So what is God’s will for my life???
Oh boy! That’s one of the toughest questions out there. So many inside as well as outside the church have thought (and even obsessed) about this.
To many, discerning God’s will is mainly expressed in life decisions, both large and small. Where to live? Which school? Who to marry? Which career path? Which medical treatment? Obviously some big decisions. Even smaller decisions are not outside God’s desire for us. But discerning God’s will for us goes way beyond those types of decisions— important as they may be. John MacArthur put it this way: “Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth. In other words, the ability to think with discernment is synonymous with an ability to think biblically.” For Christians, without the Word of God guiding us, we would be subject to any and every whim out there (Eph 4:14).
Even as believers, we need to check our motives. The Holy Spirit is also referred to by Jesus as the Spirit of Truth (John 16:13)- who guides us in all truth. This includes the truth about ourselves and the things which we attach ourselves to that weigh in on our decisions- personal gain, prestige, selfish ambitions and the like. Knowing God’s desire for us through Scripture leads us on the right path as to what should matter most as we make decisions based on His will.
Not only does Scripture give us specific insights into God’s will, but we can also glean some general principles. For example, a great insight is in knowing what our Lord delights in. And right at the top of that list are you and I! Yes- God delights in us, His creation. In fact, an important component to knowing God’s will for us is to know God’s love for us. We must trust that God’s will for us is for good (Jer 29:13). This is also wonderfully demonstrated in His desire for us to know and understand Him- which Scriptures say, He delights in (Jer 9:24).
As we’ve discussed before, while there are several ways God speak to us: through Holy Spirit promptings, through other people, and through life circumstances- the chief way He communicates with us is through the truth of Scripture. So, as we endeavor to know God primarily through His Word, we can know with confidence that Scripture provides us with the needed discernment about every issue of life.
As we grow deeper in our relationship with Him, we anticipate what His Word has for us and, because we are seeking His presence in our lives, our spiritual discernment becomes sharper (John 14:15, 21, 23). As a result, we look and prepare ourselves for Holy Spirit nudges and promptings, that lead us in decisions large and small. “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3).
As you may be wondering where to start, here are some practical steps in discerning God’s will:
- Through prayer, present your choice(s) to God.
- Share with God what it is you want.
- Does it reflect some deeper desire?
- How do the options line up with your love of God and others?
- How does the choice lead you deeper into faithfulness and goodness?
- Share your choices with other trusted Christians.
- Once you’ve made a choice, ask God to confirm it, as you pray Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Remember, it is by staying connected to God that His desires become our desires.
I love the promise of Psalm 37:4-5. May God strengthen you in your faith by it!
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”
-Pastor Joe Garofalo