Many Christians sometimes find it difficult to determine God’s will for their lives in certain situations. Times when you don’t find a clear direction can be very confusing and frustrating. God gave Moses the burning bush, he showed his will to Gideon with the fleece, and he spoke to Saul with thunder and lightening. When he does this for us, it’s easy to understand God’s guidance. But he seldom does it this way. To truly find God’s will for our life we often must step out in faith. This can be scary, but we need to realize God is there beside us and he will not allow us to stray as long as we trust in him. Proverbs 3:6 promises us, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Psalm 37:23 tells us, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord….” And Isaiah 30:21 informs us, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” God’s word plainly is saying that God will help us find his direction, but how does he do it?
I believe God reveals his will to us in two or three stages. Initially, we may get a feeling of direction from God from different sources:
1. Prayer. In order for God to speak to us, we need to be in his presence listening for his voice. As we spend time in prayer, we may sense God’s leading in our lives.
2. His word. God speaks to us through his written word as we study and meditate upon his holy scripture.
3. Circumstances. Many times God will cause doors to open, or others to close. If we are walking in obedience to him, we have to assume that events in our life are ordered by God. They don’t just happen by chance. Maybe the reason why a door has opened up to us is that God wants us to go through it!
4. Our heart. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will minister to our spirit and reveal God’s plan for us. We will have an assurance deep in our heart. We will feel God’s voice guiding us.
5. Others. God can use other believers to bring us his direction. Sometimes we will be singing a song in church, or we will be reading a Christian book, or hear the Pastor’s message, or one of our friends will say something that will show us God’s will. God can reveal his direction to us through any of these five ways. But even when he does, it’s sometimes difficult to discern that what we sense or feel is truly God’s plan for our lives. Jesus said in Matthew 18:16, “…by the word of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” Jesus is here quoting Deuteronomy 19:15, “…by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.” I believe this is a good principle to follow in trying to figure out God’s plan for you. Initially, you get the direction from one of the five ways mentioned above, but now God will confirm his plan to you in the mouth of two or three witnesses: in other words: one or two more things will confirm God’s direction for you. When you see this confirmation, then you will know it’s time to step out in faith. There have been times in my life when I simply had to take that first step of faith, and when I did, God confirmed his plan for me as I went. You may sense God asking you to do this, but remember, God understands our human weakness. If we sincerely seek him and are willing to obey his word, he will usually affirm his will for us in other ways.
He confirms his direction for us the same way he revealed it to us in the first place — through one of these five ways:
1. Prayer. We need to seek God in prayer. Luke 11:9-10 promises, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” If we truly seek God’s will, we will find it.
2. His word. Sometimes while we’re struggling for God’s guidance, a scripture that we are reading will seem to pop out at us confirming which way God wants us to go. Psalm 119:105 tells us, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Allow God’s word to illumine your pathway.
3. Circumstances. Events will sometimes indicate God’s direction for us. Paul wrote about such a circumstance in his life in 2 Corinthians 2:12, “Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord.” As you are seeking God’s direction, events may establish what you have already felt God telling you to do.
4. Our heart. God will sometimes speak to our heart. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would help guide us in John 16:13, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” Just like Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-12, we need to be listening for God’s still small voice speaking to our soul.
5. Others. Many times when we are struggling with indecision, God will use others to affirm his will. Sometimes a song will speak to us, or God will use the Pastor’s message. Many times a friend will speak to us and, not realizing our struggle, will speak words of encouragement which will help solidify our decision for the Lord. Other times someone on the radio, or a book will proclaim God’s answer to us. God uses his whole church body to minister to one another. Colossians 3:16 instructs us, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” God will speak to us whether it’s the word of Christ, or wisdom, or teaching, or admonishing, or songs, or grace in our hearts. God will confirm his will in our lives.