Should I take this job? Should I date this person? Should I buy this house? What does God want me to do? Is it possible to discover God’s will in everyday life? The answer is yes, and here’s how…
Discovering God’s will can seem so intangible or mysterious. But scripture is very clear that God does have a plan and will for your life (Ephesians 1:11). The real question is how do we discover it?
There is probably not a better example of someone understanding God’s will than the Apostle Paul. He was a man used by God in incredible ways. He was also a man who understood adversity and challenges (2 Corinthians 11:24-27). Yet, through it all, he understood the process of discovering and following God’s will (Galatians 5:25). When you look at Paul’s life, you can quickly see the secret to his success.
It’s a simple two-step process.
Step 1 – Strategic Planning With Purpose
Romans 15:24-25, 28-29 – 24 I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while. 25 At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints…. 28 When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. 29 I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.
When Paul was writing to the Roman Christians, he had a strategic plan to visit them on his way to Spain. The purpose of his trip was to gain assistance and to finally connect with them for the first time. He also knew he needed to get money to the struggling Christians in Jerusalem. So he strategically put together a plan of attack that he thought would fulfill God’s will. Notice he didn’t sit around and wait for a supernatural revelation or some mystical sign. Instead, he used his brain and came up with a plan of attack that made sense given the circumstances.
Strategic planning with purpose is a critical first step in discovering God’s will. He wants you to use the brain He gave you and strategically think through the issues and decisions you are facing. He wants you to plan, discern, and be a critical thinker. Proverbs 16:9 – The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Notice it starts with you making a plan. It is also important that your plan doesn’t contradict scripture or lead you into sin. Any plan that leads you into sin is never God’s will.
Step 2 – Be Diligent in Prayer
Romans 15:30-33 – 30 I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, 31 that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, 32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.
Not only did Paul plan his trip to Rome, he also asked the Christians in Rome to pray for him. He asked them to pray for protection, his behavior, and that he would arrive in Rome refreshed. Paul didn’t ask for sporadic prayers, he asked them to “strive together” in praying for him. He wanted them to be diligent and committed to praying. He knew any plan he could put together would always have limitations. Success is always going to require God getting involved.
Diligent prayer is a critical part of discovering God’s will in your life! It brings God into your process and planning. Diligent prayer helps you become more flexible and able to relinquish control when God decides to change things up according to His will. Paul reflects this attitude at the end of his trip to Rome when things didn’t turn out exactly as planned. Yes, he went to Jerusalem but was also arrested and put in a Caesarean jail for two years (c.f. Acts 24:27). Yes, he ended up in Rome but as a prisoner and it appears he never made it to Spain. But through it all, Paul states that he was able to understand and discover God will.
Philippians 1:12-13 – Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.
So when it comes to discovering God’s will, it doesn’t have to feel like grabbing Jell-O. Yes, there will always be a measure of faith, but as you employ this two-step process, you’ll find that you don’t have to wonder what it means to discover God’s will.
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