Earlier today I was engaged in a conversation with a non believer, and they had a question for me. In a nutshell, the question was basically: How do you know what God wants you to do?; How do you know the will of God? The question was not worded exactly like that; it was much more specific. The actual question had something to do with how I knew what sofa God wanted me to buy, or what He wants me to have for supper.  I really don’t know if the question was motivated by genuine curiosity, or just for the chance to pick my answer apart. Either way, however, the question is quite legitimate.

This post is my attempt to answer that question. Be forewarned, you will not find any deep theology here. Just basic Bible teaching combined with a certain amount of personal experience. At this point, I cordially invite readers to jump in with thoughts and comments on their thoughts on determining God’s will. Perhaps together we can answer this question more fully.

God’s will is not forced on us. We were created by God to possess free will. We are not God’s little puppets, with our strings being pulled by some cosmic puppeteer. Adam and Eve, and their fall in the Garden of Eden, illustrate this to us fairly clearly. They only had one restriction placed on them in that Garden. They were not to eat of the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That’s it. God had communicated this one will to Adam at some point. In Genesis Chapter 3, we can see the story of how Adam and Eve chose to violate this one restriction God had placed on them; we can see clearly that this choice was voluntary on their part.

God does have a will and a plan for each of us. God has a plan for us, before we are even born; additionally, God is in the details. No aspect of our lives is two small for God to have a plan and desire for. For instance, before he was even born, God planned and willed that Jeremiah be a prophet to Israel:

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

How into the details of our lives is God?

Luke 12:7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

What, then is God’s will for me?

First and foremost, God’s will is that you be saved. While we are in a lost condition, God has no will for us other than we be saved. Read the following:

Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Only repentance toward God and faith in The Lord Jesus Christ for salvation can restore our broken relationship with God so that we can then do His will for the rest of our lives. This post is not primarily designed to be a discourse on the plan of Salvation; please read my Jesus Paid it All Series  for full coverage of that topic.

Too know God’s will, we must be willing. Here are a couple of passages which stress the importance of relationship and willingness in regards to God directing our lives.

Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Psalms 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Pray, study and meditate. It is vital to our coming to an understanding of God’s will for us that we spend time in His Word, in prayer, and in thinking and meditating on what we read in His Word.

I like to think of prayer as us talking to God, and The Bible as God talking to us.

Prayer is our time alone with God, during which we can build fellowship and closeness with Him. And I don’t mean here our before supper, or in the church prayers. Those matter, but are not what I am talking about here. I mean the time in our “prayer closet,” when it is just us and God alone.

Time spent reading and meditating on The Bible reveal vast amounts of God’s will to us. We don’t need to seek guidance in some areas, because they are right there, in The Bible. For example, we don’t need to seek God’s guidance on whether we should run off with a person not our spouse; that particular subject would be crystal clear in Scripture! The key is, to understand God’s will as revealed in Scripture, we have to be IN scripture.

Okay, now what?

Here, honestly is where it gets dicey. We are not all the same, and God does not deal with us all the same. How we each come to understand God’ will is very personal and particular to each of us.

Does God care about what sofa we buy? Well, he certainly knows the best sofa for us. Does he want us to buy a particular one? Maybe, maybe not. Not being privy to all of God’s plans, I could not give an answer to that question.

Readers must be asking…great..great..but how do I KNOW? That depends on you, and how you relate to God personally. His guidance might be a door that opens; it might be a door that closes. It might be a burning desire on your heart to do a certain thing; on the other hand that could be just you wanting to do said thing. It might be the constant, nagging feeling that there is a particular thing you should be doing; this, in my experience, is particularly true concerning things I really didn’t want to tackle in the first place.

What is the bottom line, really? It’s all about relationship and willingness. We have to have a relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ; we have to have a daily relationship with Him through study and prayer; we have to be willing to listen to and execute His will for our lives.

For Readers

Readers: what do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts on this question that was asked of me.

For Non Believers

Okay..I get it. This is just so much hocus pocus and ooggity boogity. My answer will not make even a little bit of sense. Trust me, my non believing friends; it is truth. Want to know the will of God? Then accept Him. Repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ. There you have it. That’s His will, first and foremost. Do that, and I promise the rest will follow.