How Do I Know God’s Will?

Have you ever had trouble discerning God’s will? You pray, but don’t receive a clear answer? I think most of us have experienced this.

Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (Jn. 10:27 NASB). Romans 8:14 says the Holy Spirit leads God’s children. And the Holy Spirit will lead us into truth (Jn. 16:13). But at times I doubt my ability to hear.

I fear the static of my own distractions, others’ strong opinions, and the enemy’s taunts will drown out God’s still small voice. Here are some principles that have helped me.

  1. What does Scripture say about this?

Jesus’ will for me never contradicts the principles He’s already revealed in His Word. We simplify our lives when we live by what God has said in the Bible. For example, when we know the Scriptures, we won’t have to wrestle with questions like, “Should I form a business partnership with someone who is talented but dishonest or date someone who doesn’t follow Christ?”

  • “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
  • “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).
  1. Does this line up with God’s good character?

The Pharisees claimed to follow God’s word, yet Jesus said, “If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” (Matthew 12:1-8). They had twisted the “perfect law of liberty” into a shackle.

Satan bends Scripture to tempt, accuse, and condemn us as he did when he tempted Jesus. For example, I didn’t want to do something someone wanted me to do. But when I thought of saying no, Joshua 1:9 played through my mind, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”(NIV).

Satan bends Scripture to tempt, accuse, and condemn us as he did when he tempted Jesus. #discernment Click To Tweet

Instead of infusing me with courage, the message condemned me conveying, “If you were strong and courageous, you’d do this.”

Psalm 119:160 reminds us that the sum of God’s word is truth. Satan and his pawns can wield snippets of Scripture at us like a club. When I recognized the tone of this taunt I knew immediately that it did not come from my Shepherd.

The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Even when God points out sin, He leads us to repentance and life, whereas condemnation from our foe leads to feeling hopeless, paralyzed, and distant from God (2 Cor. 7:10). The Bible promises there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)!

  1. Does it line up with God’s work in my life?

God creates a desire in the heart of His child for His will (Psalm 37:4). As I walk with Him, He motivates me to want His will for my life (Philippians 2:13). That doesn’t mean I won’t face fear or dread. We are in a spiritual battle which also involves deceitful desires. But in spite of this, the Spirit is always at work in us.

What desire keeps playing in your heart that is consistent with God’s word and character, even if it’s unconventional?

  1. Have I prayed in faith?

Before I ask for guidance, I sometimes have to ask God to make me willing to do His will and to create a desire in me for His best. As I regularly renew my mind with His Word, I’m transformed so that I begin to want His will more than my own because I am able to see that His will is always better in the long run than my short-sighted desires (Romans 12:1-2).

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8 NIV).

Before I ask for guidance, I sometimes have to ask God to make me willing to do His will and to create a desire in me for His best. #Godswill, #direction Click To Tweet
  1. Do I need God to search me?

The answers to these four questions have helped me when I’ve felt confused. God doesn’t hide His will from those who seek Him. If God seems silent it may be He’s left the options open for us to choose. Or it may be we’ve discounted His will in another area.

If God is still silent, ask Him to search you and show you if you are living in disobedience in any area (Psalm 139:23-24). He is under no obligation to give insight to those who disregard what He’s already revealed.

We can trust Him to guide us when we seek Him. Will I trust Him to keep His promise?

Add your comments here.



When You Don’t Like God’s Plan

What Does God Want You to Do?

Are You Trying to Straighten What God’s Made Crooked?

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Sometimes I link with these great sites:

Tea &Word Tuesday, #Kelly Balarie & Friends#Recharge Wednesday, #Coffee for Your Heart, #TuneinThursaday, #HeartEncouragment #Dance with Jesus, #FreshMarketFriday, #Grace&Truth, #Faith ‘n Friends

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  1. Ann Musico

    As always, Debbie, just beautiful and a perfect reminder at just the right time.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, I appreciate you! Thanks so much.

  2. Carol E

    Hi Debbie. Great and thought provoking message. I plan to give time and thought and prayer over your question that begins “What desire keeps playing in your heart ……”. I’m 74 and have our 22year old granddaughter still living with us. She doesn’t want to talk about spiritual matters. She was diagnosed late with type 1 diabetes and has an on-again-off-again unsaved boyfriend who also was diagnosed late with type 1 diabetes, Giving much of my devotion to her , not to mention time and money, sometimes gives the enemy a foothold to confuse me on the topic of what God”s will is in my life and to question not only if I am following it but have I ever even fulfilled it? I need to remember much scripture like Joshua 1:9 every day. I believe we are living in the end times so the battle is getting greater every day and the enemy ‘s strength is being increased in part due to those who are not even thinking about God’s will. Thank you for this timely message. Love, Carol E.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Carol, we’re called to love. Sometimes it is confusing as to what helps someone in the longrun. I have found Henry Cloud’s books Boundaries and Necessary Endings to be helpful. So good to hear from you.

  3. Joanna Eccles

    Thanks for the reminders that when asking God’s willing, first we have to be willing to obey. One passage I turn to for wisdom to see if what I think I want conforms to Scripture is James 3:13-18, where James contrasts earthly wisdom with God’s wisdom. It helps me to run my ideas past the test there in Scripture because it examines my motives.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Joanna, that is a wonderful passage to check our our motives with. Thanks for sharing.

  4. J.D. Wininger

    Amen Ms. Debbie! Sometimes we need to let God prepare us for the answer He wants to give us. We must first be able to accept His answer. Well said ma’am.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, J.D.

  5. Melissa Henderson

    Love your messages Debbie! You always encourage and inspire. Thank you for these reminders to go to God first and see if what I am desiring is in accordance with Him.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Melissa. I always enjoy hearing from you.

  6. Laurie

    Beautifully written, Debbie. I have trouble discerning what is God’s will and what is MY will at times. I love the advice that you give – ask if it lines up with God’s good character.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Laurie. I also have trouble discerning what I sense is right from the strong opions around me. Sometimes I have to have quiet before I know.

  7. Rebecca Jones

    I agree some question have obvious answers, however, I am alo finding out he blinds believers to many things, like you say bending Scripture.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Always good to hear from you, Rebecca.

  8. Leslie

    Thank you for unpacking this topic for us today and pointing us to Biblical truth and God’s character – two guideposts that keep us facing in the right direction.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Leslie!

  9. Maree Dee

    I loved your thoughts on God’s will. My big one to tackle is my willingness. Thank you for sharing with Grace & Truth Link-Up

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Maree Dee!

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