Knowing the will of God has always been a bit of a mystery for me. I recently shared a struggle with a group of friends. One of them told me immediately that he “received a word” from God on what I should do. I wish that I could hear God’s audible voice, but He has not communicated with me in this way. As with my friend, many people have varying opinions on how to discern God’s will.
I am not convinced that God talks audibly to many people, but I am convinced that He has already revealed much of His will through “His Word,” the Bible. I also believe that through His Word, prayer, and His people, God reveals His sovereign plan for our lives over time.
We can and should know God’s revealed will through the Bible. To know His plan for us, we must pray (Proverbs 3:6), study what God has already said, and trust Him to orchestrate the rest for our good (Romans 8:28). God’s sovereign will for our lives today will never contradict what He has already revealed through Scripture. He tells us to meditate and memorize His Word (Joshua 1:8, Colossians 3:16), so that we can internalize how He wants us to live daily. If you are like me, I sometimes have difficulty spending any time in God’s Word, let alone committing it to memory.
While God sovereignly directs the course of our lives, He does not always immediately reveal the specifics of our path (like who to marry or which house to buy). Why not? Because He wants us to learn how to trust Him when things are not clear, and to rely upon the resources He has provided to grow our faith and character.
Can we know His specific direction for our lives today, if there is not a clear biblical answer? Yes, and no! God wants us to pray, pouring our desires, fears, concerns, and frustrations to him (James 1:5). He wants us to search His Word for answers, and to follow His will even when we don’t understand (Romans 11:33-34). He also wants us to open our lives to other Christians so that the Holy Spirit can work through our like minded relationships (Proverbs 18:1). Through prayer, His Word, and His people, God sovereignly directs our daily decisions while teaching us to trust Him in authentic fellowship of other Christians.
Without prayer, knowing God’s Word, or the wisdom of other Christians, it is easy to make bad decisions based on feelings (like marrying a non-Christian or amassing debt by falling into the trap of materialism).
God’s plan for my life is more peaceful when I spend time with Him in prayer, study His Word, and seek godly counsel from my Christian community. His path for me is clearer when I remain focused on doing what He has already revealed in Scripture. I may not have an immediate answer for every decision, but through the resources He has provided, I have come to know God deeper and trust His character. Ultimately, He is the source of my joy and satisfaction in life.
God wants the best for His children (Romans 8:27-29). Each decision we make in life may not turn out perfect, but if I avoid the patterns of the World, pursue God with all my heart (Deuteronomy 6:5-6, Romans 12:1-2), seek godly counsel to avoid blind spots (Proverbs 15:22), and trust Him with the final decision, I like my probability for God’s blessing as I live daily in His sovereign plan.