It’s A Sign

January 29, 2022

Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee. He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.

John 2:11

Written by Paul Wilkinson from the Brentwood Campus

A plaguing question for the believer is how do we know when something is an actual sign from God? Is it merely subjective experience? Do I just get a warm feeling from the Spirit and go with it?

For a long time in my life I followed “coincidences” rather than the Lord. I assumed because something “fit together” well that it must be godly. But, as my theological foundations grew, I came to understand that I should be more discerning. Satan is so clever precisely because he makes his works look like God’s works. Satan uses Scripture while twisting its meaning. Satan is the great counterfeiter!

So how do we know what’s true? I’ve settled on a kind of general litmus test to gauge my warrant in believing that a happenstance is of God or not. Essentially I’m asking myself why I would think I can actually discern the voice of the Spirit in my life. The Bible teaches that you know a tree by its fruit. So, what fruit are you producing? Start with the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. If we are of the Spirit, then these sorts of character traits ought to flow naturally out of us. I’m not suggesting we’re perfect at them, rather I’m arguing that if these traits are generally our desire and response, then we have good warrant for thinking we can discern the Spirit’s voice.

A second test I have for myself is what I call prescriptive discipleship which I learned from Allan Taylor. Throughout the Gospels we see a number of statements like if you’re my disciple, then do x or if you love me, you’ll do y. Five of those conditionals involve: following Jesus (Luke 9:23), continuing in Jesus’ word/teaching (John 8:31), loving one another (John 13:35), keeping Jesus’ commands (John 14:15), and producing fruit/multiplying (John 15:8). If I’m not keeping Jesus’ commands or if I’m not making disciples or if I’m not loving other believers well in my small group, then I’m not confident I can discern the Spirit’s voice.

Lastly, I ask myself about those general habits of faith: gathering with other believers for worship, bible study, mission journeys, local community volunteering, prayer, small group, etc. If these things are absent in my life and other mature believers are not affirming what I think I’m seeing, then I’m not confident I can discern the Spirit’s voice.

Don’t let Satan fool you. Train up your spiritual fitness such that you can discern the true sign of God. It will deepen your faith bring refreshing purpose into your life.

Subscribe to the Daily Devotional