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Knowing God's Will
Photo: Dani Simmonds
“I wish I could just hear a voice from heaven telling me which choice to make,” a friend recently confided to me. “It’s so hard trying to figure out God’s will!”

While most of us don’t hear voices from heaven, we do want to know God’s will and to make decisions accordingly. But how do we know God’s will for us? Are there specific ways we can determine if we are following God’s plans?

George Muller, a 19th century champion of Christianity in England, said: “When we give ourselves wholly to God and—follow His directions, He makes Himself responsible for our accomplishments.” 

Muller had four steps which he used for determining God’s will in his life. The first one was to totally release his own will. “Choosing to have no will of my own is 90 percent of the equation,” Muller often said. He also believed that when we come to the point of being willing to do God’s will, whatever it may be, it is usually but a little way to gaining the knowledge we are seeking. Psalm 37:5 says: “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”

Look to the Word of God

The second step is to look to the Word of God. Anything that is contrary to what the Bible clearly teaches cannot be in accordance with God’s will. Pray before studying the Bible and listen to the impressions of the Holy Spirit. (Mr. Muller read the Bible through 100 times on his knees!)

Step number three is considering providential circumstances. Many people have stories to tell of events that have transpired in their lives where the circumstances were so unlikely or miraculous that they felt sure the hand of God had ordered the events. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” (Psalm 32:8).

The final step involves making a tentative decision based on the first three steps, then waiting and assessing your level of peace regarding it. If your mind remains at peace over the matter for some time, you may proceed with confidence. If a sense of peace is absent, if you feel pressured by compromise, if you consistently receive negative feedback from Christian family, peers or counselors—these are red flags of warning. Don’t ignore them!

Examine your thinking and the circumstances again. God may be sending these red flags to say “The time is not yet right” or “Don’t make this mistake!” In his book "Stress Fractures," Charles Swindoll asserts that closed doors are just as much God’s leading as open ones.

God knows you and always has your best interest in mind. And the only true freedom in life comes from following God. Then you can confidently say with the Psalmist every day, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16: 11).

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By Brenda Dickerson. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982. 

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