Christians are always encouraged to hear from God. This is not often through prophetic declarations, but usually through the ‘more sure word of prophecy’ (2 Peter 1:19), the Bible. We might also hear, though, through the ‘still, small voice’ or, as one writer describes, the ‘whispers’ of God. Here, God reveals His intent through prayer and the leading of the Spirit, but in ways which will still align to how God reveals Himself in the Bible. After all, it is given as a guidebook and yardstick for life (2 Timothy 3:16). But because it is then hard to argue against a person’s statement that begins, ‘God told me…’, the important safeguard of scrutiny by others becomes vital.
Even mature Christian people have blind spots and need the caring concern of others to help point out the more delicate adjustments needed in areas of life. When our mentors have godly wisdom and empathise with us, they remain fallible yet will reliably aid in navigating our application of a book which is not. Otherwise, we can take that infallible Bible and interpret it with bias (or ignorance of its context) despite it telling us that no Scripture is of private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20). We cannot be the sole determiners of its veracity.
So, if the mind of the Spirit can generally be determined through a personal walk with God, but where we are also called to observe a multitude of counsellors (Proverbs 11:14) and to be submissive to those who are in authority over us (Hebrews 13:17), why is there so much individualism?
Never is this more evident than when someone wants to take a course of action that is inexplicable to those who care or which lacks sense and reason to the spiritually mature in their world. Of course, every Christian surely needs to take final responsibility for hearing from God as a part of taking responsibility for their own life. But if we allow for the two or three witnesses (Matthew 18:16) to establish God’s ‘word’ to us, then we would generally hear through Scripture, God’s affirming prompt or peace (as in Philippians 4:7) and wise counsel from others to bring confirmation of our intentions.