Have you ever felt paralyzed by indecision? When there are choices before you, how do you know what God’s will is? I find it hard to know what’s best, especially when the choices are all good things. Knowing God’s will in any uncertain situation seems elusive and confusing. But I read something recently that made me think:
“One reason God usually doesn’t give us specific guidance in our perplexing decisions is that He places a higher priority on our being transformed than our being informed in order that we will be conformed to the image of Jesus.”
He goes on to say: “If he made his will for our specific decisions more explicit more often, we would tend to focus more on what we do rather than on what we love. Like the Pharisees, we would tend to focus more on our actions rather than on our affections.” – Jon Bloom, from Don’t Follow Your Heart, p. 127
God doesn’t tell us in His Word what job to take, or which house to buy. He often doesn’t make it clear whether we should be involved in this ministry or that one, or pursue a relationship or take a vacation. I’m not discounting the fact that God does sometimes speak to us, and I’ve experienced a nudge in my spirit several times when I just knew I should do a specific thing in that instance. But in general, we are left with our own wisdom and decision making. So how do we decide?
What The Bible Clearly Tell Us About Knowing God’s Will
There are some very clear, direct verses that tell us what God’s will is for us. They are not as specific as we might perhaps wish, but they are a start.
For It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality…- I Thessalonians 4:3
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – I Thessalonians 5:18
For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. – I Peter 2:15
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. – I Peter 4:19
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. – Romans 12:2
To sum up, God clearly tells us that it’s His will that we live holy lives; giving thanks, doing good and trusting God when we encounter suffering. And that pursuing a transformed mind, renewed by the Holy Spirit, will aid us in our ability to discern God’s more specific will for our lives.
Other Things The Bible Says About Knowing God’s Will
We are told to ask God for wisdom when we need it. James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” We are assured that our kind Father will help us when we need direction. We are also encouraged to seek the advice of others who may wisely direct us. “Wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Proverbs 13:10.
In Romans 1:13a the apostle Paul says “I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now)…Paul apparently wanted to visit the Romans earlier, but was unable to. He made his plans, but then allowed God to direct them.
It reminds me of James 4:14-15 where we are exhorted to make our plans allowing for God’s will to take precedence: “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
4 Points To Remember In Knowing God’s Will
- God wants us to love Him more than anything else (Matthew 22;37). Our decisions show what we love, and what our top priorities are.
- God gives us intelligence, desires and talents that we should and can use for meaningful work. It’s not wrong to make our plans, but we must acknowledge that God is ultimately in control (James 4:14-15).
- We should ask God for wisdom and listen to the advice of godly counselors.
- God cares more about our holiness than about our good works. Developing a mind that’s increasingly transformed by the Holy Spirit will help us better understand God’s will (Romans 12:2).
Lord, would you transform our minds more and more so we can better know your will?