How to discern God’s will

What does God want me to do? What is God’s will for my life?

Most of us have asked these kinds of questions. And, quite honestly, I think they are some of the best questions Christians can ask. I mean, if we actually believe there is a God who is in control, then we definitely should be wondering what He wants us to do.

So, where do we start when we are trying to figure out God’s will for our lives? How can we possibly begin to learn what He wants for us?

Step One: Turn To God’s Word

The Scriptures are where we learn God’s will for our lives. Jesus made it pretty simple when He said that the greatest two commands are 1. Love God and 2. Love your neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40). Personally, I love the simplicity of those words, but they leave me with a lot of questions: How do I love God? What does that look like? How can I show God my love? How do I love my neighbor? What is loving and what isn’t?

That’s when we need to turn to Scripture as a whole to fill in the blanks. We need to listen to Jesus as He teaches about any number of topics from marriage to money to mercy to sacrifice. The 10 Commandments also fill in the blanks for us. They remind us that loving God involves treating His name as special, worshiping no other gods, and not making idols. The 10 commandments tell us that loving our neighbor means respecting our parents, not murdering (or hating), not stealing (but instead respecting) other people’s property, not being jealous, and telling the truth in all circumstances. That’s God’s will.

So, start by opening up God’s Word. Absorb it as often as possible. God to church, attend a Bible study, and read it at home so that you can be shaped and molded by the Word.

But, what about…

The problem is, most of us still feel like we are searching for answers. But, what about which job I should take? What college should I go to? Which spouse should I marry? Should I volunteer at the animal shelter or food pantry? What does God want me to do?

Christian Freedom

That’s where we need to remember that as Christians, God has given us certain freedoms. When presented with two God-pleasing opportunities we are free to choose between them. If I have two job opportunities and one of them involves a requirement to sin – well then the decision is easy – choose the other. But, when both provide an opportunity to love God and neighbor, God has given us the freedom to choose between the two. In a sense, you can’t go wrong, because God has laid before you two options. Of course, not every decision we make works out the way we expect or would like it to, but that doesn’t mean that God is upset about that. Maybe He was just trying to teach you something.

So, if College A and College B both provide an opportunity to give God glory as you faithfully pursue your education – then choose with the confidence and joy that God goes with you.

Tools of the Christian “Decider”

Just because God has given us this freedom, doesn’t mean He has left us all alone to figure it out. There are two main tools He’s placed into the lives of each and every Christian

Tool #1 – A Christian Family

None of us is a lonely Christian. No one is an only-child Christian. God has brought each of us into His family, the Church, the Body of Christ, and has surrounded us with brothers and sisters. When you are making a decision – go to them. Ask them for advice. Tell them that you want their help and would appreciate their honesty. They might see something in you that would be valuable in making your decision. Or, they might see something in the choices in front of you that would make things easy. Ask them to help you see your own strengths and weaknesses. The Church is a gift, and all too often we go at life alone when we don’t need to.

Tool #2 – Prayer

Each and every decision we make ought to be bathed and clothed with prayer. Before, during, and after each decision we should be asking God for wisdom, strength, and guidance. We probably won’t get an audible voice speaking back to us in our ears, but He might help direct you through one door closing, through the voice of a friends advice, or through some other tangible means. Let God know your worries. Ask for His Spirit’s guiding. And then, once the decision has been made, ask for continued faith. Pray that no matter what happens you would continue to trust in God’s promises.


Making decisions isn’t easy. But, through time in the Word, prayer, and the voices of our Christian family God helps direct us. When presented with two God-pleasing options that allow us to love Him and our neighbor, we choose joyously and confidently from our Christian freedom.

If you’ve liked what you read and want to read more, check out our book called “Growing Up: In, with, and under Jesus” on Amazon!

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