How to Know God’s Will
How to Know God’s Will
General Life Advice Article #1
Every faithful Christian has come to a decision point in their life where choosing one option over another is not immediately clear. It is there—at the fork in the road where the mere availability of options causes stress—that they stop and ask themselves, “What is God’s will for my life?” or “How do I discern God’s will?”
It is beyond any creature to know the full extent of God’s will because there are many secret things that belong to Him alone (Deuteronomy 29:29). And our finite minds could not comprehend divine counsels even if God revealed them to us: His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). That being said, God never intended for His children to walk about life restless, confused and unsure. In fact, there is a Holy Spirit-gifted “peace of God” (Philippians 4:7) which transcends our understanding and guards our hearts and minds. So, in consideration of all of this, the question remains: how do you know God’s will?
How to know God’s will, step #1: Start with the will of God that you do already know.
God has already revealed to you everything that you need to know pertaining to life and godliness (I Peter 1:3) in His Word. Meaning what? That in the Bible, God has supplied all of His children with a sufficient reservoir of revelation that you can use to navigate the twists and turns of life. This means what you and I are now called to do is to diligently search the Scriptures in order to learn what the eternal and omniscient God has already revealed. In fact, it is the will of God that you read the Bible (cf Psalm 1:1-3; II Timothy 3:16-17). We read in faith knowing that when God says He has revealed everything pertaining to life and godliness, He means everything. Hence, the only stumbling block that people may have is that they don’t want to search the Scriptures or they don’t know where to look. In the latter case, a very practical and accessible way to discern God’s will on a particular topic is to use OpenBible and search for a topic. For example, if you want to know what God has said about anxiety, type the word “anxiety” in the search box, and what you will get is 100 verses throughout both Testaments. Meditating on those Scriptures will quickly reveal that God has not only called His own to put off anxious thoughts; He also explains to us what thoughts we are to put on so that all worries are overtaken by peaceful reliance in a good and sovereign Lord.
So, if you start with the will of God that you already know, you will begin by walking in the light and not fumbling about in the darkness.
How to know God’s will, step #2: Recognize that God is more concerned with your holiness than your happiness.
I Thessalonians 4:3 makes it very plain. The text says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification.” And what does sanctification mean? It refers to the lifelong process of consecration to the Lord through which a child of God is progressively transformed to be more Christ-like and less fleshly. In other words, God’s will is your holiness. And how does this knowledge help you right now? It helps you because if you know what the divine goal is, it will make you think twice about how to navigate reality and how to interpret what’s happening right now on earth. God is all-knowing, and He therefore knows that the path that leads to your sanctification may take you through places that you never would have chosen! God also knows about paths that you didn’t even know existed. And this also means that in some cases, the choice that you prefer may in fact make you happy and comfortable right now, but God knows it will not serve your sanctification. This is the unsettling part about God’s will, because in some cases, God’s will is not our will. God’s will is that the road to glory always goes directly through the Cross.
How to know God’s will, step #3: Knowing God’s will can’t help you without wisdom, which means doing God’s will.
Having knowledge means knowing things. A man with knowledge is considered educated, while a man without knowledge is considered ignorant. The person who acts righteously based on knowledge is called wise. However, if a man knows something but then doesn’t do the right thing based on knowledge, then the Bible labels him a fool. You see, it is impossible to be wise without knowledge, but it is very possible to have a head full of knowledge yet still be a fool. Wisdom is what guides a person to act based on what they know, and wisdom is something that every human being desperately needs. Wisdom enables a person to prosper in life according to God’s standard of prosperity. Wisdom makes a person competent and skillful at life, so they know not only what to do but how to do it. Wisdom is therefore not a matter of knowing; it’s a matter of doing and putting your knowledge of God’s will into practice.
Biblical wisdom is not an idea or a list of practical “how-tos.” Godly wisdom is a Person, and His name is Jesus Christ. Wisdom begins with your vertical relationship with Jesus, and once you are right with God, then you can be right in your relationships and with life in general. Wisdom is relational, for as it says in Proverbs 1:7:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Thus, when a person asks themself, “How do I know God’s will?” they are not just asking to get knowledge; they ask and look to Jesus as the One who will also empower them to act based on that knowledge. God is the ultimate source of all wisdom, and Jesus is the wisdom of God “made flesh.” To know God’s will, then, you must meditate on the Person and works of the Messiah. To know God’s will, you must revere Him and ask for wisdom, which He graciously supplies (James 1:5).
As I am sure you can imagine, there is much more to be said about knowing God’s will and how it specifically applies to your unique situation. If you are seeking more detailed and personalized counsel on how to know God’s will for your life, you have the option of speaking with a WiseWord biblical counselor.
Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is victory. (Proverbs 11:14)
Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed. (Proverbs 15:22)
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal