Knowing the will of God is one of the most important things we can seek in our Christian walk. The keys to knowing God’s will for decisions we make are twofold. First, we have to be sure what we are asking or considering is not forbidden in the Bible. Second, God’s ultimate will for us is always to glorify Him and help us grow spiritually. If what we want meets these two qualifications and we still don’t receive what we are asking for, then it is likely not God’s will for us to have what we are asking for. Or, perhaps we just need to wait a while longer for it.
Knowing God’s will in specific situations is sometimes difficult. People want God to tell them specifically what to do—where to work, where to live, whom to marry, etc. God rarely gives people information that direct and specific. But the key to knowing the will of God is found in Romans 12:1-2: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” This passage tells us that obedience to God is of utmost importance. We are to be “living sacrifices” to Him, offering everything we are and think and feel to Him, the essence of the greatest commandment—loving the Lord with all our heart, mind and strength (Matthew 22:37).
We also need to deliberately reject the voices that are contrary to His—”Do not be conformed to this world.” We will find it difficult to determine God’s will if we are so wrapped up in an ungodly culture that our thinking is warped. Paul explains that no one knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man (1 Corinthians 2:11-16). Believers have been given the Spirit of God, and He can teach us God’s thoughts and will. But we won’t be able to hear Him if our minds are filled with worldly concerns. To know the will of God, we should be so submitted to His Spirit that we can hear Him when He leads us.
Being able to determine God’s will in a situation is influenced by our effort to submit to Him and obey Him. But it’s also a matter of practice. We shouldn’t be so anxious to get it exactly right that we’re too paralyzed to act. God knows when we are trying and He is bigger than our mistakes. He can redeem anything we do wrong. And the simple act of growing closer to Him through obedience and prayer will reap rewards of its own.