“I had a feeling that was going to happen.” We’ve all said that at some point about an event or a person. Intuition is the feeling that causes us to know certain things without fully understanding how or why. We experience strong inner leanings toward or away from people, situations, or future decisions that we cannot explain, and many times, in the experience of the wise, those leanings prove to be correct. Intuition is a gift from God, and, when we learn how to develop and strengthen it, intuition can help us steer clear of disastrous decisions and relationships.
To be created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) means that we have been designed on a different scale than the plant or animal kingdoms. We have a spirit. We can discern right and wrong. We have a conscience that bothers us when we choose wrongly. And we have intuitive suspicions about things we know very little about. Some people are naturally more intuitive than others, but we can all develop this gift to some extent by simply tuning in to it. A woman meeting a man for the first time may have an intuitive feeling that he is dishonest and lustful, even though nothing in their exchange gave that away. When she acts upon that intuition and it is proved correct, she can strengthen it by intentionally tuning in to it more often and heeding its warnings. A man may be prepared for a business merger, but intuition tells him there is more to the story, so he puts it on hold only to learn he was right. And he is very thankful he paid attention to his intuition.
However, one’s feelings can be wrong, and not all inner leanings should be heeded. Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” A life not surrendered to the lordship of Jesus is easy prey for Satan’s suggestions. What may feel like intuition can just as easily be one of the enemy’s “fiery arrows” (Ephesians 6:16). Because of our sin natures, we are prone to error and poor judgment. If relying only upon our own powers of discernment, we can be led astray.
Judges 21:25 describes such a time in Israel’s history: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (ESV). When everyone does what seems right to them, society crumbles into anarchy. Our viewpoints are skewed, selfish, and influenced by evil suggestion when they not subject to the wisdom of God. The Bible speaks often about seeking wisdom as the chief ambition, and, when we do, our intuition can be a safeguard against tragic mistakes (Proverbs 2:3–5; 4:7; Ecclesiastes 7:12; Psalm 111:10).
For a Christian, intuition can be greatly enhanced by the Holy Spirit. He is the fountain of wisdom and understanding. Those who “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16, 25) have the privilege of God’s own perspective on many life decisions as He guides us through His Word. We can fine-tune this ability to hear God by spending time in His Word, in worship, and in meditation. A. W. Tozer, in his classic work The Pursuit of God, writes, “Why do some persons ‘find’ God in a way that others do not? . . . The one vital quality that they all had in common was spiritual receptivity. Something in them was open to heaven, something which urged them Godward.” This spiritual receptivity is the quality that can influence intuition to such an extent that we can walk blamelessly before God (Philippians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Job 1:1).
David “sat before the Lord” (2 Samuel 7:18), enjoying His presence and quieting his spirit. Our spirits hear God when we quiet our minds enough to meditate on His Word. As we seek God’s guidance and pray for direction, He says to trust that we have the wisdom we’ve asked for (James 1:5). Heeding our God-given intuition, we move forward in the way that seems wisest, trusting that the Lord is directing our steps (Psalm 37:23). When intuition is rooted in God’s Word, surrendered to the control of the Holy Spirit, and aligned with God’s wisdom, it can protect us from errors and help keep our feet on the straight path (Proverbs 4:26; 15:21; Isaiah 26:7).