptional experience in the New Testament church.

Even more important, there is no statement in the Old or New Testament instructing us either to seek or expect supernatural guidance. If God had wished us to rely on it as our normal approach to knowing his will, he surely would have given us a command to that effect within his Word.

Then there are practical reasons why God wouldnt normally choose to guide us supernaturally. For one thing, the experience could be terribly frightening to us. Martin Luther notes, Our nature cannot bear even a small glimmer of Gods direct speaking. . . . The dreams and visions of the saints are horrifying . . . at least after they are understood.* The late James H. Miers, former pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland, prayed hard for a supernatural revelation from God. When it finally came, he said, it scared him half to death!

Beyond this obvious psychological hazard, supernatural guidance could pose severe trials for our faith. We might be inclined to think of ourselves as more spiritual than others who havent had our experience. Supernatural guidance also could make the decision process too easy for us, robbing us of the incentive to take the sort of responsibility for our choices that truly develops faith.

Blaine does explain that there are exceptions to this, so it’s worth reading the whole article at

Have you ever gotten direct guidance from God? If not, how do make sure that your decisions are aligning with the principles we’ve been given in the Bible?

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