Knowing God’s Will
Leaders are often asked for advice and counsel regarding decisions that others are making. They want to do what is right and know God’s plan for their life. Here’s a simple outline for advising others on how to find the will of God. Knowing how to discern God’s will for ourselves and finding His pathway forward can be challenging for us all. With so many options and competing voices, the cacophony can be distracting or confusing at best. How can we know His will for us as we seek to lead others?
The Lord generally uses five means to guide us as we go forward along His path. While He can and does on occasion use other “spectacular” means (angels, visions, dreams, burning bush, pillar of fire, a speaking donkey), these five means are most often used to guide us.
#1 The Word of God – God will use His Word, the Bible, to guide us. It can be as objective as a command or as subjective as a personal promise. But He will never lead us in a way that would contradict His revealed Word. Psalm 119:105
#2 Personal Peace – When we pray about our situation His Spirit who dwells within us will confirm with our spirit that we are on the right path. This does not mean that we will have all the answers for our questions or that we may not be anxious in wondering how it will all work out. But there will be quietness within our soul that He is leading us. Isaiah 30:21
#3 Wise Counsel – As we seek counsel from others God will speak through them to help us discern His will. We are reminded that in the abundance of counselors there is much wisdom. Therefore, we are looking for a general consensus from those we ask for counsel. And we choose counsel from those who are more mature in the Lord than we are and hopefully those who want God’s best for us. Proverbs 15:22
#4 Critical Thinking – Dawson Trotman said, “God gave you a lot of leading when He gave you a brain. So use it!” We are taught not to “lean on your own understanding,” not “don’t use your own understanding.” I’ll often make a pro-contra or plus-minus list regarding the advantages and disadvantages I can see when making a major decision. Proverbs 3:5-6
#5 Circumstances – The Lord can direct through open as well as closed doors. But just because there is an open door it does not mean that we are expected to walk through it. Our adversary can also open doors of opportunity to get us off track. Paul was directed by God on his second missionary journey by running into three closed doors until he finally arrived in Troas and in a vision directed to Europe. Acts 18
So what can we conclude? God wants us to know His will. He planned it and designed us to accomplish it. Thus He will direct us if we ask Him. The key is our willingness to obey and do His will. Romans 12:1-3 confirms that we will know His will if we are willing to do it. And God being God, He has no trouble communicating. These five means will align and point to a common destination. We will know His path for us; that’s not the problem. The challenge is in following the path. For God’s path usually involves faith and often sacrifice and those can scare us.
Are you searching for His pathway for you? Or perhaps you already know His desire for you, but you’ve not yet yielded to that guidance. It’s time to step up and step out by faith and follow Him!