On the other hand, sometimes we can feel guilty for being born in America—the land of opportunity. But we need to remember that God providentially arranged where we would be born (Acts 17:26-27). So if you find yourself in an affluent, comfortable, or influential situation, then consider how you can advance God's kingdom program in ways that others without your privileges or status could not (e.g., we can create an awareness of how God is working globally and how Christians can get involved). However, just because we encounter suffering, adversity, or persecution, don't immediately interpret these as reasons to change course. Sometimes, we must courageously trim our sails and head directly into the wind. The Christians in 1 Peter and Hebrews 11 are a testimony to this reality and serve as our courageous examples.

So as you seek the will of God for your life, employ the principles in this chapter. Be open to whatever God has for you and always live life for His glory, not your own (1 Cor. 10:31). If you have this attitude, you can't go wrong.

The Big Ideas

• Since there are no formulas for discovering the will of God, we ought to utilize biblical principles. The ones we explored in this chapter were (1) consult the Word of God; (2) cultivate a heart for God; (3) pray for God's wisdom and leading; (4) seek good advice and wise counsel; (5) examine your motives; (6) use your head; (7) believe that God is at work in the circumstances of life; and (8) be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

• Following the will of God in America comes with its own opportunities and challenges that we need to be aware of.

Originall posted May 1, 2008.

Excerpted from
Welcome to College: A Christ-follower's Guide to the Journey by Jonathan Morrow (Kregel Publications). Copyright 2008 by Jonathan Morrow. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Jonathan Morrow spent his college years at a large state school. In between classes and hanging out with friends, he ministered to fraternities and sororities and served in Campus Crusade for Christ. Jonathan recently completed graduate work at Biola University in Los Angeles. His considerable experience interacting with students prepared him to equip students for what they will encounter in their formative undergraduate year. Jonathan lives with his wife and son in Tennessee.

For Further Discovery

Blackaby, Henry T., and Claude V. King. Experiencing God: How to Live the Full Adventure of Knowing and Doing the Will of God. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1994.

Issler, Klaus. "Communication: Hearing the God Who Speaks." Chap. 6 in Wasting Time with God: A Christian Spirituality of Friendship with God. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001.

Robinson, Haddon W. Decision-Making by the Book. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1991.

Smith, M. Blaine. Knowing God's Will: Finding Guidance for Personal Decisions. 2nd ed. Downer s Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1991.

Swindoll, Charles R. The Mystery of God's Will: What Does He Want for Me? Nashville: Word, 1999.

Willard, Dallas. Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999.

Article Footnotes:

6. Dallas Willard, Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 28.

7. Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King, Experiencing God: How to Live the Full Adventure of Knowing and Doing the Will of God (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1994), 117-27. 

8. Since God's Spirit is our Helper and Counselor, I don't find it unreasonable that He would lead us by internal means at times in life (cf. John 14-17).

9. Does God still speak today? Absolutely! Is God speaking new Scripture? No! Nothing more is needed; the Bible is complete and sufficient. So any word from the Lord or vision or dream (God clearly still uses these mediums here in America and around the world) needs to be tested against Scripture. And if God leads you to tell someone something, then do so tentatively in a spirit of obedience. God may lead you individually in a certain way, but this is not binding for the community of Christians and does not carry the same authority as Scripture. Now admittedly, this is sometimes messy. But the experiences of Christians throughout history testify to God's leading.