God's Will

There have been moments I wished God would send me an email to tell me exactly what He wanted me to do in a particular situation. I desperately wanted to know God’s will, so I could do the right thing, but I wasn’t sure what the right thing was.

Most Christians sincerely want to know and follow God’s will. We want to know what God wants us to do, what He wants us to say, what decisions He wants us to make, where He wants us to go. And yet so often we hesitate to step out because we lack confidence that this way – or is it that way – is God’s way.

Yet, we really don’t have to wonder what God’s will is. We don’t have to struggle with every decision, question every crossroad. We CAN know His will for us. God wants us to know His will.

We will break it down below, but here’s the answer in a nutshell:

When we know God’s Word, we will know His will.

God has revealed Himself to us in the Bible. In His divinely inspired Word, He has made known to us everything He wants us to know about Him. Indeed, everything we need to know about Him to live the life He wants us to live. In the Bible, God has revealed His character, His plans and purposes, His thoughts, and His ways.

The more we know and apply the “living, active” (Hebrews 4:12) Word of God, the more God uses its Truth to purify our hearts and renew our minds. The more we fill our minds with God’s Word and meditate on His eternal truths, the more our thinking will align with God’s thinking. The lies and half-truths of the world will be replaced with truth. And, over time, the way we think will look more and more like God’s way of thinking.

Paul expressed it this way in his letter to the Christians in Rome:

“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.” Romans 12:2

The Greek word translated as “discern” in Romans 12:2 means to understand and agree with God’s will with the intent of putting it into practice. The more our thinking aligns with God’s we will begin to know almost instinctively what His will is in a given situation. The more we think like God, the more we will act like Him.

What we put into our minds WILL shape the way we think. Our thinking then shapes our beliefs and what we believe will dictate our behavior. When we think like the world, we will act like the world. When we think like God, we will do what God would do. (See “What are You Feeding Your Mind?” for more about transformed thinking.)

When we know God’s Word, we will know His will.

A Few Guidelines for Transformed Thinking:

  • Transformed thinking takes time– The Bible is not a quick-reference guide. We can’t wait until a need arises then use the concordance to try to find God’s will. Knowing God’s Word in order to think like God requires a life-long commitment. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to undo old patterns of thinking and establish new ones. (Also see 12 Ways to Stay Motivated to Read the Bible.”)
  • Transformed thinking requires a personal commitment– Bible studies written by other people, sermon podcasts, and Christian conferences can all be great supplemental tools for the life of faith, nothing can replace our own study. Thorough knowledge of God’s Word requires personal, ongoing immersion in the Scriptures. Our study of the Bible cannot be erratic, casual, or second-hand. (If you want to dig into God’s Word for yourself but need just a little guidance, check out the Deep Rooted Journal. It’s packed with Bible study tips and helps. For a guide through a Bible book see the Deep Rooted devotional series. Each volume leads you through your own study of a Bible book. See Mark, Acts, or Romans.)
  • Transformed thinking needs follow-through– The goal of knowing God’s will is doing God’s will. If we undertake to study God’s Word to know His will, we must be prepared to do His will.  (Also see 4 Ways to Apply Scripture to Your Life.”)

Additional help in knowing God’s will

Even with a thorough knowledge of God’s Word and thinking that generally aligns with His, sometimes we still struggle to know God’s will. Seeking direction through prayer and godly counsel can often help us wisely discern God’s will. Keep in mind two things:

  1. The Holy Spirit will never direct us in ways that contradict God’s Word.
  2. Always check human advice against the truths in God’s Word before proceeding.

Do you struggle to know God’s will? How have you sought to discover it in the past?

A few other related posts you may find helpful:

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