How Can I Know the Will of God?
March 28, 2015
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One question I am often asked as a pastor is, How will I know what God’s plan is for my life exactly? I share with people that God reveals His plan to us in many, many ways. Some folks live as though God never speaks to them, but He speaks to us in a thousand ways. He communicates His plan to us through the Bible. By reading the Word, we discover that the Lord’s will involves you and me:
- fleeing from sin (Matt. 4:17);
- living a holy life (1 Peter 1:16);
- forgiving those who have sinned against us (Matt. 6:14);
- loving others (Luke 10:27);
- growing in the knowledge of the truth (Col. 1:10);
- sharing our faith in the gospel (Matt. 28:19);
- taking care of widows and orphans (James 1:27);
- feeding the hungry and clothing the needy (Matt. 25:34– 40); and
- seeking justice for the oppressed (Isa. 1:17).
The Lord also communicates His plan to us through the Holy Spirit, counsel from other believers, lessons from experiences and failures, lessons we learn from watching others who’ve gone before us, every sunset, every rainbow, every hospital, every siren, every wave, every star. God trying to speak to you, trying to get your attention, trying to share His will with you. And, ultimately, God’s gift of His only Son—Jesus—was an attempt to speak to you, to communicate His plan and His love for you.
Sometimes God will speak to you in a small but audible voice that resonates within your heart. Throughout the Bible, we see how the Lord spoke directly to various people. He gave very specific information to Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, the prophets, and Jesus Christ. His voice was heard from heaven at Jesus’ baptism, announcing His love for and pleasure in His one and only Son (Matt. 3:16–17).
But we may not always hear from God so explicitly. I understand that this can be problematic for a world full of people searching for answers to important questions. When people ask me, “How do I know what God’s plan is for my life?” I have come to understand that this question generally can be translated to mean something more definitive, such as, “Where should I go to college?” “What should I do for a living?” “Whom should I marry?” “How do I solve this problem?” “What should I do in this particular situation?” or “How do I get out of this bad predicament?”
It’s our human nature to want to know the entire game plan for our lives—right now. But our job simply is to focus on one day at a time.
It’s our human nature to want to know the entire game plan for our lives—right now. But our job simply is to focus on one day at a time. That’s what Jesus told us to do, after all. He said in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Try this for a week: When you wake up each morning—before you leave your bed and before your feet touch the floor—pray earnestly, “Lord, what do you want me to do today?” Then spend a few minutes with your eyes closed, listening for the voice of God. See how faithful God is to answer you when you take the time to ask and to listen. He will let you know exactly what He wants you to do each day. It could be as general as “I want you to be a good steward of your time and talent at work today.” Or as specific as “Call this person and tell them you love them,” or “Forgive,” or “Stop by the coffee shop before work and buy breakfast for the homeless man you see every day.”
God has a plan, and He desires to share this plan with you. Ask Him. Take the time to listen. Wait for Him. If you don’t hear an answer right away, keep asking, seeking, and knocking until you hear from the Lord (Luke 11:9). You will be surprised by a whole new agenda—the Lord’s agenda—that will be revealed to you in time.