Sometimes, I think that we tend to assume that the most important things about God’s will are the external things. The decisions we make about who to marry, what job to take, what house to buy, what school the kids should attend, etc… But it is my belief that those things, though important, are quite secondary in God’s eyes to the condition of our heart, our motives, our thought lives, our obedience to His Word, our faith, our trust in Him, and our abiding in Him.
I believe that as we invite God to purge and purify us of all sin and unbiblical thinking, as we yield ourselves to the Lordship of Christ, as we feast on His Word, as we enter into praise, thanksgiving, confession of sin, and praying for our spiritual growth and for the needs of others and ourselves – He will lead us in all these other things.
If we want to know God’s will about the things that are not in Scripture, first, we must make it our goal to know – and obey – the things that God clearly declares to be His will for us in the Word.
If we will not obey His will in areas where He has clearly stated His will, we will not be able to discern His voice in the other areas. He only shares more of His secret will with those who honor His revealed will in Scripture. But the amazing thing is, as we are willing to allow His Spirit to empower us to obey the things we can clearly see in the Bible, He allows us to hear His voice more and more clearly about all of the other decisions we face.
GEORGE MUELLER’S APPROACH
George Mueller, arguably, had one of the most powerful prayer lives in Christian history. He founded an orphanage in England in the 1800s for the primary purpose of displaying to Christians how God is able to provide for those who trust Him and obey Him. Over his lifetime, without ever asking any person for money, God provided for him to care for thousands of orphans. Check out a bit of his story here.
1.—I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s Will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
2.—Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
3.—I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
4.—Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God’s Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
5.—I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.
6.—Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.
WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE SAY?
God gives us many clear commands to help us know His will. This link shares a list of the commands of the New Testament. It is a great chart and resource.
(NOTE – I have not read all the other pages on the rest of this site, so I am not claiming to endorse anything else there. Thanks for understanding.)
Here are some examples of things that are clearly God’s will for us all as believers in Christ:
- Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim. 2:4
- Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matt. 22:36-40
- Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess. 5:18
- For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 1 Pet. 2:15
- For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality… 1 Thess. 4:3
- Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matt. 6:10
- He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
- But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matt. 6:33
Finding God’s Will – posts by John Piper