One of the areas where we Christians seem to be confused is how we can know God’s will for our lives. Let me share with you some of the reasons that I believe we struggle with this.
First, we think God’s will is some kind of a mystery—a heavenly game of hide and seek that God is playing with us. But God doesn’t send us on a treasure hunt to find his will. He wants us to know it more than we want to know it. Consider Romans 12:2 which says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
It doesn’t say, “Then you’ll be able to make a good guess and hope you’ve found what God’s will is for you.” No, it is clear that we should be able to know the perfect and pleasing will of God—no mystery, no Easter egg hunt, no confusion.
In Ephesians 5:17 we read, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” Paul is saying that when we don’t know God’s will, we are foolish or unwise. It’s not God’s fault; it’s our own foolishness.
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Again, we are promised that God will show us his way—not maybe, hopefully, or if you know how to read the road signs and decipher his hidden code.
There are many unbiblical ideas about how you’ll know what God’s will is for your life. Some think it has to be a traumatic or emotional experience where you are moved in some mystical way. Lots of people talk about putting out their fleeces, based on Gideon’s experience as found in Judges 6. They set up a test for God: If this happens or that doesn’t happen, then I’ll know God has shown me exactly what to do.
Well, if you’ll study that story about Gideon, you’ll find that when Gideon asked God to do a miracle with the fleece, it was because Gideon hadn’t believed what God already had promised him. It was because of his weak faith that Gideon put out a fleece, not because he didn’t know what God wanted him to do.
Knowing God’s will is not necessarily an emotional experience, a “calling,” or a light that strikes you or a bush that burns. It’s true—sometimes God uses unusual ways to talk to us, but those are rare exceptions. Most of the time he reveals his will through his Word to those who are living in obedience and saturating their lives daily with his truth. His will for us will always be in total agreement with the written Word of God.
Knowing God’s will in your life is not difficult. It is an inevitable result if you fulfill the prerequisites.