When we’re lost, maps are helpful. Many times we find ourselves struggling to choose the right path but we’re not sure which one will lead us to where we want to go. We have big decisions that we want God’s advice on, but he doesn’t seem to hear us. We pray and pray and even listen for Him to speak, yet we are unable to hear him. Finally we get an answer but we’re not sure if it’s really God. Is this God leading me through his plan, or is this Satan trying to destroy me? So, here are 10 guidelines to help determine God’s will.
1. The will of God will never contradict what he has already said – the bible.
If we are facing a decision and don’t know where to go, one of the first things we do is read His Word. If we find scripture that goes against our direction, then it is not God’s will. What God has previously stated is more reliable than any feeling that says otherwise.
2. The will of God always involves the element of faith.
This is a big one. Sometimes God doesn’t give us clear cut instructions. We have to do what we think is right and continue to pray for his guidance and care. Other times we do get a clear cut answer from God, but it’s not the answer we wanted or expected. God may tell you not to do something that you really wanted to do, or he may even place you in a situation that makes you uncomfortable. All we can do is have faith in our Creator to be with us and lead us.
3. The will of God comes in steps.
God’s will may be overwhelming, but it will never come all at once. If there is a goal to be reached, it will take time and many other small goals to accomplish the main goal.
4. The will of God always draws you closer to other Christians.
God’s will always involves community. It is never God’s will for us to be isolated from other Christians. He knows that we cannot live without being held accountable or talking about things with others.
5. The will of God is always moral.
Our path should never involve immoral actions. If we are faced with things that require us to act immorally then we have gone wrong somewhere. Our conscience is helpful at times and can aid in making decisions for our present and future well-being.
6. The will of God may be dangerous.
This one is tough to swallow sometimes. Our instinct tells us not to get involved in potentially risky situations, but God may send us straight into the face of danger. Daniel’s encounter with lions was not particularly safe, yet he had faith in God to protect him. However, we won’t always be safe under God’s will. Paul was whipped and beaten for his faith in God. Know that the center of God’s will is not always safe.
7. It is always the will of God for someone to become a believer.
When we enter God’s will it is his plan for someone to believe in him. His main goal of using us is so that we may share the gospel with nonbelievers. He wants people to know of his love and mercy, and he will do that through us.
8. The will of God may involve a more experienced Christian.
Sometimes making decisions requires counsel from an older or more experienced Christian. Sometimes we may carry out God’s will with a more experienced believer. God’s purpose may be for us to become wiser by working with that person.
9. Knowing the will of God requires you to be free of unconfessed sin.
We cannot harbor our sins if we want to know his will. If we try to hide what we have done why would he trust us to carry out his will. Even though God already knows where we have failed, we must confess to him to restore our relationship. If we have a close relationship with God, then his plan may be clearer.
10. God usually calls people who are already active to do greater things.
For the most part, God calls his people to do his work. Sometimes God will pull off some crazy miracle where an inactive Christian completes his will; however, most times God reveals his plan to those who have a strong bond with him. He wants those who truly love and fear him to complete his will.
This will not fix all of your problems or answer all of your questions but it may help. When you have questions use these guidelines as a checklist to determine God’s will for your life. To me one of the hardest things is to determine God’s will, so I just trust in him and follow his word. Hopefully, this can help you rely on God to use you and direct you.