For the child of God, discerning the will of God for one’s life is of the utmost importance. The desire of a surrendered Christian is to be in the center of God’s will. But discovering the will of God is not always easy. Some liken it to a fish flopping on the pond bank trying to make it back into the water. Is it possible to grasp the will of God or is it simply guess work? The will of God is not a nebulous concept that is ambiguous in its understanding. The will of God is not some mystical experience that is reserved only for those on a higher spiritual plain than us “common” folk. The Lord has a plan for the life of every Christian and discovering the will of God is not an elusive game of trivial pursuit.
How can one discern God’s will for their life? I share with you seven principles and insights that over the years I have employed in my own life that have been most beneficial when seeking to discover God’s will when faced with decisions.
First, if one is to discern God’s will it must begin with a prayerful surrendered desire to know His will above all else. We must be surrendered to the Lord, not clinging to unconfessed sin or deliberate sin which hinders us from hearing the Lord’s voice. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me nor can I hear His voice (Ps. 66:18). We all have our preferences, but if we are to know God’s will we must come before the Lord as Jesus did, “Lord, not my will be done, but your will be done.” The more we pray and the more we walk with Him daily, the better equipped we will be to hear, understand and do His will.
Second, we must pray for wisdom. The Bible says if anyone lack wisdom let Him ask of God who gives liberally to all those who have an open heart to receive it and who truly desire to hear from heaven’s throne (James 1:5). One must ask God to make the conscience sensitive to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. We must ask the Lord to give us insight beyond our limited wisdom which is often tainted with our own selfish desires. We must acknowledge Him in all our ways, and he will direct our paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Third, we must read the Word. Pursue the Bible, reading verses that are related to hearing God’s voice and asking are there any Scriptural verses prohibiting what is being considered? When a heart is surrendered, reading the Word makes hearing the Voice of God easier. We say we desire to hear the Lord’s voice, yet we shut out his voice when we ignore His word. Praying through Psalm 119 is a good way to prepare the heart to hear from heaven.
Fourth, don’t throw out common sense. Seeking God’s will doesn’t mean we put our minds in neutral. God expects us to think things through, use our minds, and not abandon common sense. While it is true, sometimes God’s will may go against the grain of what appears to be the logical choice, yet we are not to forsake sound reasoning either. Right down the pros and cons about the decision you are considering. Are there any red flags that have been raised? Are there questions you haven’t considered? Will the decision be in line with Scripture? Am I acting out of impulse or have I researched it thoroughly? Is my spouse in agreement?
Fifth, seek wise counsel from trusted, godly friends. Don’t seek out people who will tell you what you want to hear, but seek out counsel from those who love you and will pray for you and will tell you the truth, even if it is not what you want to hear. Godly people who love you will be objective and may see the situation from a perspective you have not considered and spot a matter you missed.
Sixth, heed that “check” in your spirit/conscience that warns not to proceed. Now there is a difference between being fearful of a new chapter in one’s life that comes with the apprehension of embarking upon an unknown path, and what I call a “check” in the spirit. Even if circumstances look favorable, but there is no inward peace and there is an uneasiness inside about proceeding forward, then don’t proceed forward. In time it may be revealed why you didn’t need to proceed forward or it may not be revealed, but regardless, if there is no inward peace and a “check” in your spirit, don’t go forward. Take that “check” in the spirit as the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Seventh, once you discern the voice of God move forward with confidence. While there will always be anxiousness when making a decision, once you have discerned what you believe to be God’s will, then move forward with confidence and don’t look back. Whether you decide to not move forward or to move forward, once you have made your decision believe it to be the right one and walk forward with assurance you made the decision that was in accordance with God’s will.
Are you seeking God’s will in a matter? These seven principles can prove beneficial as you seek His will. Remember, God doesn’t operate by the same calendar we do, so be patient. He will not withhold His best from those who seek Him.