How can we know what the will of God is for our lives? Here are five clear things about the revealed will of God.
God’s Will and Ours
When we pray, we must pray for God’s will above our own since His will is perfect and our will is less than perfect, besides, wouldn’t you want God’s will rather than your own for your life? God sees the future, having been there and back, and He knows what’s best for us. When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, He included the fact that we must pray to the Father, that “your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). God’s will is revealed in the Bible in several places. And we also know that it is God’s will that Jesus’ name be glorified and that none should perish (2nd Pet 3:9), so that should drive us to do good works for Jesus’ glory, not ours, and to be used by God as a means to save some. Those are clearly God’s will.
Discerning the Will of God
A believer is better equipped to discern the will of God when they’re not conformed to this world, but rather, are transformed by a renewed mind. The Apostle Paul tells us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2). A renewed mind doesn’t “think of himself more highly than he ought to think” (Rom 12:3), and will “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom 12:10), and love shows up when you “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality” (Rom 12:13). You can discern much of will of God by reading the Word of God. Regarding His hidden will, we have no business asking, because “The secret things belong to Yahweh our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deut 29:29).
Knowing God’s Will
We should all understand that living a life that pleases God, and like not living in the flesh, is the will of God, so God’s will is not something He hides from us or some mystery we must figure out. He doesn’t drop clues out of heaven, but it is by His Spirit and by His Word that we can find the will of God for our lives. Here’s how the Apostle Peter puts it: “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1st Pet 2:16-17), and Peter personally urges believers, “as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1st Pet 2:11-12).
Accepting God’s Will
If Jesus had not accepted God’s will, we would still be in our sins, and we’d die in our sins, and that means the wrath of God would abide on us for eternity, so doing God’s will, even though painful, must always be done. Did you realize that Jesus prayed three times in the Garden to have this cup pass, but in the end, He submitted to the Father’s will, even knowing what it would mean, and still managed to pray, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42b). That’s total submission to the Father’s will. Jesus knew what was coming. He knew the Scriptures and the vivid portrayal of the vicious and brutal beating He would take (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53), wo when you can pray for God’s will and accept His will, even though it brings about a lot of suffering, God is highly pleased.
Giving Thanks is God’s Will
Christians give thanks to God for all of the good things He’s done, and that’s a lot, but it’s actually God’s will for us to be thankful at all times, no matter what the circumstances are. This calling of ours is a calling to a life of contentment. Those who grumbled in the wilderness fell by the way side, but we must learn contentment, and what better way to learn it than to go through some very difficult circumstances. The Apostle Paul had lived through hunger, thirst, cold, heat, beatings, imprisonment, and even a shipwreck, but he could still say, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Phil 4:11), and he wrote from experience, writing, “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need” (Phil 4:12), so how did Paul learn to be contentment? What was his secret so that we can know? He says in the very next verse, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). This also means we can do nothing without Christ (John 15:5).
It’s difficult to know the will of God where the Bible is silent on specific things like, should I take the job, should we move to this city, should I get married to this person, or other such critically important decisions we make in life, but the best way to know the will of God is to read the Word of God because God’s will is most clearly revealed in His Word, and when you are reading the Word of God, the Spirit of God can help you make tough decisions. I would suggest you seek counsel from an older, more experienced Christian who may have made that decision years ago, but also try to spend a lot of time in prayer. When we make decisions without thinking about the will of God and reading the Word of God and speaking to people of God, we can end up out of the will of God, and we all know, that leads to no place good.