I would always ask this question whenever I needed to make an important decision that could affect my life and the lives of my wife and children. It may have been a decision to change jobs, or to relocate, or to buy a home, or some other major purchase. I wanted to make the right decision and I knew that if that decision was in the will of God for me it would turn out for good but if that decision was not in the will of God it could mean disaster and some of them were.
I knew that others had the same question because they would say things like I’m waiting on God to show or tell me what I should do; or they would ask me “How can I know God’s will for me?”; where do I find it; how do I get Him to tell me?
When I started leading a bible study at my church one of the first things that the group wanted to talk about was, you guessed it, “How can I know if what I’m doing, or want to do is God’s will for me? So we did a study that lasted about a month. This post is the first of a series on knowing God's will for your life.
You Can Definitely Know God’s Will for You
Romans 12:2 (NKJV) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
God has great plans for your life.
We were created by God, in His image, for His purpose. Just as God set apart from birth Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Paul, he also has a specific plan for your life.
His will for you is “good, pleasing and perfect”
Romans 12:2 (NKJV) 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
God's will is first that we have a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 (NKJV) 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
God wants us to be Christ's disciples
This means Christians must be committed to following God's will daily, whatever the cost.
Luke 9:23 (NKJV) 23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
When most Christians say they want God’s Will, they may actually want Christ to do their will!
Remember, Matthew 6:33 (NKJV) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Ask These Two Questions
Times when you don't find a clear direction can be very confusing and frustrating. When trying to find God's will for a specific decision ask Him these two question.
We can be confident God will always hear and answer this prayer because 1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV) 14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
There are four possible responses for these questions;
Types of God's Will
There are three Primary types of God's Will:
1. Revealed Will
The revealed Will of God is what He has made known to us through His Word, the Bible.
When we study, not just read, we will know his revealed will. God has clearly revealed to us His decrees, commands, and calls, to be saved, sanctified, filled with the Spirit, and to obey His precepts. A few examples are Exodus 20:1-26 (Ten Commandments) Eph. 5:17-18 ; 1 Thess. 4:3; 5:16-18; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9.
2. Determined Will
This refers to God’s sovereignty and control. God's "determined will includes His plans for the world. As the sovereign ruler, He is in total control- no government rises to power and no physical ailment occurs unless He allows it. He is determined to carry out the plan that He developed long before creation.
We know very little of His "determined will" because He has not revealed it to man. We can anticipate those things he has revealed like Christ's return and judgment. Much of what we do know comes from our study of the Bible and our experiences. We know, for example, that the Lord has given us limited free will and that He has a plan for redeeming us from the sin in our life through Jesus.
3. His Specific Will for Each Believer
When we know God’s revealed Will and respect His determined Will, we start to discover His specific will for us. We're begin to understand His Word, know His thoughts, commands, and when we apply His Word we can be in prayer, seek godly council, and then make the right decisions according to His will for us.
The Bible gives very clear guidelines regarding core values and guidelines for life. God reveals Himself in many different ways using His Word, other people or circumstances and sometimes the Holy Spirit give us an inner prompting or voice for direction. It does take practice and some discernment to hear God's voice.
How Do We Find God's Will?
The following are excerpts from a resource written by Charles R. Swindoll titled "How Can I Discover God's Will"
1. God leads us through His written Word.
As the psalmist said:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
Whenever you see the phrase "This is the will of God" in Scripture, you can count on it: that's God's will. You also know that to disobey is to reject His Word. Other clear indications of His leading are the precepts and principles in Scripture.
Precepts are clearly marked statements, such as "Abstain from sexual immorality." That's like saying, "Speed Limit 35." What is speeding? Anything over 35 miles an hour. That's a precept.
You will never, ever go wrong in consulting Scripture. Just be sure you pay close attention to the context. Don't use the "open-window method," letting the wind blow across the pages of your Bible and then closing your eyes and pointing to a verse and saying, "This is God's leading on that." If you do that, you could end up with "Judas went away and hanged himself" as your verse for the day! Don't go there.
2. God leads us through the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Read the following statement carefully:
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12–13)
The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
It's easier to steer a moving car—just get the car rolling and you can push it into the filling station to get the gas. But it's hard to get it moving from a dead stop. So you're on your way, you're making your plans, you're thinking it through. In the process, stay open. By doing so, you may well sense inner promptings from the Holy Spirit steering you.
That inner prompting is crucial, because much of the time we just can't figure it out.
Man's steps are ordained by the LORD,
How then can man understand his way? (Proverbs 20:24)
(I love that!) When all is said and done, you'll say, "Honestly, I didn't figure this thing out. It must have been God." Talk about mysterious! The longer I live the Christian life, the less I know about why He leads as He does. But I am absolutely confident that He leads.
3. God leads us through the counsel of wise, qualified, trustworthy people.
This does not mean some guru in Tibet or a serious-looking stranger at the bus stop. This refers to an individual who has proven himself or herself wise and trustworthy and, therefore, qualified to counsel on a given matter. Usually, such individuals are older and more mature than we are. Furthermore, they have nothing to gain or lose. This also means that they are often not in our immediate family. (Immediate family members usually don't want us to do something that will take us away from them or cause us or them discomfort or worry.)
4. God leads us into His will by giving us an inner assurance of peace.
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts," Paul wrote to the Colossians, "to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful" (Colossians 3:15). God's inner assurance of peace will act as an umpire in your heart.
The will of God for our lives is not some high-sounding theory; it is reality. We have looked at some of the ways God leads us into His will. Now comes the bottom line: we have to live out His will in the real world.
Doing God's will demands a decision. And that decision requires faith and action. You can't see the end, so you have to trust Him in faith and then step out. You have to act. Faith and obedience are like twins; they go together.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us that "without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."
How do we Find God’s Will?
The Will of God has more to do with controlling our hearts and desires than what we do in our planning and ideas. It comes down to our willingness and attitude that we must be a servant of Christ. It is to let Christ, through His Word and Spirit, mold and shape us to His Glory and purpose, and remain in this relationship! We will know the Will of God more intimately as He reveals it, helping us to learn and grow. As we grow close in our experience with Him, His Will unfolds in His perfect timing!
What if I miss God's will?
Making a poor decision doesn't mean we're forever out of God's will. That's part of the beauty of Scripture: It has story after story of people who make bad decisions, but God still uses them mightily. Just look at Abraham and David. They both did some things that were clearly wrong, but God worked through them to accomplish great things. God can use all of our decisions, whether they're right, wrong, or neutral.
If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior then God's will for you is that you do that so that then you can know the plans that He has for your life. Here's all you have to do. Pray this prayer right now.
“Dear God, I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and died for my sin. I am willing to turn from sin. I now invite Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal Savior.”
Once you pray this, or a similar, prayer in all sincerity you will receive salvation.
If you have just prayed this prayer call, text, email, Tweet, change your Facebook status and tell somebody, leave me a comment here or send me an email with this Link. Then find a bible believing church and start to fellowship with other believers. Welcome to the family of God.
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.