How can you know God’s will for your life?
It’s a simple but profound question asked by teenagers, young adults, and aging adults at every juncture of life. Where should I go to school? What should I major in? Who should I marry? What job should I take? Where should we live? What church should I go to? How should I raise my kids? When should I retire?
We often (and mistakenly) make many of these decisions based on our own gut feelings or logical conclusions. Marry the person who makes you happy. Go to the school that feels “right.” Take the job that pays the best. Live in a place that most convenient or the best investment. Attend the church that offers cutting-edge ministries. Retire as soon as possible. That’s God’s will, isn’t it?
If God has given us minds and souls, how does God’s will factor into our decision-making equation? When we believe that God’s will is our personal happiness, we won’t investigate past our own emotions and desires. We will decide that God’s will is mysterious and specific, and we’ll be frustrated, angry, and confused about what God wants for us and why bad things happen.
But—if God’s will is learning to walk in the perimeters he sets throughout the Bible, we can learn to avoid dangerous decisions or misinterpretation of his “rules.”
Why People Want to Know God’s Will
I recently guest-spoke via Zoom to a college girls’ Bible study. The girls hadn’t assigned me a speaking topic, so in the first few minutes, I threw out a few ideas and elaborated on each to see what resonated with the group. When I suggested “How to know God’s will,” pretty little faces on my screen began nodding excitedly.
“I just asked someone that question,” one girl said.
“I was just wondering today—how do I even know what God’s voice sounds like? How can I tell when he’s speaking to me?”
And so, we began to unpack that God has a will for the whole world and a will for each of us individually. We all want to know God’s will. Perhaps we desire to play an active role in his mission. Perhaps we’re afraid of messing up our lives. The truth is: anyone who claims to follow God or have a relationship with God must settle the mystery of knowing God’s will.
We each possess free will to make decisions, and yet God chooses to speak specifically to each of us and guide us in his plans when we’re willing to listen and follow him. God’s will comprises a beautiful blend of blessing, calling, trust, obedience, and adventure for anyone who believes what God says about himself and us.
Here are five questions to help you understand God’s will for your life and do it.
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