I remember the feeling of desperation during the first couple of months of alcoholism recovery. I felt like everything, literally everything, was changing. I was going through a divorce, living on a friend’s couch, owned only two boxes of clothes, and my sales job became unappealing because I was only there to try to get rich. But the LORD had suddenly changed my heart and identity. I was even questioning if the city in which I was living was best for me given my unhealthy relationships and addiction patterns.
When I told my sponsor, “I feel like I need to quit my job and move, once the house sells,” he said, “We don’t recommend any big life changes during your recovery.” I responded with something like, “I don’t understand how I can not make big changes in my recovery. I have been living as ‘lord of my own life’ for the past 12 years. I am self-destructing. I feel desperate for big changes—especially to follow God and His will for me.” I searched for articles on how to know the will of God. I had lived by my own selfish, sinful wisdom and was afraid of making more decisions apart from knowing God’s direction.
God says that if you lack wisdom, He will give it to you if you ask (James 1:5). He wants to lead you. God knows what is best. The following Seven Cs will help you know God’s will according to His word. Try to place your situation through all seven of these principles. If you focus solely on one principle, you may misinterpret God’s will. God’s answer becomes clearer as you filter your situation through all seven. For instance, if you just go off conviction—knowing that the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9)—your personal desires might cloud your decision. But, if your conviction lines up with God’s Word, the counsel of other Christians, capabilities, etc., you can begin to have a confidence that you’re following His will.
Seven Cs of discerning God’s Will:
- Communication with God (prayer to know His will; Psalm 139:23-24)
- Conviction (a sense of right and wrong from God that aligns with His word; 1 Corinthians 2:12-16)
- Church (leaders of your local church; Hebrews 13:17)
- Community (counsel through those committed to helping you grow spiritually; Proverbs 15:22)
- Canon (God’s word, the Bible; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- Circumstances (Is this decision even a possibility? Paul felt called to return to Thessalonica but circumstances—as organized by Satan—prevented him 1 Thessalonians 2:8)
- Capabilities (Are you able according to your gifts? For example, you may feel passionate about being a worship leader but you are unable to sing; 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, 1 Peter 4)
When I was considering quitting my job and going into a one-year discipleship program, I unknowingly used the steps listed above. I pleaded with God to direct me (1). I felt in my spirit that I was done chasing money to get rich (2). My pastor and his wife thought the discipleship program sounded like a great option (3). Christians close to me thought it was a good idea (though some coworkers and drinking friends thought it was extreme) (4). Proverbs 16:16 says “How much better to get wisdom than gold.” (5). I tried some business interviews and they didn’t progress; I applied and interviewed with the discipleship program and they gave me a full scholarship and a work-study job (6). I eagerly desired to know God’s word and to be discipled…I sensed I was going to be in ministry the rest of my life (7).
All of that combined, I made the decision to enter the discipleship program and it was one of the best decisions of my life. I had peace, joy and confirmation as I followed that road. It was so freeing to trust God and not lean on my own understanding like I did in the past. Though the process of discerning God’s may take some time and wrestling, the result is so good and freeing.
God loves you. He wants to help you make big decisions and small decisions. He has a divine plan for you and has gifted you for a purpose in this plan. If your desire is to honor God in all you do, he will show you the path to take.
Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 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.”