How Do I Know God’s Will?
Text: Romans 12:2 | Listen to Message
“I just didn’t have peace about it.”
“I felt like God was telling me to.”
“Things got hard, so it was pretty clear to me God was closing that door.”
“I put out a fleece and God seemed to be saying ‘no.’”
“I thought it was the right call and I found a pastor who agreed with me.”
Christians sure do have some bizarre ways of determining God’s will, don’t we? We follow our feelings, as if our emotions are infallible guides to our best life now. We claim “God said” this or that outside of – and often contradictory to – the written revelation of His Word. We create tests for God and base serious decisions on whether or not He seems to jump through our hoops. We act as if prosperity is divine blessing, suffering is divine punishment, and circumstances are self-interpreting. We seek counselors who will just tell us what we want to hear. And then we wonder why so many of us are so confused about God’s will.
If God has a will for our individual lives, it seems like it would be important for Him to communicate to us how we could know it. So here’s my question: Where does the Bible say that any of these things above are the way to discover His will in real time?
Do you want to know what the Bible actually says about knowing God’s will? Because there are some texts that actually talk about how you can know it: Romans 12:2 and Colossians 1:9-10. Together, these verses say that you simply need wisdom that comes from turning away from the world and having a renewed mind.
In other words, if you want to know the will of God, saturate your life with the Word of God and be eager to follow Christ in repentance and faith.
See, the best way to know God’s special, individual plan for your life is by knowing His moral will (His laws/commands) and His sovereign will (His purposes/plans) for all things. And the only way you learn is by plunging your life into the Bible, where God explicitly reveals these things.
Let me give you two analogies to illustrate:
First, picture your life like a sponge. When life suddenly grabs you and squeezes you, what’s going to come out? Whatever you’ve been soaking up in the first place. You want to do the will of God spontaneously? Than saturate your heart, mind, and emotions with the character and Gospel of Jesus!
Second, let’s say you’re “in the dark” about a specific decision you have to make. Then let the Word of God throw light on that decision – and let it throw light from several different “angles.” For example, ask things like:
- Does the Bible say anything about this specific topic?
- How does the character of God relate to this?
- How does the law of God speak to this?
- How does the Gospel change the way I’m thinking about this?
- What priorities of God come into play with this decision?
- What overarching purposes of God are served by this decision?
Almost never will you get one, definitive, “right” answer from these questions. What you’ll get is wisdom. What you’ll get is the freedom to take the next right step in faith.
One parting thought. Many times when we say we want to know God’s will, what we really want is a crystal ball. But God doesn’t want you to know the future; He wants you to know Jesus. Jesus is Wisdom. And in knowing him you have everything you need for life and godliness, 2 Peter 1:3 says.
Keep it simple. God’s will isn’t a set of turn-by-turn directions for you to discover by correctly interpreting the extra-biblical clues. It is His wisdom and grace applied to your life over and over again.