How Do I Find God’s Will?

Date: December 15, 2020

Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Ephesians 5:17

A certain woman wanting to join her church group going to Israel wondered if she should spend the money.  “God,” she prayed, “please give me a sign and show me what I should do.”  Placing the glossy brochure on her table beside the bed, she drifted off to sleep.  Waking the next morning, she noticed the digital clock read 7:47 AM.  “Didn’t the brochure say we were traveling on a Boeing 747?” she asked herself as she picked up the brochure for another look.

“Yes, that’s it!  That’s my sign,” she thought, quite convinced that she had, indeed, found the mind of the Lord in this decision.

Question: How do you find the mind of God when it comes to decisions?  Is it through coincidence, through dreams or visions, through a combination of circumstances or events, or by flipping a coin?  Others, however, are not at all certain that God really cares whether you visit Israel or take your money and invest in the stock market.

There is one thing for certain.  Each of us has a will of our own—a strong one, too.  You were born with it, and it takes only a few days—sometimes even hours–after you’ve made your entrance in the world to start exercising your will.  Your will is pitted against the will of your parents, and you quickly exert your desire to make your own decisions.

Before Christ came, finding God’s will was more difficult than it is today.  The psalmist of David’s day said that we are not to be like the horse or mule whose direction is subject to a bit and bridle (Psalm 32:9).  An animal who has a bit in its mouth learns very quickly that to exert its will against the will of the rider results in painful protest. The animal is no longer free to do as it pleases.  Refusing the will of the rider results in suffering discomfort or even outright pain.  The message here is that if you don’t follow God’s guidance, you’ll face the consequences.

When Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he instructed them not to be ignorant of God’s will but rather to understand what is His will.  Two words or concepts stand in opposition to each other: an ignorance of what God wants in contrast to an understanding of God’s will, which includes your mind and will.  The word Paul uses to describe a lack of understanding is a strong one.  It means ignorant, or—in the vernacular—just plain stupid.  It’s like ignoring a road map because you are too proud to admit you don’t know where you are going, refusing to look at a compass thinking that you can figure out where to go and what to do without any help.

A final thought: When you become a parent for the first time, you quickly learn that parenting is eighteen years of sometimes gently and sometimes forcibly struggling to determine who is going to be in charge—you or your child.  And the same thing applies to you and your Heavenly Father.  God’s will is better than yours because He knows the end from the beginning. He also knows what’s around the corner, the hidden hazards you can’t see, and He’s far more interested in your doing His will than even you are.

The word Paul uses when he talks of understanding God’s will means you use your brain, you think and evaluate.  It’s a head decision—not an emotional or heart decision.

In His Word, the Bible, God has given us a blueprint, a roadmap, a compass, and a game plan for life. Most of our failures when it comes to understanding what God wants of us come because we make emotional decisions rather than rational ones based on the direction He has given to us through this book.  You can find His will when you seek it, and you can be sure that when you do, you will know, no matter what the digital clock may read.

Resource reading: Ephesians 5:1-18.