No series of blog posts is going to say all that needs to be said about knowing God’s will. I hope, however, that our basic assumptions, and the Biblical examples of Abraham and his servant will be instructive. We conclude with some practical advice on how to know God’s will.
First, know the Scriptures. Good decisions reflect God’s revealed will. In order to make good decisions, then, we must become familiar with the Scriptures. Whatever it takes, we must maintain the discipline of privately and regularly reading the Scriptures. Though this is important, there are other ways we learn from the Scriptures too. We should eagerly participate in family devotions, listen attentively to our pastor’s sermons, read good books, listen to mp3 sermons—anything that will help us to become more familiar with the Word of God.
Second, pray. The Lord Jesus taught us to pray: “Our Father which art in heaven… thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). He Himself prayed a similar prayer in Gethsemane (Luke 21:42). The Apostle Paul prayed, immediately following his conversion, “What wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6). Paul later told the Colossians that he was praying that they “might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (1:9). We should be praying similarly, that we would know God’s will in order to do God’s will.
Third, seek godly counsel. God gave us families, pastors, churches, and Christian friends for a reason. The book of Proverbs speaks of the value of a “multitude of counsellors” (11:14). The early Church valued consultation and collaboration in making decisions—the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 is a good example. We are not to think that God’s will is always going to be found in a highly individual way. Individual experience, calling, and conviction is part of the process, but so is the advice, wisdom, and exhortation of our families and Churches.
I hope you see a pattern emerging. Knowing God’s word is a vital aspect of true Christianity (Psalm 1:2). Prayer, likewise, is an essential part of living as a Christian. Christian fellowship and mutual exhortation (Hebrews 3:13) is another indispensable part of the Christian life. Seeking God’s will for our life is not an isolated compartment of Christian experience. Rather, it is one practical outworking of our total spiritual life. We tackle this practical problem as we would any other: by seeking to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18) as we make use of the means he has provided for our spiritual growth.