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Mercy Christian Counseling

Clinical Pastoral Counseling with Temperament for Women, Men, and Families

Counselor's Corner

Counselor's Corner

How to Know The Will of God for You

Posted by mercycounseling on November 5, 2019 at 9:30 AM


Some years ago, a young Christian man came to counseling because he was trying to discern the will of God about whether he should marry a young woman with whom he was in love. His angst over the matter was truly gut-wrenching. The woman in question was also a Christian. They were both leaders in many activities of their church, very devoted to Jesus, and they were afraid to do the wrong thing. They wanted to know for sure if it was God’s will for them to marry. Their indecision had been going on for many months.

This couple was looking for an iron-clad sign from God. They were so intent on hearing His voice that they heard it in every Christian song on the radio, in every Christian message. Sometimes they heard “yes” and sometimes they heard “no.” Confusion reigned.

Maybe you have wondered about the will of God for you. Very few people today actually hear the audible voice of God. For most of us, it appears as an impression on the consciousness, and we must determine if it is our own will generating that impression or maybe even our imagination. There are even times when it may be demonic influence. 

I believe discerning the will of God need not be so anxiety-producing when we fully engage both Christian faith and intellect. A prescriptive scripture for this is Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Following are some steps for you to consider.

Be willing to surrender your will. The first step in the process of discerning God’s will is to be willing to surrender your will to His. This means you must truly want to please God in the matter and be willing to surrender yourself to God’s leadership. This is what “walking in the Spirit” is all about. It is an attitude of wanting to align your desires and behaviors with God’s commands. Jesus sums this up in the Lord’s prayer, “Thy will be done.” (Matthew 6:10)

You must know the character of God and His relationship to His creation (you). God has provided the Bible for this purpose (the renewing of your mind), and He has called preachers to proclaim His Word. Read the Bible with purpose and plan. It is full of information God wants you to know, especially about Himself. Attend a church where the Bible is clearly explained and where the members are conversant in its truth. God’s will about how human beings are to conduct life are spelled out, and you can know God’s will—in a general sense—for what He wants from you. Reading and hearing the Word of God will increase your faith (Romans 10:17) and tune your mind to discern God’s will.

Ask God to reveal His will to you. When you need more specific guidance, do several things.

1) Seek counsel from godly people you know, who have the Biblical background needed. Sometimes God speaks to us through godly people (Proverbs 11:14).

2) Pray. Ask God to show you His will in a specific matter. Pray frequently until you feel sure of His answer ( 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ).

3) Wait. Sometimes God reveals an answer immediately, sometimes not. (Psalm 27:14)

Act on what you believe is God’s will, to the best of your ability. Our God is not a God of confusion, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). If you have taken the steps previously mentioned and believe you know what you should do, validate your decision by asking this final question: Is what I want to do in alignment with the teachings of God as revealed in the Bible, and do I have a sense of peace?

Finally, remember these words from Galatians 5:19-25, for they reveal the context of the heart in all matters: “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, [murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

As for that young couple—eventually they married and are now living happily and blessed with children. Thanks be to God 

Walking in the Spirit, may you know God’s will today.

Dr. Susan Haberkorn is an ordained Minister of Pastoral Care and NCCA Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor

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