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Knowing God's Will

Is knowing God's will only reserved for the mystic?

Watercolor painting of a landscape with a tree and a lone figure in the middle ground.
Seek, and You Will Find, Watercolor on Yupo, Sara Joseph

Some Christians are skeptical that God's specific will is knowable and not shrouded in mystery. A sincere desire to please Him is undoubtedly at the heart of every believer.

When the costly magnitude of my salvation dawned on me, I felt inadequate to express my gratitude to Jesus. To seek and execute His will to the best of my ability seemed a fitting response of thanksgiving! I'm not suggesting that I'm excellent at the task, but at least my intentions lean in that direction. I'm sure that yours do too, or you wouldn't bother reading this page.

Isn't it interesting that the subject of seeking God's will usually comes up when there is a grave decision ahead? We come to a fork in the road and must know which bend to confidently embark on. In the absence of such pressure, we remain somewhat unconcerned about His specific will. We blithely assume that the path we are on is the one intended for us. But that may not be so!

I'd like the process of knowing God's will to be as plain as a map. I'd prefer the destination points to be clearly marked, as well as all the stops along the way! Perhaps, like me, you crave the "Google-Maps" version of God's will with details of Satellite and Street View laid bare en route to our destination!

Instead, the process of discerning His will, and the specifics of walking it out, may feel as confusing as trying to navigate in dense fog. As artists, we yearn for clarity and feel restless when there is ambiguity.

God's will is not ambiguous, but it does require faith.

For the big scheme of life, His will is clearly stated in the Bible. He draws people to Himself, redeems, restores and mends broken lives, causing generation after generation to know that He can be trusted, if they follow His will. He went to great lengths to articulate and protect His intentions in its pages, despite innumerable attempts at eradication.

Besides the big picture, He gave us His Holy Spirit for the mundane activities of daily living. With infinite patience He will encourage us when we despair, nudge us when we stray, warn us of danger ahead...

Yielding to His gentle voice and promptly obeying will ensure that we stay in the center of His will. His will is only veiled to those who are hostile to His purposes. Would it make sense that if I was eager to do His will, He would hide it and not make it plain? Of course not! Those who approach God with the sincere desire to find Him will not be disappointed.


"But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6 KJV


These are a few conclusions about knowing God's will for my own life that I've made. Perhaps they'll prove helpful to you.

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure." Philippians 2:13 KJV

  • God cares that I understand His will far more than I do. What a relief!

  • He always initiates the process of revealing His will. I only have to co-operate by yielding to Him.

  • Confusion regarding His will comes from only one of two sources—Satan, or my own conflicting will. That may sound simplistic, but it is the truth.

  • Knowing God's will is being certain of both our present path and the correct bend in the road on which to boldly tread.

I found confidence and peace when I broke down the process into the following steps.

  • Confess and repent of all known and unknown sin. God only reveals Himself to those who acknowledge His holiness. Forgiveness is assured to those who accept the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

  • Pray in the Spirit and empty yourself of your own preferences. Have none. Be neutral about all your choices. Don't yearn fervently for one choice, while dreading another.

"And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to [the will of] God." Rom 8:27 KJV

  • Affirm your trust in Him and commit to obeying His leading. Where He leads you is best for you.

"Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring [it] to pass." Proverbs 37:5 KJV

  • Always back up your leading, or impression, with the Word of God. He is consistent and will never lead you contrary to His written word. If you do not have a specific Word to anchor your soul, you are treading on dangerous ground. Feelings lie and form no basis for knowing God's will. Anxiety or fear will deceive.

  • Take the time to wait for the peace of God to flood your soul with the certainty that your next step is His perfect will for you.

"Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established." Proverbs 16:3 KJV

I don't want to leave you with the impression that God's will for me has always been easy to stomach. Sometimes every fiber of my being would rebel against it. It was frequently easier to argue, sulk, or do anything, except what He wanted me to do!

However, a growing sense of disquiet stirs within me, when I know His will and disregard it. The longer I fight obedience, the more uncomfortable I get. Quickly recognizing my rebellion and repenting helps me get back on track!

The rewards of living out His will are not only exciting, but unimaginable at the time of making the conscious choice to obey! I'll be the first to admit that rewards motivate and inspire me. I testify to some amazing, unexpected rewards along the away—not necessarily material, often just the thrill of knowing that He is pleased!

The process of listening to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit and obeying need not be time consuming or complex. The more you listen and obey, the clearer His voice becomes. Can't you recognize every nuance, pitch and timber of the voice on the phone of a loved one, from the very first "Hello"?

You too will come to instantly recognize the voice of the Lord, if you repeatedly yield to Him.

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