Have you ever found it hard to discern God’s will for your life? Some people confidently live life in what they believe is God’s will while others are so paralyzed by the question that they accomplish nothing with their life. There are big questions in life. Who will we marry? Where will we go to college? What will be our career? Where should we live? We all want to make the right choices and no one hopefully wants to waste their life. Knowing God’s general will for your life will help you discover the specific steps you should take. I believe there are basic questions you must ask yourself when trying to know God’s will for your life.
The first question you must ask is, “Is what I’m about to do sinful or in violation of Scripture?” It is pretty obvious if the Bible condemns it you shouldn’t do it. Also, if the Bible says you should do it, then do it. We are even to say away from the appearance of evil (Ephesians 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:22). The Bible is full of wisdom on various topics. For instance, if you are struggling whether or not you should marry someone or not, you should read Scriptures like 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, 1 Corinthians 15:13, and Ephesians 5:21-31. Sometimes the Bible speaks directly to certain issues like marriage, parenting, career, relationships, sex, money, attitude, and a host of others. Sometimes it speaks indirectly to situations. If you don’t find a specific Bible verse forbidding an action that doesn’t automatically mean it’s acceptable. What about living a holy life? The Bible may not say directly which job to pick but it does speak on fulfilling your overall purpose, being holy, glorifying God, and loving people. Instead of asking, “Which job does God want me to take?”, I would ask a better question like, “Which job would allow me to fulfill my overall purpose, be holy, glorify God, and love people better.”
Here is another question to consider, “Is what I’m about to do glorifying to God?” Be sure that every decision you make will either bring you closer to God or lead you further away from God. This applies to small and major decision of life. Keep in mind Scriptures like, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17) and, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). I’m not sure God is too concerned if your outfit is blue or red but He is concerned if it is modest and holy. I really don’t think God is concerned if you pick one college over another (although I think He is a Razorback fan – HA!). I do think He is concerned with you motives for picking a college. Buying or renting a house may not be “will of God material” but debt, finances, and stewardship are.
Prayer is also one of the most needed aspects to discovering God’s will. Big decisions require big prayer. Don’t rush into something. Have you asked God about it? If you don’t get a clear answer, wait. He will make it clearer in time. Sometimes we truly know God’s answer but are praying to change His mind. Trust the Lord’s answer. He knows best. It is best to follow Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” God will give you the wisdom you need if you ask (James 1:5; Proverbs 2:6). Wisdom can come from a counselor (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22), His Word, or prayer. Coincidence is not always confirmation so be careful saying things like, “Everything is lining up so it must be God.” Remember Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is: His good, pleasing and perfect will.” If you walk close with God, regularly reading your Bible, praying without ceasing, and seeking Godly counsel you’ll be sure to recognize and do God’s will for your life.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.