Discerning God’s Will

“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” Romans 8:6

People often ask me, “Pastor, how can I know God’s will … ?” My response, “It’s not as hard as it seems. Here are five principles to help you discern God’s will.”

  1. Turn to God’s Word. God speaks to us in and through His Word. As you go about your daily Bible reading ask God to illuminate His Word so that it speaks directly into your situation. Time and again God has given me direction with a verse or verses of Scripture. It’s as if they jump off the page and in their own way say, “This is My will. Now walk in it.”
  2. Gather counsel and advice from mature believers. In Proverbs 10:13 we’re told that “wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning” and in Proverbs 10:31 it reinforces the fact that “the mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom.” So seek out Christians who will lovingly and honestly be committed to your spiritual well-being. As it says in Proverbs 11:14, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisors make victory sure.”
  3. Ask God to open or close the door. When we trust God with our lives He will be the doorkeeper. Revelation 3:7 says, “What he opens, no one can shut; and what he shuts, no one can open.” Thus we discern God’s will through His control of our circumstances. Time and again I’ve simply prayed, “Lord if this is what you want me to do then open the door so that I can do it. But if it isn’t, then shut the door so that I can move onto what you want me to do.”
  4. Seek the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. When God reveals His will He always gives us peace of mind. The Spirit within us confirms the decision. Romans 8:6 says, “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”
  5. Act in faith. Don’t vacillate. With the above four principles in place, make sure that once you’ve discerned God’s will you act on what you know. Failure to do so is sin. As we’re reminded in James 1:5-8, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”

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