Many Christians ask, “How do I know if this is God’s will for me?” when deciding where to live, whether to get married or stay single, what job to take and how to use the money He has given us to steward etc. How do we choose when there are so many different factors to consider?
Thank God that He doesn’t leave us guessing about what His will is. His will for all His children is that we pray continually, be joyful and thankful in every circumstance. He is in full control of every aspect of our lives and we can rest in His goodness.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
We can also equip ourselves to seek His will in specific areas of our lives. Most times, the pressures of our circumstances will push us to decide in a certain direction – and we are tempted to take the route of least resistance. Unfortunately, the route of least resistance is usually the one that leads us away from God. The Bible warns us that we need to consider the steps we take wisely.
Matthew 7:13 ESV “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
Ephesians 5:15,17 ESV Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
1. Study the Bible daily
Thankfully, the Bible is full of guidance and warnings about God’s will. It shows us:
- God’s character
- How He works
- His intentions for every believer
- His providence and miracles
- How to avoid mistakes in life
Many Christians find it hard to find out God’s will because they haven’t gotten to know Him personally through His Word. We must invest in our own spiritual well-being by allowing God’s Word to speak to us individually. Only then can we prosper as God intends for us.
Joshua 1:8 ESV This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Romans 12:2 ESV Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
2. Follow God’s will on a daily basis, not just during major decisions
We should not wait until we are at a major crossroad to seek God’s will. Let us practice fulfilling His will on a daily basis. For example, the Bible tells us that it is God’s will that we “always rejoice, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess 5:17-18); “be subject to every human institution” (1 Peter 2:13) and “abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thess 4:3).
If we don’t make it a practice of following God’s will in the “small things” on a daily basis, we are unlikely to have the discipline to follow Him when times are tough and the costs are higher.
Luke 16:10 ESV “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
3. Check our priorities
God has a good plan for all our lives, but we also have an enemy who will try to keep us from walking into that plan. Satan will tempt us to choose the wrong path by choosing the wrong priorities – mainly the things of this world. The cares of this world, such as money, approval, fear, pride, comfort and so forth, will take our eyes off God’s perfect will for us spiritually. We can become blind to God’s purposes.
Matthew 16:23 ESV …“Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
This is why we must always examine our hearts and why we lean towards certain decisions – and repent if our motivations point to the cares of this world, rather than to God. Let us not let Satan hinder us.
4. Recognise fear and don’t give in to it
God’s will is never to ruin our lives or rob us of joy and purpose. It is quite the opposite. Yet we are afraid because we can’t see where God’s will leads us.
God knows we resist submitting to His will because we are fearful. That is why He repeatedly tells us throughout the Bible to not fear. The phrase “do not fear” and its equivalent appears 137 times in the English Standard Version Bible. Fear keeps many potential spiritual giants hiding in caves and missing out on amazing lives. Fear is not from God. It is Satan who uses fear to keep the faithful weak and docile.
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Our enemy knows that we fall into sin when we don’t do the things we ought to. Satan celebrates each time we sin against God and will try to frighten us into rejecting God’s will.
James 4:17 ESV So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
5. Remember our inheritance
What is even more important than seeking to know God’s will is having the courage and faith to follow Him. Jesus could not have made it clearer when He said that only those who do God’s will enter heaven – not those who just hear and verbally agree with Him. Obedience and action must follow.
Matthew 7:21 ESV “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Our world, which is ruled by Satan, mocks and demeans obedience. Instead, it celebrates rebellion across all parts of society through “sons of disobedience”.
Ephesians 2:2 ESV In which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
God has great blessings for those who faithfully follow Him, so we are lovingly encouraged to endure and not to miss out on those blessings. Otherwise, Jesus warns us that we head for “ruin” when we do not do what He tells us.
Hebrews 10:35-36 ESV Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
Luke 6:46,49 ESV “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? … the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Let us follow the apostle Paul’s appeal to “be filled with the knowledge of his will” in Colossians 1 and choose to:
- Pray for one another;
- Seek to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will;
- Study the Bible for spiritual wisdom and understanding;
- Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord;
- Enjoy a life that is fruitful in every good work; and
- Keep growing in our intimacy with God!