Discovering God’s will can truly be one of the most frustrating aspects of the Christian life. As with all things, there are no easy answers or quick solutions. But what I am offering here are some simple steps to get you started. Please leave feedback, ask questions, or share your own experiences in discovering God’s will for your life. The steps below are really about getting the conversation started, not about being THE definitive solution.
Knowing God’s will for your life involves:
Relationship: Relationship with God is essential to every aspect of the Christian life. My son lives in Colorado; I live in Oklahoma. If I hope to enjoy the benefits of close relationship with him, I must make the effort to keep in touch with him. Prayer and spending time in God’s Word are the avenues to staying close to God. Prayer is simply talking with Him. Reading and studying His Word is how we get to know Him–who He is, what’s important to Him, and how to live our lives for Him in Spirit and in Truth. First and foremost, cherish your relationship with Him; talk to Him; involve Him in every aspect of your life. Then look and listen for His voice. It often comes in the smallest details of your day—but it does come.
Obedience: When I was a kid, if I disobeyed my mom and dad, they didn’t even have to know about it in order for it to affect our relationship. God does know everything you do, even everything you contemplate. Temptation is not disobedience (nor is it sin), but when we do what we know we aren’t supposed to, it impacts our relationship with Him. Walk in humble, respectful obedience to God and He will shower you with His favor!
Submission: This is $10 word that simply means: Not my will, but Yours, O God. When you are praying for God to reveal His will in your life, be prepared to really hear it—even if it is something you may not want to hear. The first time I sensed that God was calling me to be a public speaker, I wanted to run for the hills! But as I submitted to His will, I found that the thing I feared and dreaded was transformed into something that made me feel alive like nothing else I have ever done! His way is best. Submit to Him in all things and His best will become your blessing.
Repentance: This is another $10 word—and one that seems to have gone the way of the dinosaur in our culture!—but it is one that is imperative to our relationship with God. When we sin (which is an archery term for missing the mark), God sees, He understands, and He even sympathizes with our weaknesses…. However, He is a righteous God—in Him there is no darkness, shifting shadow, or sin—and anything that is tainted by sin cannot be allowed in His presence. God made a way for all our sin to be covered; the sacrifice of Jesus’ life and spilled blood on the cross atoned for (paid the penalty for) all our sin. Even so, we are required to repent (turn from) our sin. It’s as simple as recognizing how we’ve missed the mark, turning from it (choosing to do that thing no more), and displaying sorrow or regret to God for our behavior. Again, it’s much like, when you were a kid, getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar before dinner. You drop the cookie back in the jar. Close the lid. Tell your mom how sorry you are for breaking her rules. Then you receive her love and adoration for choosing the right thing. When we turn from our sin in sorrow and out of love for God, He rewards us with close relationship and in turn, we are better able to discern His will for our lives.
Meditation: Meditation is a word borrowed from some in the New Age, but it does not belong to them! Meditation, as a Christian, is about filling your mind (versus emptying it in New Age meditation) with God’s Word or with His attributes. It is about laser focusing on Who He is. And whenever we do so, two things happen: (1) we recognize how BIG and AWESOME He is, and (2) we realize how safe we are in His hand…. When you’re worried about the future, that’s the very best place to land! As you meditate, LISTEN for His voice…. He is always speaking to us; but most of the time the noise of the world and the busyness of our lives drown out His voice. Listen with your heart, not just your mind, and be willing to hear whatever He speaks. (NOTE: He will NEVER speak something to you that is contrary to His Word, the Holy Bible!)
Praise & Worship: Some people will tell you that God wants you to be happy, and that He is willing to forgo His laws in order to make that happen. Umm, that could not be further from the truth! The truth is that God’s way is the Best Way, the Only Way to achieve fulfillment, peace, purpose, and the promises He has spoken over you. His way is the only way to experience true and lasting joy (versus temporary, hollow happiness). One of the most significant ways we enter into His presence and into His joy is through praising and worshiping Him—full on; no holds barred; without hesitation or reservation—praise Him; worship Him from a grateful, humble, and obedient heart…. Nothing opens the floodgates of His love into your life like this!
Adjusting Your Expectations: Finally, stop waiting for God to drop a sign down in front of your face with a fishing hook and line through it! God rarely gives us that definitive, booming voice or burning bush experience. When He does, it’s awesome! But we need to be ready to hear the still, soft whisper of His voice in our heart or in the minutest details of our day. He is always with you, always working, and always speaking—through nature, through the voice of others, through our circumstances, and through the Bible, His inspired Word. Listen for Him in the still, small moments and continue to do the next thing in faith and trust that He’s got you, and He’s got this.
God does have plans and purposes for your life, and He wants you to experience those plans and purposes fully (Jeremiah 29:11-14). That means He will lead you, guide you, and order your steps every step of the way. He may not (and probably won’t) show you the entire journey all in one fell swoop, but He also will not leave you nor forsake you as you follow Him. The key to it all is keeping your relationship with Him close, making it a priority in your life every day. As you do so, following Him will become as natural as breathing. His Spirit will guide your thoughts, your heart, and your desires in accordance with His will. It is a daily walk—a faith walk. Have faith in His desire and ability to fulfill His promises to you. There are no shortcuts. But it is a journey that will fill your life with wonder, awe, adventure, and hope as you walk it with Him.
Here’s to your joy and success in following Him!
Copyright Mary Comm 2014. All rights reserved.
Question: How have you heard God’s voice or discovered His will for your life?