August 03, 2021
There are times in life when we don’t know what to do, especially when we are faced with a lot of plausible options.
You might have just graduated from senior high school and you’re thinking, “What course should I take?” or “Did I choose the right one?” You probably have some questions that are left unanswered and whenever you ask around, you always hear this response, “What do you think is the will of God for you?”
And not knowing the answer paralyzes us from making a decision or taking the first step. We tend to be anxious or confused about whether what we’re doing is what God wanted or not. I’ve seen a lot of people who ended up doing nothing because they were not sure what was the right thing to do.
This, now, poses these questions: “ Am I in the center of God’s will? Can I really know His will for me?”
All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and He does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand or say to Him, “What have you done?”
As written in the Bible, the will of God is His ultimate purpose and plan for us. It is a tapestry of His purpose for His people and His plan of redemption for humankind. It speaks of His sovereignty, that He is in control of everything.
God is in control, yet He did not create us like robots without free will. He gave us freedom to make decisions and to seek Him and His will because we are in a relationship with Him.
So now, how will I know God’s will for me?
Let us go through some misconceptions and their corresponding truths about knowing God’s will.
Misconception #1: It is impossible for anyone to know or figure out God’s will.
Truth: God has given us His word, the Bible, so we can know His will.
The will of God is not like a cosmic mystery that no one will be able to know and fulfill. God has given us His word so that as it renews our minds, we will be transformed and we will be able to discern the will of God (Romans 12:2). The Bible is the ultimate authority in all matters of life and faith. By it, we are able to distinguish what is sin and what is not. If ever we are faced with sin, we are able to recognize it right away and turn away from it.
At the same time, the Bible speaks of who God is. As we get to know more of His character, we understand that His will does not refute it. If a word or vision contradicts who God is or His word in the Bible, then we know that it is not from God. Read and meditate on His word because it is the lamp on our feet and it guides our every step.
Misconception #2: If we’re experiencing hardship, it is not God’s will.
Truth: The Holy Spirit, not our circumstances, affirms the will of God.
In Acts 16, it says that the Holy Spirit has forbidden Apostle Paul and Silas to speak God’s word in Asia and were not allowed to go to Bithynia. Paul then had a vision of him being called to Macedonia and the Holy Spirit affirmed that he needed to go there to preach the gospel. But while they were preaching and ministering to the people there, some had accused them of bringing trouble to their city. They were beaten and thrown into prison. But even while in prison, they were able to preach the gospel to the jailer and were released eventually.
Through the Holy Spirit, we are directed by God. This does not necessarily mean we should always be in a comfortable position or place. Just because we are having a hard time or are placed in an unconventional situation does not mean that we are not in the center of God’s will. The Holy Spirit enables us to obey what God has called us to do.
Misconception #3: “I can seek out God’s will all by myself” or the other extreme, “I can just imitate what successful people do.”
Truth: We need godly counsel to help us be directed to God’s will and His word.
A lot of times, God uses His people to speak to us and He even uses their experiences to grow our knowledge of who He is. It says in Proverbs 12:15 that “the way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” There are some decisions that we shouldn’t make alone, especially if we are highly emotional about it.
We need people whom we trust to speak life and wisdom to us not just based on their life experiences, but based on God’s word. We have a tendency to just copy the “formula” or “format” of their lives, thinking that it is automatically the will of God for us. But even the people in the Bible had different stories from each other.
Following Jesus does not mean following a formula that we see in our leaders. We are to imitate our leaders’ faith, not their exact responses. Godly counsel is essentially placed by God in our lives to help us discern and obey God’s will.
We are called to live a life of faith, not of fear or perfection. God, in His sovereignty, gives us freedom and allows us to choose and to make decisions. But He didn’t leave us groping for directions. He gave us the Bible to guide our steps; we have the Holy Spirit to lead the way; and we have the church community to journey with. In case we make mistakes, He makes us all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28) and uses them as learning opportunities in our faith journey.
As we follow Jesus, let us continue to seek Him and His will through His word with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the affirmation of our spiritual family.