The outcome of your life, from a human point of view, will be the sum total of the decisions you make. God’s grace intervenes on behalf of those who are in Christ (his children), protects them from what they really deserve (separation from God and the full consequences of disobedience), and offers the provision of mercy (tender care though we do not deserve it).
Discerning God’s will involves walking in wisdom by applying God’s revealed truths to any given situation. Many times you will face situations that God’s Word does not directly address. How do you discern God’s will in these situations?
God’s Decreed Will, often referred to as his Sovereign Will, declares what will come to pass. We cannot change God’s Decreed Will and it will not be broken. God’s Preceptive Will, or Moral Will, is found in his law to guide us in wise living. When we break these commands, we experience misery and difficulty due to the consequences of sin.
Usually, when Christians refer to the will of God, they are referring to God’s individual and personal plan for each us. While God has a specific plan for our lives, we cannot know those specifics except through general guidance given from his revelation. The Bible does not tell us who to marry or if we should take a certain job. We are guided by God’s Word and strengthened by his Spirit to live by faith.
Often suffering and trials make us doubt if we are in the will of God or if God loves us. God’s will for us is to know him better (Eph. 1:17) and to learn to hope in him (glorify Him) regardless of our life circumstances. (Phil. 3: 7-11)
When you find yourself unsure about God’s will in a particular situation, here are a few things to consider:
First, surrender this circumstance and situation to the Lord, open your heart to him, and repent of seeking to control or demand any outcome from God. He who abandons himself to God will never be abandoned by God. (Luke 22:42, Luke 9:23, Matt. 6:33, Rom. 12:1-3)
Second, ask God to give you the wisdom and clarity you need to determine his direction and desire in this particular situation. (Matt. 7:7-8, James 1:5) Prayer is not perfunctory, but powerful to align our hearts with God’s desires. (Ps.37:4)
Third, seek counsel from God’s Word and from spiritual leaders in your church to guide you, and listen to their experiences and counsel. (Prov. 11:14, Prov. 15:22) Below are five biblical tests to guide you in seeking counsel from God’s Word.
Finally, step out in faith and take action based on testing the Lord’s guidance. While you must hold some decisions with an open hand, stepping out in faith is a way for God to direct you. Just as a parked car is more difficult to steer than a moving car, God directs us as we move out by faith. (Rom. 14:23, Rom. 12:3)
Proverbs 13:16 “Every Prudent Man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly.”
Five Biblical Tests to Consider When Seeking Wisdom for Decision Making
- The Promise Test—Psalm 32:8
What are the promises of God about this?
- The Principle Test—Psalm 1, Psalm 19:7-11, Romans 12:1-2
- The Purpose Test—1 Corinthians 10:31
Ask… “What would be most glorifying to God?” or “Can I glorify God in doing this?”
- The Partner Test—Proverbs 1:5, Proverbs 11:14
Identify two spiritual leaders or spiritual-minded friends who could give you wise biblical counsel.
- The Peace Test—Phil. 4:6-7
Are you experiencing inner peace concerning this decision? Wait 24-48 hours on any major decisions. Be free to ask God to confirm your desires and preferences, and if there are not obvious red flags, walk in peace that your preferences and desires are God’s desires for a given situation. (Psalm 37:4)
Learn more about the Will of God by watching the June 13, 2021 sermon, “Guided by the Will of God,” from Ephesians 5:15-18.