How to Know God’s Will For Your Life
Aug 26, 2014 2006
Like many of us, at various stages in my life, I have been consumed by the desire to know God’s will for my life. And over the years I have read a lot of articles, and quite a few books written on the topic as well.
This is a very important question when we are at key decision-points in our lives, such as when choosing a life partner. Seeking to do God’s will is important, so that our decisions can be blessed by God.
But just how healthy is it really, to try to precisely pinpoint God’s will in every decision – in big decisions and in little ones?
I have my own stories of how God has clearly led me in major decisions (see my video testimony on the GNU website of how God brought me to GNU). You may also have your own stories of how God showed you how he wanted you to do. However, these seem to always be the exceptions, and not the rule.
For almost 30 years I was in jobs, where I actually wasn’t certain that they were what God wanted me to be doing. At least I couldn’t really see the sense in them. The same is true for a lot of the education I went through. It’s only now as I look back that it all seems to start to make sense as part of God’s overarching plan. And I dare say that for some faithful Christians, it may never seem to come together this side of eternity.
For some people, the suffering that their lives will take them through will seem to obscure any sense of the will of a loving God. And they will simply hold on to God in faith, as all they have.
For decades, the question of how to know God’s will baffled me. I spent far too long pondering this question. As I reflect on it now, the idea that we can know God’s will for our lives with any precision seems, in most cases, quite presumptuous.
There’s a whole lot of Bible texts I could quote about the will of God, and a whole lot of theological-type books have been written about it. I am just going to distil here what I have learnt through my walk with God and my walk through life:
- The way to know God’s will for your life is to know that he has a will for your life. In other words, the most important this is not to actually know God’s will, but to surrender to it. Often, the energy we spend trying to know God’s would be better spent committing ourselves totally to Christ. At the end of your life the knowledge that you have walked with God will be far more important than the knowledge that you actually understood God’s will. Because when you have walked with God, wherever you have been, you can be certain that you have ben walking according to His will.
- Following God’s will is not just something that happens. We must prepare in every way – including in terms of our spirit development, our finances, and our skills and education – to be used by God. In other words our time and abilities and resources must be dedicated to God.
- When you surrender to God’s will, He will lead you through the pathways of life in a way that honours him, according to His will. This means that you will naturally do what God wants you to do, even without knowing it. This is what the Bible means when it says, “in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” – Prov 3:6. When you do this, God may take you down some pretty strange paths at times, but they will be straight paths, and I would rather walk in straight paths rather than crooked paths. They will be paths that are according to His will. Your decisions will be blessed by God. And even if you decided differently, that alternate decision will still be blessed by God.
- No matter the course of your life, its twists and turns, its highlights and lowlights, only eternity will reveal to you how your life fitted into the grand universal mosaic of God’s love. For now we will simply trust in God and serve Him.
- Certainly pray for God to reveal His will to you in the great decisions of life, and rejoice when He does. But I have found that often, God leads through our own decisions, when we have submitted our wills to him.
Very simply put: If the prayer of our lives is “Your will be done,” it will be.