How Do I Find God’s Will?

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This article is an installment of Holy Joys Questions. Submit your questions to questions@holyjoys.org.

Question: How do I find God’s will?

Many young people experience real mental anguish and soul torment because they fear “missing” God’s will, accidentally getting “out” of God’s will, or otherwise unintentionally failing to do God’s will. However, if you understand God’s nature, such anxiety is groundless.

God is more concerned about you knowing His will than you are. Young people in a dither over figuring out God’s will for their life should relax. The omniscient, sovereign, omnipotent God, who created you and brought you into the world for a specific purpose (Eph. 2:10) is far more interested in helping you fulfill His purpose for your life than you ever could be.

Young people in a dither over figuring out God’s will for their life should relax.

God doesn’t play games with us. God doesn’t hide in the bushes alongside life’s dangerous path, whispering so quietly that we will miss His warnings and wreck our life at the bottom of some “ravine.” The God revealed in Scripture sends warnings, red flags, prophets, dreams, and even talking donkeys to get the attention of His people. The God of the Bible is the Good Shepherd who goes in front of His sheep so they know exactly where to go (John 10:4).

It is God’s job to shepherd you into His will. It is not your responsibility to “find” God’s will. Think about John 10:1-5 and Psalm 23. Are sheep responsible to find their pasture? Are sheep responsible to figure out where the shepherd wants them to go? On the contrary! It is the shepherd’s responsibility to lead us to right paths, to green pastures, beside still waters. It the shepherd’s job to guide the sheep to their appointed places.

It is your responsibility to do God’s will. Here is your part: to follow the Good Shepherd. God doesn’t need you to know the future. God doesn’t need you to be a good spiritual forecaster. All God requires of you is to do what He has told you to do.

Before you protest, “But that’s exactly the problem! I don’t know what God wants me to do,” stop and think a moment.  Isn’t the Bible God’s revelation of what He likes and doesn’t like? Isn’t there an amazing amount of information about God’s will already given to us in Scripture? For example, “Children obey your parents.” “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.” “Be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.”

You maybe think, “Yes, I know all that. But it’s what I don’t know that’s bothering me.” Jesus taught in John 7:17 that the only way to know God’s will is to be willing to do His will. If you aren’t doing what you already know is God’s will, you are in no position to learn God’s will about what you don’t know. If you aren’t obeying God right now, all your pleas for God to reveal His will to you are empty. Start obeying, and God will provide guidance by His Spirit (Rom. 8:14).

If you aren’t obeying God right now, all your pleas for God to reveal His will to you are empty.

Scripture gives us at least five criteria for discerning God’s guidance in our lives:

  1. God never guides us contrary to His word. Divine guidance is always in harmony with Scripture (Isa. 8:20; Deut. 13:1-4)
  2. God has placed spiritual authorities, particularly pastors, in our lives to guide us. Hebrews 13:17 tells us to obey those who have the authority over us for they watch for our souls.
  3. God has given us parents as counselors. We should honor them by seeking and carefully considering their advice (Exod. 20:12)
  4. God uses circumstances to “open doors” and “close doors” of opportunity (2 Cor. 2:12). If a path is God’s will, He will open a way for us to tread it. Closed doors may indicate that it is not the right time or that it is not the right path.
  5. The peace of Christ acts as the umpire in our hearts (Col. 3:15). When something disturbs our inner peace, we should avoid acting until we can act in full faith (Rom. 14:22).

In my next article, I’ll address the role our spirituals gifts play in discerning God’s will.

 


 

Originally published in God’s Revivalist. Used by permission.

Philip Brownhttp://apbrown2.net
Dr. Philip Brown is Graduate Program Director and Professor at God's Bible School & College. He holds a PhD in Old Testament Interpretation from Bob Jones University and is the author of A Reader's Hebrew Bible (Zondervan Academic, 2008).