In Part 1 of this blog, I described my confusion and frustration over trying to decipher God’s will for my life in a situation when I was a young man. It’s been nearly 50 years since that incident and the Lord has walked me through a lot of decisions since then.
Please allow me to share with you some of the “Ah ha’s” I’ve had in determining God’s will for one’s life.
- A wrong view of God leads to a wrong
understanding of how we discern His will for our lives. That day on the
Oregon coast when I was so confused, I was behaving as though God was hiding
His will from me and that I had to somehow wheedle it out of Him. That thinking
is so messed up! God loves you and me and wants us to know His will even more
than we do and He wants to reveal it to us.
- God has already shared most of His will with
us in His Word. Remember that verse in Ephesians 5:17, “Don’t be foolish
but understand what the will of the Lord is”? What Paul was telling the
Ephesian believers is that God has already told us most of what we need to know
to do His will. It’s in His Word, the Bible. Check out the rest of that letter
to the Ephesians, or Paul’s letter to the Colossians and note all that God has already
- Pray and ask God what to do in specific situations
that are important but not dealt with in the Scriptures. Obviously, we each
face decisions that are not explicitly covered in the Bible. But in it there
are clear examples when men and women went to the Lord for guidance and we can
follow their example. See 1 Samuel 30:1-8 and Acts 16:6-10.
- Learn to listen to the promptings of the Holy
Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:10-16 explains the work of the Holy Spirit in our
lives as He reveals to us the mind of Christ. This is not a mystical, eerie
sort of communication. We live in relationship with Christ. He sent His Holy
Spirit into our lives and He is with us right now. What I’m describing is no
less than a deep relational understanding that grows as we get to know Him
- Seek wise counsel. Sometimes we need to
ask others for advice on a certain matter. The best advice comes back to us
from God’s Word or His Spirit, however. There have been times when I’ve asked
for counsel in a situation when I already knew what God wanted me to do. There
have been other times when I went against the counsel of others also because I
knew what God wanted me to do. The Ephesians 5:17 passage puts it negatively,
“Don’t be foolish.” But a few verses earlier in 15 tells us to live wisely.
- What to do when others make decisions for us.
Soon after that incident in Oregon, I received a letter from Uncle Sam
instructing me to report to the Federal Building on such-and-such a date to
report for duty in the US Army. I had been drafted. My number was 23. It was
1971 and the war in Viet Nam was still raging. I remember reading that letter
and asking God, “Okay, Lord, I wonder what You have in store for me in the
I spent three years in the Army as a German Linguist in Berlin. God grew me in my relationship with Him during those years and He used me to influence others in their walk with Christ. I’m still in touch with some of my Army buddies!
Accept situations over which you have no control as from the Lord and step into them expecting Him to use those experiences in your life. And as you do, live for Him and make the most of your experience.
- Not every decision requires a word from God. God doesn’t care whether you eat beef or chicken tonight. Generally, it doesn’t matter to Him which shoes you wear to work, or what chair you sit in at church. God is often more concerned about our response to a situation or within an experience than the choice itself.
If you’re a checklist type of person, these three questions might help you in your decision-making:
- To what extent will this decision glorify
God? Notice how this question is worded. Sometimes we rationalize a
decision by saying, “I’m not doing anything wrong.” This question takes it to a
- How will it impact others? We need to be
concerned for others—not so much what they’ll think of us (unless it damages
our witness), but will it help others grow closer to Christ? Will it serve
others? Does it demonstrate Christ’s love for them?
- What are the long-term implications of this decision for your life? For instance, you may be able to afford that car payment now, but how about three or five years from now? What might that debt prevent you from being able to do later?
The bottom line is that God loves us and wants us to know His will. Trust Him. Expect Him to reveal His will to you. If you don’t hear a clear word from God regarding a decision, perhaps you should postpone your decision until you do. “Don’t be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:17)
©2019 Rob Fischer