How Do I Know God’s Will?

“Lord, what do you want me to do?” I have found myself saying these words many times. Usually it is when I have encountered a crossroads in life, and I don’t know which direction to take, because I have been afraid of stepping outside of the will of God. Yet as I have read the Word, and listened to godly leaders teach on the subject of God’s will, I have come to realize that my view of God’s will was not always accurate, and that we have freedom to live our lives and make decisions with joy and expectancy as we trust in the Lord.

From as far back as the Garden of Eden, God gave humans free will. Adam and Eve were not forced to eat the forbidden fruit. They made the decision to follow their own will, rather than God’s will, crossing the boundary that God, for their ultimate good, had clearly drawn for them (Gen 3:6). Though there are parameters that God has lovingly set for us that would reap consequences should we cross them, we have also been given a lot of freedom. We are free to choose marriage or singleness (1 Cor 7:7-9). We are permitted to marry whomever we want as long as they are a fellow believer (2 Cor 6:14). For example, I could marry ‘Bob’, or ‘Todd’, who are both believers, and either one could be a good choice. However, ‘Dwayne’, who is not a believer, would be in the off-limits box. As long as our decisions do not cause us to disobey God or to sin against another, we are free to make decisions based on the wisdom that God has given us (James 1:5). I could choose to be a teacher or a nurse, and both of those choices would be glorifying to the Lord. We plan our way, and He guides us by His sovereign hand as our Good Shepherd and loving Father (Prov 3:5-6; 16:9).

What are some means that God has given us to help us make biblical decisions?

  1. First, read the Bible! God has already spoken to us through His Word, and we will gain wisdom if we read it (Heb 4:12).
  2. Pray! This is the way that we admit to God that we are dependent upon Him and need His help in making good decisions (Matt 6:5-13, Phil 4:6-7).
  3. Seek counsel from godly leaders. Talk to your pastors, elders, parents, mentors, or other people of authority in your life. They can see things that you may have overlooked, and they can really help in guiding us and helping us see things biblically (Proverbs 11:14).
  4. Think of what passions and gifts God has given you. These can be clues for how God may have wired you. If you are terrible at math, perhaps a career in accounting would not be such a good fit! (2 Cor 12:4-6)

What is God’s will for us? He desires that we be conformed more and more to the image of Christ, and not to the ways of this world (Rom 8:29, Rom 12:2, 1 Thess 4:3). He wants us to love Him with everything that we are (Matt 22:36-40). The goal ought not to be our happiness or success in this life, but our holiness and joy in the Lord (2 Cor 7:1, Eph 4:24, Heb 12:10). Let us worship Him, trust Him, and walk in wisdom according to the freedom that He has given us in Christ. And He who holds us in His hands will faithfully lead us home.

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