I have heard this so many times but have never really seen it as something that new testamant believers have been instructed to do. Even though this is used for a variety of decisions, it seems to be predominantly when it comes to relationships and choosing a life partner. The person then waits to ‘get a confirmation from God’ so that they know if their partner is ‘the one’.

Now let me make this clear. I am NOT saying that God cannot give a confirmation, but what I AM saying is that we are not obliged, required or instructed to wait for one. It is this REQUIREMENT that has become a tradition of man. Some people refuse to make a decision until they get a confirmation or a sign from God.

I have tried to find the scriptural basis for this for myself and cannot find any so did a bit of research to see where other people are finding it from.

One came from 2 Corinthians 13:1 – “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established”

Here Paul quotes Deuteronomy 19:15 which was to be used in the case of a crime where a single witness was not sufficient. If we look at the context of 2 Corinthians 13, we have to go back to chapter 12:20-21 and see that he was talking about how he would deal with sin in the Corinthian church. Compare this with Matthew 18:15-21. It is not saying that we must ask God for a confirmation before we do anything as some teach.

Further examples where God gave a confirmation was when Samuel anoints David to be King (1 Samuel 16: 1-13), when Jeremiah is instructed to buy a field (Jeremiah 32: 6-9), and with Gideon asking about saving Israel. (Judges 6:36-40) but we must remember that Samuel, Jeremiah and David did not have what we have today and that is the Word of God and the Holy Spirit residing in us so we cannot compare our situation directly with theirs. Nor can we take those narratives to say because they got one, that we must do it as well.

The problem with seeking confirmation or sign from God is that both Matthew 12:39 and Matthew 16:4 tell us that “an evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign“.

So if we shouldn’t wait for a confirmation or sign from God, what should be done instead? This is one of the main questions that many Christians ask when it comes to knowing God’s will in a situation and it seems as if it is a minefield. First of all, please read the answer given below from Got Questions

Question: “How can I know God’s will for my life? What does the Bible say about knowing God’s will?”

There are two keys to knowing God’s will for a given situation: 1) Make sure what you are asking for or considering doing is not something the Bible forbids. 2) Make sure what you are asking for or considering doing will glorify God and help you grow spiritually. If these two things are true and God still is not giving you what you are asking, then it is likely not God’s will for you to have what you are asking for. Or, perhaps you just need to wait a while longer for it. Knowing God’s will is sometimes difficult. People want God to tell them specifically what to do—where to work, where to live, whom to marry, etc. God rarely gives people information that direct and specific. God allows us to make choices regarding those things.

To hopefully answer this question practically, I will give some scenarios and examples (including the relationship question), which I know are not exhaustive, but I do believe that sometimes we can complicate things. I think the principles can be used in almost every area.

Scenario 1 : “I have been praying about dating this person who is not a Christian and want to know what God’s will is”

My Answer: No need to pray. God has explicitly told us in scripture that we should not be yoked with unbelievers so dont try to get God to come down yo your standard. Go up to his. Oil and water will not mix. No matter how much you shake it.

Lesson learnt: There are some things where God’s will are explicitly explained in the bible

Scenario 2 I am looking for a spouse. How do I know if they are “the one”?

My Answer: ‘The ‘one’ is normally a myth. But God have given us some guidelines. Questions to ask yourself would be things like, are they a Christian? Do they love God and is this shown by their fruits? Do they encourage you to get closer to God or further away from him? Are they interested in prayer and the bible? And last but not least, are you attracted to them? If so, make yourself available and go for it!! Now as you can see, there will probably be more than one person in the world who might fit that description, so I believe that God says, be prayerful and YOU make a choice and YOU pick. Difficulties down the line is not necessarily proof that it wasnt Gods will but can be just God shaping our character and conforming us to Jesus’ image. All relationships will have their ups and downs.

Lesson learnt: There are some things where God has not given us specific instructions, but has given us enough guidelines and principles to work with

Scenario 3: How do I know which school to send my child to?

My Answer: As there is no scripture verse which tells you the exact school, get all the relevant information taking into account distance, reputation, league tables and then again, be prayerful and based on that information, choose a school

Lesson learnt: Again, there are some things which are not explained in scripture at all and are not within themselves sinful and God has allowed us to make our own wise decisions based on the information that you have at your disposal. I’m sure many of you do not pray everytime you go shopping asking God which products to choose.

We must remember that as Christians, the Holy Spirit is constantly guiding us, and the fact that we may go through some ‘stuff’ is no indication that it was not God’s will or that it happened because we didnt seek God for a confirmation first of all. It was God’s will that Jesus should be tempted of the devil, it was God’s will that Jesus suffered and died on the cross, it is God’s will that those who live godly will suffer persecution.

As I have stated above, there is no biblical basis that believers MUST get a confirmation before making any decision. Jesus never instructed us to do so, the disciples were not instructed to do and Paul was never instructed to do so.

BUT DONT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. CHECK OUT THE SCRIPTURES FOR YOURSELF

Related Posts:

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect – Introduction

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 1) : Pleading the blood

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 2) : Tithing

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 4) : Getting slain in the spirit

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 5) : Armor Bearers

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Comments
  1. As a Pastor, where I find it useful to tell people to seek confirmation is where they are contemplating acting upon a “word” given by another person.

    The tradition in the church I have landed was that anyone could give a “word” as though it is direct from the Lord.

    I’m teaching in two parts…

    1. If giving a “word” then please let the person know that you think this is from God for them, but that they should go to the scriptures (and probably to mature Christians) to seek confirmation; and

    2. If receiving a “word” from anyone, remember that the best of us hear God through the filter of our sinful nature and the fallen world, so check it out as above before acting upon it.

    Clearly this relates to any significant decisions, not to “words” that seek to merely encourage etc.

    • Alan Higgins says:

      Paul, thanks for your comment.Much appreciated. Here is a question. If a person is engaged to someone and they are a believer and they have no reason to want to break up with them, they love God, the word, fellowship, and prayer and then someone else comes with ‘a word’ and says ‘God told me that you should not marry that person’, should that person act on that ‘word; or should they seek confirmation. What does that bible say we should do in this case?

  2. Corey says:

    Alan, in regards to relationships and finding your wife here’s one . . .Genesis 24:14 (NKJV)
    [14] “Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, ‘Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink’—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. And by this I will know that You have shown kindness to my master.”

    Also, I think most people want to do this one . . .

    Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
    [5] Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
    And lean not on your own understanding;
    [6] In all your ways acknowledge Him,
    And He shall direct* your paths.

    . . .But they lack the paitents to trust Him.

    As for confirmation . . .

    Judges 6:36-37 (NKJV)
    The Sign of the Fleece
    [36] So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— [37] “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.”

    • Alan Higgins says:

      Corey, you cannot use Genesis 24:14 or Judges 6:36-37 and then say that because of that we are COMMANDED from scripture to get a confirmation. Has God given confirmations in scripture. No doubt and I am not arguing that point. Are we commanded to get a confirmation, there is NO-WHERE in scripture to say that we should. Should we be prayerful? Of course. If we want to say that we should get confirmation, then we can’t pick and choose. We cant choose what we should get confirmation for and what we shouldn’t. Should I get a confirmation if I should go to work next wednesday because next week a terroist might blow up my building. Was it all those Christians who died in 9/11’s fault that they died because they didnt pray to get a confirmation from God if they should go to work that day? You see it can get silly. God has left some decisions for us to make and thats’s OK, even when things go wrong as we can learn from them.

  3. Corey says:

    Alan, I when got the bus the other day, I asked the bus driver if this bus was going to my destination. The reason I asked him because I assumed he has knowledge of the route ahead. God knows the beginning from the end. It would be wise to ask the one who knows everything. I have heard people say, I wish I never sent my daughter to that school.

    If God knows every hair on our head, I think it make sense to ask Him. The bible says faith come by hearing and hearing the Word of God.

    Proverbs 3:6 (NKJV)
    [6] In all your ways acknowledge Him,
    And He shall direct* your paths.

    Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
    [6] Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; [7] and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

    I agree, once you have a good foundation in the scriptures, something’s are just command sense. But in matters like praying asking God for direction about the school your child will go to, I think we should all trust The Lord and lean not on our own understanding.

  4. CindyPie Ancilla says:

    I would like to add to your scriptural teaching that we are also to be led by peace in making our decisions. Colossians 3:15 in most English translations does not obviously state this, but the Greek implies that peace should be your umpire in the decisions you make.

    • Alan Higgins says:

      The question is are we COMMANDED to get a confirmation?

      • CindyPie Ancilla says:

        As far as I know, we are only COMMANDED, in the New Covenant, to love God, love people, flee from sexual immorality and abstain from meat offered to idols, from strangled animals and from blood. So, no.

  5. Corey says:

    Alan, you sound like you want to live by a set of rules. God did not have a problem with Gideon doing it.

    What do you mean by being prayerful ?

    • Alan Higgins says:

      Corey, on the contrary. Living by a set of rules would be saying that you HAVE to get a confirmation. The bible does not say this. Remember what I said at the beginning of the post. I am NOT saying that God never does it so there is no argument there but if people are being taught that they HAVE to, that is clearly not taught in scripture. Being prayerful would be like asking God to guide you and give you wisdom, for example, in your decision making.

  6. Tarre Stanley says:

    @ Corey, if you have time can you answer my my second to last post on the traditions of tithe post? Thank you

  7. Tarre, most of what I asked was not answered. .

  8. Tarre Stanley says:

    Bro Corey, I left another comment relating to your comment on the tithing post

  9. glasseyedave says:

    I am with Alan on this one. We are not commanded to seek confirmation on what we do. Does God at “times” and I mean only at times give a confirmation, maybe. I think it funny that people want to use OT examples of confirmation, which in many circumstances was a physical one.

    Which one of the confirmation advocates have had the sun go back seven steps, or have the ground wet and the skin of the sheep dry?

    Which one of the confirmation advocates is being used of God to continue the covenant God gave Abraham.? Which one of the confirmation advocates is included in the following patriarchs list? I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and this other person…

    So to use the OT as our example that we must ask God for confirmation, well it just isn’t there. Can we? Yes, we can. Will God give it? Probably not. At least not in the way He did it in the OT.

    Many times I wish I had the ephod that David had so I could inquire of the Lord and get my answers. But we do not have that.

    What about the Holy Spirit. Can we find anywhere in the NT where scripture is clearly written to the believer, believers you are commanded to inquire of the Lord. No we can’t.

    We simply have to live by faith. If we do not, we can not please God. That is why we commit our ways to the Lord. This is why we are to take our request to the Lord, but it doesn’t say sit on our hands until we get an answer.

  10. michael m says:

    ahmmm Alan , Thought I should draw your attention to the left side column, ‘ recent comments’ where it’s still saying ‘ the traditions of God….’

  11. michael m says:

    It’s ok . Glassyeyed daves comments may have been made before the correction . It’s showing ;’The traditions of men …..’ on my posts . 🙂 .

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