Finding the Will of God
Finding the will of God can be very unclear and uncertain for many. God is not a physical person that shows up for a conference session to tell you exactly what to do. Any believer would welcome that in a crisis or during a difficult decision time, but the walk of faith with Christ doesn’t work that way. Our Father cultivates men and women in faith — faith that doesn’t have handles on it; it is unseen. Men and women who live and walk by faith please God. Faith is the Kingdom conduit by which God accomplishes His will on earth. It is His Kingdom plan. Misunderstanding the value He places on faith, many believers are frustrated in desiring to know God’s will. In the west, our mind-set is to expect things quickly and on our terms. The western Church is no different in its mindset. Many become angry with God as He seems to remain silent. I meet with people all the time who do not know the first step to determining God’s will. This article is not all conclusive; but it will help you begin the process of ultimately having God’s will revealed. I see so much grief and fear as I minister to exasperated people trying to know God. I hope these eight simple points will help people find clearer direction and God’s will for their lives.
The Word of God
First, to process and find God’s will in your life or about a direction, you should seek out the subject specifically within the Holy Scriptures. Is it clearly stated in the Word of God? If so there is no need to process the rest of the list and points described within this article. If the direction you are seeking is clearly stated in the Scriptures, you have God’s will. Case in point: you do not need work through all the steps to know God’s will regarding the practice of homosexuality or committing adultery. God’s Word is clear and takes only a fifth grade reading level to understand that they are both indeed prohibited. For a believer, the word of God is irrefutable. As we search for God’s will, some subjects may be unclear within the Scriptures, yet part of the answer or the principle may be found. You may need someone more knowledgeable about the Scriptures to help you find the subject or related principle. Journaling and following the next five points listed will help.
The Prayer Life
Second, in the search for God’s will, a consistent prayer life is essential. As I mentioned previously, you don’t have to pray about whether or not to specifically break a command; we should know better. However, you may face a subject that is unclear in the Scriptures or a life circumstance not addressed within the Scriptures. Many principles are found in the Scriptures to address many of life’s heart issues, though it may not be completely clear. We obviously don’t have to pray about whether to be selfish or self-absorbed. In your efforts to discern God’s Will through prayer, a knowledge of the Scriptures is very important, to, therefore, pray over the Scriptures in seeking God’s will. As you pray, be specific to the issues of direction you need. I would underscore the necessity to journal during this time. Write down your prayers and what you believe the answers are. Afterwards, as it becomes even clearer, document the answers for specific direction and for later spiritual encouragement. The Lord may also want you to enter into a time of fasting while seeking His will in prayer and journaling.
The Gift of the Holy Spirit
Third, God’s gift of the divine presence in our lives is the Holy Spirit. He is our Guide to peace as a part of the divine will of God. The Scripture is clear in Eph. 1:13 that the Holy Spirit is God’s Seal on our life. God desires to give us peace. Listen for the still quiet voice within your soul to help you find the Will of God. The Holy Spirit does not necessarily speak words into the mind, but He will lead your heart and your soul in the right direction. Do you have peace? If you do not, it could be an indication that what you seek is not God’s will, or His timing. Do you struggle with fear? Fear is faith’s greatest enemy and it squelches the voice of the Holy Spirit. As you grow and mature in your discipleship with Jesus Christ as your master you will be more able to discern and know His voice and His leading will become more and more clear. The Lord may also communicate that you need to wait; you must be led by the Spirit of Peace.
The Holy Spirit himself gives gifts. Several gifts are listed in 1 Cor. Chapters 12 – 14. These gifts remind us that the Father desires to lead us into His will. I embrace the very good and perfect gifts the Father has for me. I hope you will too. Doing so will help you find God’s will for your life. The Holy Spirit is also an author. He moved upon men’s hearts to write the Word of God. Ask Him to help you understand the Scriptures and God’s will for your life. He delights in showing us marvelous wonders from God’s Word.
The Counsel of Authority
Fourth, to discern God’s will for your life, be willing to submit to and receive counsel from those who have authority in your life. Parents are an excellent resource for direction. Even though parents may not have authority over you as an adult; God still enjoys using parents — especially believing parents — to provide counsel as we seek to discern His will for our lives. I have seen God use even unbelieving parents to unexpectedly reveal His purpose and plans for individuals. A parent is often the one person in life who unselfishly desires success and the very best for you. Your parents watched you grow and usually know you better than anyone else. They see your blind spots and know your places of weakness. There are exceptions. In rare circumstances; some parents are so broken and wounded themselves, they cannot be a reliable source. However, I am amazed how the Father can use even the most broken to reveal parts of God’s will or to give warning. Ask God to use your parents in your life to reveal the best direction for you to take in discovering His will for your life. The counsel of authority can help you see things from another perspective. It can be challenging, but if you are humble, then you know this is a part of processing and discerning direction. Other authority figures the Father uses to give good and Godly counsel are teachers, employers, and especially spiritual men and women who are leaders. Will you submit to the counsel of authority? Will you listen to another perspective or a challenging difference to your thoughts to gain God’s will?
The Fellowship and Community of Believers
Fifth, we need to be aware that the Father will use the members of the Body of Christ, if you are in direct fellowship. So, if you are not in direct fellowship, you certainly need to be. These are the people with whom you are usually walking out your life. They can see your blind spots. God wants all of us to have healthy accountability and boundaries in our lives. Are you walking in fellowship with other believers to whom you confess and with whom you open up your heart in total honesty? This is a wonderful gift from God, through which you can discover His direction. I am not suggesting spiritual manipulation or control, which can come from a broken element in the Body of Christ and in relationships. This broken element does exist and we should always be cautious. However, we all need close friends and safe people in whom we can confide. God desires to use peers and other members to pray over us. The Holy Spirit can operate within them to speak to you. We are to speak God’s encouragement and love to one another. Will you allow God to use others in your life to process your intentions?
The Circumstance in Life
Sixth, be open to the fact that God will use many circumstances in your life to give His Divine guidance. The Father will make His will clear as you followed the five points with this sixth one. While circumstances alone may not reveal God’s will, in conjunction with the above, He will certainly speak “Yes,” “No,” or “Wait.” The answer may be that this is a waiting transitional time in your life. Godly counsel and accountability will help you discern your circumstances correctly. Are you willing to process ALL facts of your circumstances to find God’s will?
The Desires of Your Heart
Seventh in discerning God’s will is asking the question, “What is in your heart…what is your desire?” I am speaking to the person who, to the best of his ability, has surrendered to do God’s will. What do you WANT to do? This is rightfully the second to the bottom of the list as it can be capricious. However, God our Father does put desires in our hearts as a part of how He has created us in doing His will. Do not discount your vision and desires. I suggest you process them with godly counsel no matter how small or grand.
The Miracles of God
Eighth, last but not least in my simplified list of discerning God’s will for your life, are God’s own miracles. I put this last on the list, because miracles seem to be infrequent. When is the last time you had a miraculous event? Though it may not occur very often, we should not discount God’s use of miracles in our lives. God can and will use miracles to give you clear direction. I don’t have the space here to tell my stories, but God has been so kind to me in giving me miracles. I believe for more. Will you simply believe God for your miracle? It is a miracle alone that many of us have been led and transformed into His will. Have you considered past simple miracles in your life? Will you submit to God’s will by the power of His Spirit operating in your life, to lead you in His Word, in prayer, and in godly accountability? God truly desires to use those precious gifts of people in your life to reveal His will. We need one another to be God’s miracle to the world.
So let’s review the wondrous ways God provides for those of us who want to know His Will for our lives: the Word of God . . . Prayer . . . the Holy Spirit . . . the Counsel of Authority . . . the Fellowship and Community of Believers . . . the Circumstances of Life . . . the Desires of Our Heart . . . the Miracles of God. Indeed, we serve a generous and loving Father who seeks to make His will known.
Stephen Black is Executive Director of First Stone Ministries.
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