There are only a few adjustments to the “8 Steps to Engaging the Supernatural” that will more specifically address responding to and interpreting supernatural means of guidance.
“9 Steps to Responding to and Interpreting Supernatural Guidance”
1. Make Yourself Available to Receiving Supernatural Guidance.
Let the Lord know you are trusting Him to lead, guide and direct you in any way He chooses, and that you will pursue and take this training seriously as a way to learn to know Him and His ways.
2. Be Prepared!
Have a notepad and pen ready, and be ready to give the Lord your attention if He requires it. Don’t worry about how you will respond; the Lord knows and approves of how He created you, so you are free to be yourself.
3. Be Objective.
Be quiet internally, and as much as possible physically. Take note of how you feel and what you see, but don’t get distracted by details. What did you hear (whether audibly or internally)? Don’t worry about interpretation yet.
4. Confirm that the supernatural manifestation is from the Lord.
For instance, when you wake from a dream or a trance, ask the Lord right away, “Lord, is that you?” Once confirmed, continue observing. If it is not the Lord, determine its source and deal with it accordingly.
5. Ask for the Interpretation!
Only the Lord Himself can interpret His message. It is not your responsibility to figure out or discern the meaning. The interpretation may or may not be related to the manifestation’s magnitude or the content. That’s fine—the goal is to depend on the Lord for guidance, not to figure out a pattern of HOW He leads and guides. The interpretation may not come at the same time He gives the direction; unless He directs, don’t seek an interpretation, understanding or an explanation elsewhere. God is jealous over what is precious to Him, and seeks those with whom He can keep company, that can keep His secrets. (Supernatural guidance is available to believers and non-believers alike. But only Christians, because of their personal relationship to God, have direct access to His interpretation. Just because someone has had a supernatural encounter, or can provide an appropriate interpretation, doesn’t mean that they have a personal relationship with God and have therefore heard from God. Fortune-tellers, etc., don’t rely solely on the demonic and occult to get direction, but have also learned how to tap into their soulical senses, without the benefit of having them quickened by God.)
6. Enjoy His Presence.
Remind yourself of your relationship with God by resting in silence with Him. Who you truly are, in your spirit, is always communing with Him, and enjoying His Presence. Just because you received what you needed doesn’t mean He wouldn’t enjoy more of your company.
Be attentive to His direction and guidance, but realize you are moving IN and WITH Him. The purpose of guidance is not so that we will know what He wants us to do and should then go do it, but so that we can join Him in what He is already doing. Walk softly with Him, and whatever needs to get done will get done, sometimes even without our knowledge!
8. Follow Through!
Just as the Lord sets your feet on a new path, or confirms the direction or choice you are following, the enemy (and well-meaning friends) will follow close on His heels to try to divert you from that path. Again, confidence in your dependence will keep you motivated along the way, and give you the strength to keep His counsel. There will be plenty of time to share with others after you have accomplished your task or achieved your goal. It’s helpful to put in writing what you believe the Lord has directed you to do; it’s harder to dodge your own handwriting than it is your own thoughts. Then make whatever adjustments are necessary to accommodate the direction you’ve been given, doing the research, work and planning necessary.
9. Back to Business!
Supernatural guidance is occurring in each of our lives whether we are aware of it in our consciousness or not. So though we want to be attentive and responsive, we don’t want it to be a distraction or a central aspect of our relationship with God. Return to what you were doing, incorporating whatever instruction was given. Remember the Lord is under no obligation to explain His timing or direction to us, though as we become reliable and instantaneous in our response, He will likely keep your name high on His list of those He can trust.
As you grow in dependence on God, and become His confidante and available to Him for His purposes, it is likely that He will require a higher level of discernment and obedience from you than from others. Accomplishment of God’s purpose may depend upon instantaneous, unquestioning response; practicing in other circumstances will give you the ability to recognize His Presence and respond immediately.
REMEMBER: God is perpetually creative, and so is not restricted in the ways He may choose to lead, guide and direct us. God likes to have fun, so don’t put boundaries on your expectations of His activities or the ways He may choose to reveal Himself to you. Confidence in your ability to hear Him comes ONLY through experiencing His guidance!
Hindrances to Divine Guidance
As with all other areas of our lives, there are three enemies that strive to hinder our relationship with God: the world, the flesh and the devil. If we are habitually waiting on the Lord, and cultivating a lifestyle of quietness, the Lord will train us to deal with and overcome every obstacle in our way.
The World System Hinders Divine Guidance
1. The Religious System
The religious system, the beliefs and standards of the church you belong to, your church heritage, all contribute to your belief system concerning God and His attitude toward you. The more dependent on the Lord you become to meet your needs, the less reliant you will be on the religious system. This may cause stress between yourself and others; the more free you become, and accountable only to God, the less vulnerable you will be to outward manipulation. Your discernment will grow until you will be able to recognize religious pressure a mile off, and some decisions regarding where and with whom you fellowship may have to be made. As some see the Personal Presence at work in your life, you will likely be both exalted and rejected. Be prepared for both—It’s all part of your training!
2. Time Pressure
As your confidence in your ability to hear from the Lord grows, you will be able to recognize and overcome the stress of having to make decisions NOW. Though there will be time frames that will be out of your control, the Lord will teach you when to step in and take time into your own hands.
3. Peer Pressure
Perhaps one of the hardest habits to learn is saying “no” without explanation. Regardless of your relationships, you don’t “owe” anyone an explanation for the decision you make. Now having said that, between spouses, where decisions affect both, though you don’t “owe” the other person an explanation, you may want to ask the Lord if there is something that needs to be brought to the surface if you are hesitant to share with those you are in relationship with. There may be times when there is no explanation, the Lord just says to say, “no.” Part of building solid relationships is being able to accept “no” for an answer without explanation.
Our Flesh Hinders Divine Guidance
1. Need for Control
Our flesh has two main goals; to get our needs met our way, and to prevent rejection. Part of learning to depend on the Lord is going to Him to for healing. As we are healed by the Lord, we are freed from the flesh. We learn that our needs are already met, and that we can afford to be rejected by others because we are unconditionally accepted by Him. By leading us through obstacles in which we need to go to Him for guidance and direction, He exposes our flesh, and therefore our wounds, pointing out areas ready for healing.
So although the flesh doesn’t want to die, its reaction to being out of control and fearing rejection can actually be helpful. We embrace opportunities to need direction, and become ready to take on whatever challenges the Lord may have for us.
2. Temperament, Personal Expectations & History
God designed your soul by combining the elements of mind, will and emotion according to His plan. Your temperament is well-pleasing to Him; it ain’t broke, and He ain’t gonna fix it! So though your temperament is God-given, it is not able to meet your needs, and is not who you truly are. Before you became a Christian, however, your strengths were the only resources available, and you created ways to compensate for your weaknesses. You formed your beliefs accordingly, and your behavioral habits followed.
Throughout our life, we face each day according to yesterday; but the Lord wants to challenge and question both our beliefs and behaviors, without breaking our temperament. One of His goals is to set your temperament free—to be what He created it to be—but to do this we must move from reliance on our temperament, our “self,” to reliance on Him. Be willing to be set free and guided and directed in new ways.
For instance, some are controlled by their emotions and make decisions according to how they feel, “what feels right”; others need to reason it out; and others don’t really decide—they just “do something.” But none of these is divine guidance; relying on our own temperament strengths will inhibit our ability to learn how to rely on divine guidance.
Many Christians have the mistaken belief that it is their job to make God happy by obeying Him, giving Him glory, or measuring up to His standards. But God is complete and entire in Himself, and does not need us to meet His needs! He is happy, content and satisfied with Himself at all times. The relationship He wants with us is one of freedom, where we can be who we are, and He can be Who He Is. Many Christians also believe that their failures, or even disagreeing with their leaders or questioning doctrine, is a disappointment to others. But according to our new spiritual identity, we already unconditionally accept one another where we are. So we begin to recognize the attempts to manipulate and let them roll off our backs. This frees us to maintain God alone as our Leader, Comforter, Friend, Confidante, Provider, etc.
The Devil Hinders Divine Guidance
Deception is Satan’s attempt to get you to THINK contrary to who you are in Christ. By accepting the enemy’s words as our thoughts, believing his lies, we are easily distracted away from what the Lord is doing in our lives to what suits the purposes of the enemy (which includes the world system and the flesh). His greatest lie is that we are to figure out God’s will for ourselves and then do it, rather than to trust that He is leading us day by day, step by step, and that His will is not a place or action, but a state of reality. If you are IN GOD, you are IN HIS WILL!
Temptation is Satan’s attempt to get you to ACT contrary to who you are in Christ. Most Christians put WAY TOO MUCH pressure on themselves, believing that if they aren’t in the “right place at the right time,” somehow they are powerful enough to keep God from accomplishing what He wants in their lives and in the lives of others. As we learn to depend on God, we can trust that He will have us where HE wants us when HE wants us there, regardless of our knowledge or understanding. We will “find ourselves” accomplishing His purposes. As our confidence grows, the temptation to act according to lies will grow less and less.
Accusation is Satan’s attempt to get you to FEEL contrary to who you are in Christ. When we fail to recognize accusation we enter into condemnation. One of the results of self-condemnation is the failure to “move.” Christians often feel condemned because they feel they have missed God and feel they will never make up the lost ground because they feel like God’s holding their failure against them. This often results in paralysis, and sometimes a perceived separation from God. Since none of this is true, God will not let us dwell in this place for long. Instead, He arranges circumstances to draw our attention back to dependence on Him, where He provides the motivation, encouragement and whatever emotional comfort we need. He guides us by the hand, leading us step by step, until we regain our confidence that though we may not have walked this way before, we have walked With This Way before.
Guidance and contentment go hand-in-hand with dependent grace: Accepting unconditionally what God gives unconditionally and just saying “Thanks.” Supernatural guidance is merely one of the means by which we learn dependence. As the Lord interferes in your plans, recognize that you have already given Him permission to do whatever He wants in your life in order to bring you healing, freedom and wholeness, and into an ever-increasing awareness of His Oneness.
Adapted from Knowing God by Dianne Thomas