V. NOT CONSIDERING VISIONS AND DREAMS
AS GOD’S WILL
Many believers in the church today depend solely on supernatural visions as a guide for their conduct. This happens more frequently among women than men. They speak a great deal about their supernatural experiences. They tell others about their encounters with Jesus and what the Lord has said to them. They dream about heaven on certain days, and they tell others what the Lord has revealed to them concerning their future and what they should do. They claim that they have some visions or interpretations and that they should therefore do this and do that. There are many things of this nature. I cannot say that all of them are false. But these things can only be an aid in our seeking after God’s will. We cannot fully depend on them to show us God’s will. Satan can counterfeit many dreams and visions to deceive believers and distract them from God’s ordained way. Many supernatural experiences of the believers are only Satan disguised as an angel of light. They catch many of God’s children unaware and cause them to do many things that bring dishonor to God. "And a vision appeared to Paul during the night: A certain man, a Macedonian, was standing and entreating him and saying, Come over into Macedonia and help us. And when he had seen the vision, we immediately endeavored to go forth into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to announce the gospel to them" (Acts 16:9-10). Did they not become clear about God’s will through a vision? No, they did not. If we read carefully, we will find that only Paul saw the vision, but "we" decided to go to Macedonia. It says, "And when he had seen the vision, we immediately endeavored to go forth." They went to Macedonia not because Paul saw a vision. It was incidental that Paul saw the vision first. After he saw it, they were led of the Lord. This is why there was the one accord to go to Macedonia. They did not consider it God’s will to go just because of a vision or dream. Moreover, the word concluding in verse 10 has the sense of making a deliberation after investigation. They did not move rashly upon a dream. Rather, they made the decision based on some conclusion. Therefore, in seeking after God’s will, we should not depend merely on supernatural experiences. Rather, we should investigate thoroughly to see if something is according to God’s will.
VI. NOT PREJUDICED:
PREJUDICE HINDERING ONE
FROM UNDERSTANDING GOD’S WILL
The worst thing for a believer to be in seeking God’s will is prejudiced. Once there is prejudice, he cannot hear God’s voice. Paul said, "I thought to myself that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus the Nazarene" (Acts 26:9). This was Paul’s thought when he was persecuting the church. He did not know the relationship between Moses and Jesus. He thought that Jesus was the chief culprit against Judaism. He made up his mind to eradicate this new religion even at the expense of killing others, shedding their blood, and chasing down believers. He was willing to stir up these clashes and act according to his conscience. He thought that these acts were proper. He was wrong. He thought he was doing everything according to God’s will, but he was actually doing the opposite. His mistake lay in his prejudice and self-will. He considered that his actions were proper. So he did not see God’s will.
It is very easy for us to be prejudiced and biased because of our self-will. Our heart cannot forgive people who hate us and tolerate the things that we do not like. We are not willing to calm down and seek a solution according to God’s will. We boast in our own prejudice and self-will, and consider them as God’s will. We may find out that we were wrong, but it may be too late when we do find out! Every time we come before God, we have to drop all our prejudice and ask the Father to guide us. Although many times His leading is contrary to our concepts and ideas, we should still willingly yield to it. We must not plan and make decisions, and then pray. If we do this, our prayer is a kind of wasteful ritual.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 02: The Word of the Cross, Chapter 4, by Watchman Nee)