"We walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance" (2 Corinthians 5:7).
The Bible teaches us to live by faith rather than by what we see and feel; however, there are times when God does use our circumstances to speak to us.
For example, when Dave and I began to sense God speaking to us about going on television, the two of us certainly did not know how to produce a program and we couldn't air it without money. We had no way of getting enough money on our own, so God had to provide it.
Had we written to our friends and partners and not received the finances, we could not have taken another step. No matter how much faith we had about going on TV, we also had to have money. We believed God had spoken in our hearts, but we also needed Him to speak through our circumstances.
We must know the difference between faith, foolishness, and presumption. It would have been foolish for us to go into debt to go on television.
Suppose a woman prays and feels she should go to work to help with the family expenses. She decides to get a job, but she has two small children. If she cannot find a dependable babysitter, she cannot go to work.
That is a circumstance God must take care of in order for her to move forward. If God does not provide the babysitter, then she will have to question her thoughts about going to work. Perhaps God is showing her that staying home with her family at this time in life is better than working.
We walk by faith, but we must also ask God to give us wisdom to know when to totally ignore circumstances and when to pay attention to them because He is using them to speak to us and guide us.
Adapted from Joyce's book Hearing from God Each Morning.