Articles of interest
How to know God's will
for YOUR life
FINDING THE WILL OF GOD IN YOUR LIFE doesn't have to be as confusing as many people think. Here are some ways to know God's will.
If the Bible says it's OK, it's God's will
The Bible should be your first port of call in finding God's will. So let's look at what the Bible says about God's will.
In 1 Corinthians 10:32, the Apostle Paul says that whatever you do, “do all to the glory of God”.
So, whether you are seeking God's will for your whole life, or just looking for guidance on what direction to take with some important decision such as career or marriage, the main thing is that the outcome must glorify God.
If you are seeking direction or answers to something that the Bible commands or encourages, such as helping those in need, marrying a godly believer, praying, abstaining from all appearances of evil, getting saved and baptized … then such things are clearly God's will.
Paul had a clear direction from Jesus Christ that it was God's will for him to become an apostle. He opened his first letter to the Corinthian church with the greeting, “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God …” It was not Paul's will to turn from being a persecutor of Christians to being an apostle, but God made it clear to him that it was God's will. And Paul's turnaround energized the church.
If the Bible says it's not OK, then it's not God's will
The Bible lists 10 Commandments in Exodus 20, and Jesus and the New Testament writers give other warnings and commands to do or not do certain things. If there is a warning not to do something, then God's will for you is to not do it.
For example, 1 Thessalonians 4 tells us that the will of God is that we “abstain from fornication” and not defraud our brother. So don't bother seeking God's will on whether you should have sex before marriage, or whether you should follow a career that extorts money from people. God's Word has already told us these things are wrong.
The Bible says God doesn't want you to lie, cheat, blaspheme, marry a non-Christian (if you are a Christian), steal or murder. So God's will for you is to avoid such things, along with everything else the Bible teaches against.
Already you have two clear ways to know the will of God — do it if it is right, and don't do it if it is wrong. But there is more great news in the Bible on finding God's will.
What if the Bible isn't clear on something?
If you are trying to find God's will for something that is not clear in the Bible, you need to accept that God probably won't write the answer in big letters in the sky. He has created you with a brain to think, a conscience to tell you right from wrong, and some wonderful biblical principles to get you through life and into eternal life with Him.
Finding God's will can be as simple as working through the direction you are seeking — with your brain, conscience and the Bible. If what you decide to do will honor God, then go that way. It will be in accordance with God's will.
In Psalm 143:10, David prayed, “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God”. Your prayer should be no less.
When Jesus was teaching His disciples to pray with the Lord's Prayer, He said “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
As you pray to know God's will, make sure your prayer is that God will be glorified in the outcome. When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane before Judas betrayed Him, He prayed to the Father: “nevertheless, not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14:36).
This is an astonishing key to how to pray for God's will to be done. As you pray, like Jesus, let God know that whatever you want will be secondary to what He wants. You have to be willing to allow God's will to overrule your own. When you want what God wants, you can be sure it is God's will.
And there is even better news for you. Read on.
How to know that God hears you
How can you be sure God will hear your prayer? The answer is in 1 John 5:14-15:
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
Isn't that extraordinary? Aren't these verses wonderful? People often overlook the power of the promise in these Bible verses. The verses are saying that if you ask anything according to God's will, God hears you and gives it to you.
So when God answers your prayers, you will know that what you asked was in line with His will.
If you are unsure about whether you should move to another country, or what sort of career you should follow, or whether you should marry a certain person, put it to God this way: You feel that you would like to go a certain way if it will glorify God, and there is nothing in the request that you are aware of that would be against what God wants, and you want only God's will to be done anyway, not your own, so that He gets the glory.
According to the promise of 1 John 5:14-15, if you can pray so that it accords with God's will, He will hear you and grant your request.
Bullet-proof your prayer
There are a few other considerations you should follow to make sure your request is heard and answered.
James 4:17 covers our heart's desire as well as our mind's desire. In simple English it says that when you know the right thing to do and fail to do it, it is sin.
You can't be praying to find God's will if you are not willing to accept His conditions. You know the right way to pray, but if you don't do it that way because you want your way or no way, then the conditions in 1 John 5:14-15 won't be met and God is unlikely to grant your request.
Many people pray for selfish reasons and then wonder why their prayer isn't answered. According to James 4:3, the reason they don't receive what they ask for is because they “ask amiss”. So make sure your heart and mind are right with God before expecting Him to reveal His will to you.
How will you know God's answer?
It seems that God does have a will as to whether Christians “do this or that”. James 4:13-15 says:
Come now, you who say, “To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there for a year, and buy and sell, and get gain” — but we don't know what tomorrow will bring. “What is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
What this means is that believers should not live like atheists who plan things with no regard to whether God will even let them live long enough to carry out their plans. Life is but a vapor, so believers must be aware that their plans hinge on God's grace and His will.
It is sometimes God's will that we suffer unjustly: “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing” (1 Peter 3:17).
Finally, rather than expecting God to write His will for you in large letters in the sky, make sure you are right with God, that your desire is to glorify Him, that you want Him to lead you in the direction He wants, and if you can see no reason that your desire would be dishonoring to God, then pray about it persistently and simply let God open doors for you.
If the Bible approves of something, you will be doing God's will if you do it.
If the Bible condemns or warns against something, you will be doing God's will by avoiding it.
Pray that God will teach you to do His will.
Pray that what God wants will take precedence over what you want.
You have a promise that if you ask anything that is in accord with God's will, you will have it.
Don't pray with sin in your life. Get rid of the sin and repent. If you know the right thing to do and don't do it, it is sin.
Don't pray for selfish reasons. Pray to glorify God by seeing His will done.
Realize that you wouldn't be able to do anything if God didn't allow it.
It is sometimes God's will for believers to suffer injustice.
Let God open or close doors for you, and accept His leading.
In most cases you won't get, and don't need, a personalized set of instructions from God telling you what direction you should go. God has given you enough information about doing His will to get you through life.
Now go ahead and do His will.