Living a Christian life is challenging and we sometimes face tough questions about our faith. We may have questions about what God is doing in our lives, or we may need help as we make decisions about the future. Where do we turn for such guidance as we seek to do God’s will?
In my previous article, I outlined a systematic approach to finding out what God may be saying to you based on my experience as a Christian counselor. I pointed out that the first step is to recognize that you are dependent on God, and suggested that we can learn from the example of those who have gone before us. More specifically, we can learn from the approach of John Wesley who highlighted the importance of Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience for those who are seeking God’s will in their lives. Having discussed the importance of Scripture in the previous article, I now turn to Wesley’s other points.
Tradition Shows Us How Earlier Generations Sought God’s Will
This second point of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral involves precisely what we saw previously with John Wesley himself. Tradition provides us with thousands of years of Church history since Jesus gave the great commission to his disciples, and this means that we have a wide variety of examples from the past to inform our decisions today. This can involve anything from reading literature to speaking with your pastor. Traditions exist because they have worked for others in the past – and, for this very reason, they may be helpful to you too.
Reason is God’s Gift to Us as We Seek Guidance
The third point that Wesley highlights is reason. This means using our God-given intellect to make decisions and to explore the world around us. God designed us with minds that can do amazing things, and we should not be afraid to engage our minds as we seek God’s will. If you have a plan but also notice that you are having reservations about it, there may be a good reason for this. Stay thoughtful, and trust that God will provide you with peace and insight as you consider what to do next.
We Draw on Our Own Experience as We Seek to Know God’s Will
The fourth point to consider is experience. This can be either our own personal experiences of God in the past, or our communal experience of living with God as a body of believers in which we help and support one another in our relationships. We are formed and transformed by our experiences and relationships, so it is important to consider how these have shaped you in the past as you contemplate your future.
Do Not Forget the Power of Prayer
Once you have considered each of the points of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, there are a few more places to which you can turn for direction. Consider those things that have been helpful to others in the past, or which you have found helpful in your own personal experience. We should never underestimate or forget the power of prayer. While God may not always speak to you as clearly as you would like Him to, you always have the opportunity to speak with Him. God assures us in the Bible that He hears us when we call on His name. Make sure that you are in prayer about all your questions.
A Christian Counselor Can Help You as You Seek God’s Will
When we continue to struggle with doubt and have questions about God’s will for our lives, it can also help to speak to someone we can trust. This can be as simple as a conversation with a trusted friend or family member, or it can mean seeking professional Christian counseling. Christian counselors have been trained to help people with matters of faith and can be an excellent source of direction and counsel for those times in life when things are not clear. Remember that God loves you and created you to be in relationship with Him. He has given you a number of avenues through which to pursue Him, but He is also pursuing you in ways which you may not even perceive. When you don’t know where to go next, a Christian counselor can provide practical and Biblically-based support and guidance for your specific need.
Images are from freedigitalphotos.net: “Young Woman Reading Stock Photo” by nuchylee; “Hand Holding Sun” by SOMMAI