Posted by: Veroni Kruger | July 28, 2013

How Do I Find Out The Will Of God?

Every truly devout believer wants to follow God’s will in every aspect of their lives. We know that is the safest way to live. If we are in God’s will, we know we’ll be okay, even when things seem to go wrong. Going out of the will of God is like a train running off its tracks, only much worse.

The will of God means staying within the intention of God for your life. “Will of God” actually means “what God wants.” Applied to our lives, that means what He wants for us. His intention is that you may receive the best possible of everything. The best for you, which is not what the best for anyone else may be. Jeremiah 29.11 is indicative of God’s intentions for all his children:
” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ”

How shall we know what God’s will is? In trying to discover what his will is, we are dealing with all kinds of factors. Circumstances, long term expectations that may be realistic or unrealistic, fears, the expectations of other people, the Spirit of God who wants to lead us into doing what God wants us to do, and Satan whose ultimate aim is to destroy us and who knows a first step in that direction is to divert us from God’s purposes for our lives. As we try to discern the will of God for us, we have to deal with each of these “voices”. They crowd in on our awareness, they are immediate and make themselves visible, audible and sometimes even tangible. They are often like noise that makes it difficult for us to hear the voice of God. He is invisible, intangible, and reaches us through means that present a motivation that is often totally different from all other influences.

There are four steps we should take in attempting to discern the will of God for ourselves.

1. Live each day in submission to God
2. Find out all the facts about the matter about which you are seeking God’s will
3. Quiet yourself so that you shut out all other “voices”
4. Ask yourself what it is you want to do.

1. Live each day in submission to God

Trying to find out what God’s will is without living in submission to Him, is nothing but crisis management. If we do not live in submission to Him, we are allowing the mixture of our own desires and external factors to control us. This becomes a habit with us. To then suddenly demand to know what God’s will is, is so foreign to how we habitually make decisions, that it is very difficult. On top of that, we usually become desperate to know God’s will when we are in a crisis. That makes it even more difficult to break out of a habit.

What does it mean to live in submission to God? It means to recognize that God is sovereign, not only in the universe, but also in our own lives. Consequently, we want to live in such a manner that He will be honoured through our lives. “Lord, what do you want me to do?” becomes the maxim of our lives.

The first place we look to find out how we should live to bring Him honour, is the Bible. We call it the Word of God. “Word of God” means God spoke. Everything God speaks cannot be contained in one book. But everything we need to know about how to live in this life and prepare for eternal life is contained in this book. It also contains the principles by which we interpret all the other ways God speaks, e.g. through creation, other people, our own thoughts or emotions etc.

Seeking specific guidance from God in a specific aspect of our lives is most effective when we live in an attitude of submission to Him. Essential to living in submission is honouring the Bible for what it is, and basing our lives on what the Bible teaches.

2. Find out all the facts about the matter about which you are seeking God’s will

This is necesary because it is the most common-sense thing to do. Also, Jesus enjoins us to do it when He says it is foolish to start building a tower without calculating what it will cost, or going to war without finding out how many the enemy are compared to your own numbers. It is also necessary for a psychological reason, which, in turn, has spiritual ramifications. Trying to make important decisions without ensuring that there are no hidden fears or false expectations is like travelling on an imaginary road. It’s simply healthy all round to make sure of all facts you can find out!

In this step you also talk to other people who know you and know something about what you have to make a decision about, or have had to make the same kind of decision, and have had to deal with the consequences of their decision. Since you tell yourself ahead of time that this is not the final step in your decision-making, you can do the fact-finding fearlessly. Your motivation here is finding out the truth. What you do with what you discover is going to be up to you. Use every possible source, including people. Beware that some “facts” may be wordly wisdom, e.g. You need lots of money to be happy, there’s something wrong with you if you don’t “have ambition” (to get rich/drive a new car/live in a big house …), get married when all your friends do, …) This isoften nonsense, like the old advertisement “Life is better with Coke.”

3. Quiet yourself so that you shut out all other “voices”

This step may be the most difficult one. You now have many different “voices” resounding in your mind: Your own expectations/fears/preferences/prejudices etc. as well as those of everyone you are in relationship with or have spoken or heard of or from; every past experience you have had; all the facts you have found out, … There is also that voice of the Accuser, the great Discourager, the Prophet of Doom, Satan, who wants to mislead you in every possible way. Thank God, there is also the Holy Spirit.

There is a place in your heart/mind/spirit to which only you and the Spirit of God have access. Paul talks about that place when he says no-one knows what is in a person except the spirit of that person. That is where you now have to focus.

Shut out all voices except the voice of the Holy Spirit. The old song says “On the Jericho road, there’s room for just two; no more and no less, just Jesus and you.” Imagine yourself right there. Alone with Jesus!

Now you are ready to decide! It’s the right place for making important decisions.

4. Ask yourself what it is you want to do.

You may have been expecting me to say “Ask God …” I have found that to be very difficult for many people. It often brings with it all sorts of uncertainties, like “How will He speak to me?”, “How will I know it’s really Him?” I believe that if you have followed the steps previously outlined, God will speak to you, and that the way He will speak will be a strong personal conviction. That is why I believe in keeping it simple: What is it you want to do. Paul says God works in us to make us want what He wants and to do what He wants us to do.

This last step is an act of conviction, and a step of faith. God will honour it, and provide the guidance you need.

Complementary to the process I have described above, is the test of consistency. Repeat what is outlined in steps 3 and 4. Coming to the same conclusion each time serves as confirmation. Someone said: “If it grows on you, you can be certain it is the will of God.”

Happy seeking God’s will!
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: That if we ask anything according to his will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him (1 John 5.14&15).”


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Alexander F. Venter

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