Over the last few months I’ve been reflecting how easy it is for Christians to over emphasis certain aspects of hearing and knowing the will of God (e.g. prophecy). This ultimately leads to an unbalanced (wonky) approach that then leads to wild craziness or an unhealthy cautiousness. John Stott, in his commentary on the Book of Acts, nails three healthy guiding principles of seeking and discerning the will of God.
“It is instructive to note the cluster of factors which contributed to the discovery of God’s will in this matter. First came the general leading of Scripture that a replacement should be made (16-21). Next, they used their common sense that if Judas’ substitute was to have the same apostolic ministry he must also have the same qualifications, including an eyewitness experience of Jesus and a personal appointment by him. This sound deductive reasoning led to the nomination of Joseph and Matthias. Thirdly, they prayed. For though Jesus had gone, he was still accessible to them by prayer and was acknowledged as having a knowledge of hearts which they lacked. Finally, they drew lots, by which they trusted Jesus to make his choice known. Leaving aside this fourthly factor, because the Spirit has now been given us, the remaining three (Scripture, common sense and prayer) constitute a wholesome combination through which God may be trusted to guide us today.”