“How can someone find God’s will?”

I asked about a month ago for your questions about your faith.  One of the questions that I hear a lot is “How can I know what God’s will is for my life?”  I want to try and give some practical guidance regarding this important questions.  As I do, I want to share with you a couple of resources that I have found very helpful.  The first is a book by Kevin DeYoung entitled Just Do Something and the other is a book by John MacArthur entitled Found: God’s Will.

So how can I find God’s will?  First let’s define what we mean by God’s will because we often use the word in different ways.  For example, sometimes we refer to God’s will as His:

  • Sovereign Will: This refers to God’s sovereignty.  The Scriptures teach us that God is sovereign and He is working all things together according to His will.  (see Isaiah 46:9-10 and Ephesians 1:11)
  • God’s Will of Desire: This refers to that which God desires for His creation.  God is not silent as to what the Christian life is to look like and His desires for us as we walk by faith and hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  (See I John 2:15-17)
  • God’s Will of Direction: Kevin DeYoung said of this, “We want to know God’s individual, specific plan for the who, waht, where, when, and how of our lives.  We want to know His direction.”  And that’s very true.

Trying to determine God’s will of direction is where I believe many of us struggle and agonize.  We want certainty in the non-moral decisions of our lives.  We want to know, “Should I marry this person?”, “Should I take this job?”, “Should I go to this college?”, “Should I make this vocational change?”  We long to honor Christ with the everyday decisions of our lives, so how can we go about discerning what God’s will is for those decisions that the Scriptures don’t give clarity to?

First, Focus more on what is “known” than what is “unknown.”  As we seek discernment in regards to direction for our lives, let’s first ensure that are seeking that which the Scriptures make explicitly clear.  As Jesus gave the sermon on the mount we are reminded that we should “…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  So as our lives are transformed by the Gospel, what is it that we should seek by faith?

  • Holiness and Moral Purity (I Peter 1:14-16)
  • Being Filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:17-18)
  • Actively share the Gospel and Disciple others (Luke 24:45-48)
  • Perseverance through suffering (I Peter 4:12-13)
  • Care for the poor and oppressed (James 1:27)

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but it will help refresh our memories as to what God has revealed to be His directional will for our lives.

Secondly, focus more intently on the Scriptures as God’s revelation of Himself.  In order to know God more intimately utilize the means that He has chosen to reveal Himself rather than focusing solely on knowing God through extraordinary means (See Proverbs 2:1-6)

Thirdly, listen to the community of believers that God has placed you in.  Within the community of believers take a posture of a learner (Proverbs 1:5, 12:15, 15:22).  There is great wisdom in listening and learning through those who are walking in light of the Gospel.  As you seek to make decisions talk to others Christians about them.  Listen carefully to their counsel and wisdom.

Fourthly, commit yourself to prayer.  Take time and pray for illumination asking God to open your eyes to the Scriptures.  Ask God for the wisdom of how we can become more like Christ.  And this is important…take time to pray for the things we already know to be God’s will.  Be still…listen…and pray!

Finally, trust and take action.  I believe if we take these steps that we can by faith trust that the desires we have, (which have been tested through the caldron of the Scriptures, prayer, and community), are the desires that God has given us.  Therefore we can have the confidence to step out in faith.  But as we walk and step out in faith we should always remain open to the wisdom of others, the Scriptures, and the leading of the Holy Spirit.


6 comments on ““How can someone find God’s will?”

  1. Will,

    This seems similar to Gary Friesen’s book, Decision Making and the Will of God. Good stuff.


  2. Steve,
    Haven’t read Friesen’s book. I’ll have to get a copy! Hope you and your family are doing well.


  3. Will,

    Thanks for this post. Often the unspoken question behind this one is “Why is God hiding His will for my life from me?”. I second the recommendation for Gary Friesen’s book, which I read while studying at L’Abri; it was transformational in my understanding of the question I’d been asking all of my life. I just wish I had discovered it sooner. Hopefully we can prevent believers from expecting a special word from God for each life decision and instead encourage them to take on the work of understanding scripture and growing in wisdom.


  4. You’re very wise for a younger brother 🙂 Enjoyed the article. Hope to see you soon.


  5. A great word, my awesome son!! This is such a great reminder. Thank you!!



  6. Will,

    We’re doing fine thanks and hope you and yours are as well.

    The book by Friesen has 2 editions. I thought the first one did a much better job of explaining the problem. The second one amended that material to save space and supposedly had it online for free viewing. I dont know what is still there for sure.

    As it was for Scott, it was a watershed moment for me.


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