Knowing God’s will for your life can seem elusive. At times it feels as if there is some magical formula or secret code hidden from the woman who wants to know what to do or how to do it. But it’s not really like that in reality. The Word of God is instructive, guiding the reader to understand and make spiritual progress in the will of God for her life.
Sometimes Knowing God’s Will is a Straight-Up Answer
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:40
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 1 Thessalonians 4:3
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 2 Peter 2:15
This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4
This is just a sampling of what the Bible says using the words will of God. There are many other passages that assume it by giving a directive or using other similar language. The point is that God’s will for our lives is not as distant or cagey as it seems.
Problems Discerning and Knowing God’s will
One problem is that we, as a population, are not familiar enough with the Word of God to know this reality. The latest statistics (from the Barna Group) tell us about one out of every six adults reads the Bible most days. That leaves a lot of people who read a few times per year. One certainly can’t expect to know God’s will without being in God’s Word. Unless you and I are deep in the Old Testament, and thoroughly in the New, will miss what He clearly intends us to know and embrace for our lives.
Another issue often rises to the surface. There exists a duel between our desires for what we want God’s will to be in our lives and God’s actual will. It’s as if we approach Him as someone we can manipulate into doing what we want. Maybe it’s a good thing. It may even be a godly endeavor. But neither of these qualifiers enables us to bend the will of God to our own. He remains sovereign even over the details of our lives.
The Gift for Knowing God’s will from Paul
One approach you and I can take in knowing God’s will for our lives comes from Paul. In his letter to the church at Colossi, he wrote to them about what he was praying over them and why.
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Colossians 1:9-12
When I read that the Apostle Paul was praying for those with whom he ministered, I believe it is there for a reason. And that reason is you and me and every other reader before us and hereafter. God saw fit to place these specific prayers in the Bible so that we might benefit. I am not wise enough or Christlike enough to know how to pray for myself or others. What a gift to preserve these specific needs for us as well as the purpose in relying on God to meet them.
No matter what the specifics are in your quandaries about the purpose and direction for your life, we share this same desired end: to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. Therefore, we, too, should ask to be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Today, this is the very thing I aim to do, my friend, over you.
A Prayer for Knowing God’s Will
Thank you for Your Word. I pray that my friend reads it, desires it, and learns from it more tomorrow than she did today. Open her mind and heart to what You might say to her. And tender her to Your desires for her life, over her own. Fill her with the knowledge of Your will for her in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Show her how much You care for her. Then draw her to Yourself more and more as You reveal who You are to her and what Your purposes are for her life.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.
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