Sometimes it is so clear. Other times it seems impossible to figure out. I am talking about God’s will in any given situation. What should I do or not do? What pleases Him and what disappoints Him? Does He want me to choose door one, two or three? Is it under lid one two or three? I wish His will were easier to figure out.
One time Paul, the Apostle, wanted to do some mission work in Asia, but the will of God was revealed clearly, “having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.” (Acts 16:6) How the Holy Spirit communicated God’s will, I do not know but it was a clear message.
So Paul then decided to turn to an area called Bithynia, and the response was the same, “the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.” (Acts 16:7) Again, I have no idea how the Spirit revealed God’s will to Paul but it was again crystal clear.
In a third move God revealed just where he wanted Paul to go with His message.
“During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” (Acts 16:9-10)
Wouldn’t it be tremendous if God’s will for us was so clear, unmistakable, direct and understandable? Then maybe we would move into action as quickly as Paul did, but most of the time it is a struggle to know exactly what we should do, especially when it comes to crucial decisions in life or directions we are considering. Let me share with you very briefly the process I have developed in attempting to discern the will of God for any given situation. It is built on five key words.
Communicate often with the Lord about your ideas, thoughts and plans. Lay it all out to Him and hide nothing. Talk to Him about it every day. Let him know how serious you are about discovering His direction and wishes for your life. Don’t hold anything back. Tell and talk about it all.
Ask God to confirm your thoughts plans and directions in ways that are obvious that it is Him and not chance or coincidence. I believe that plans and desires that are pleasing to God will be confirmed by God in ways that only He could be responsible for. Look for confirmation.
Or maybe you can call it counsel. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Share your plans with some people that you trust and have shown sound spiritual judgment and ask for their honest response. And be willing to accept their insight. Make sure you seek out those who will be honest with you instead of those who will say just what you want to hear.
I believe this is the most difficult step to take. It involves other people in the decision making process. Many times we don’t want to know what other people think and we just do what we want to do. That is a set up for disappointment and failure. Bottom line, if you don’t want to consult spiritual advisors you don’t really want to know the best answer.
Jesus said before you undertake a major direction first count the cost. That means not just the financial cost but the emotional, physical, spiritual, social as well as the cost to your family. Put it all out on the table and be nakedly honest about the price of it all, choosing as well as not choosing.
Sorry, that’s not another “C” word but I didn’t have a good one to fit. I grew up on a chicken farm. Eggs, in order to hatch into baby chicks, had to go through an incubation period in which they were exposed to just the right conditions to birth the new chick. Major decisions need the same exposure time to these processes in order to settle on a decision that is pleasing to God. I guess what I am saying is, don’t rush the process. Give it time for God to reveal His direction in His time. Patiently wait.
So if you are looking for a quick fix on the will of God, I don’t have one. But I do have a process that I have learned to follow that has brought enormous direction to my life in a way that I believe is God directed. This process has saved me a lot of regret and second guessing when it comes to big decisions all because I gave the Lord plenty of time to reveal His will to me.