This is a follow-up post to “Should Young Ladies Stay Home or Attend College?”
Whenever there are major life decisions to take, it’s natural to look for guidance, for advice, or some assurance that we’re making the right choice. But the type of advice we get depends on who we’re going to for counsel. As believers we should keep in mind that our very lives are dependent on the Lord. So we have to align our choices, lifestyles, and direction of life with His will.
But how do we know God’s will? How do we know whether our actions and choices are influenced by fluctuating emotions or are wise decisions directed by the Lord? It seems hard to discern God’s will when we often get mixed messages from church or other spiritual leaders.
As a daughter of a pastor, after many occasions of listening to teaching on this topic, I wanted to share some essential steps to finding out the will of God for your life or for other decisions you are taking:
Live a godly life
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. (Psalm 37:23).
Living a life of practical holiness is the first prerequisite to finding out God’s will. It ensures that communication between you and God is open. It keeps your spiritual eyes and ears attentive to His voice and leading. If an individual is not in tune with the Holy Spirit because of a life of worldliness or even sin, then you can imagine that person will not be able to find out God’s will.
Be diligent in studying the Word
Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (John 15:5-8).
Waiting to hear a voice speak from heaven, or waiting for God to drop the answer right in your lap are obviously not ways to find out God’s will. How then does God speak?
The Bible is God’s spoken Word to us. In the past, in the Old Testament God would communicate His will through prophets, dreams, and visions. Today in the church age, He does so through His Word. The Scripture contains all that God wants us to know about Him and His plan for our lives. When we delight ourselves in the Lord, when we abide in His Word, then He orders our steps. He opens doors. He leads us.
The Bible is the first place the believer should go when seeking to know God’s will. Of course that doesn’t mean opening up the Bible to a random page, reading the first verse that catches your eye and concluding that is God “speaking” to you. Studying God’s Word implies daily dedicated reading, book by book, chapter by chapter, in order from beginning to end. It implies pondering on the truths of Scripture. It implies praying that the Holy Spirit will reveal things from the Bible in your daily reading and give you a specific verse or a deeper understanding of the passage, which will apply to your current situation. When we demonstrate faithfulness to the Word of God, He will reward us. And we will know His will.
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6)
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26)
God speaks to us through His Word, and we speak to Him through prayer. It is the most powerful tool we have as believers. We can tell the Lord anything and everything that is on our mind. There are numerous verses that tell of the importance of prayer. Many times, prayer is also coupled with fasting when we fervently desire for God to act in our behalf.
Consult with godly trustworthy people
Listen to counsel and receive instruction,That you may be wise in your latter days. There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand. (Proverbs 19:20,21).
If you are still under your parents authority you should seek their counsel, follow their instruction, and share your heart with them. Young ladies who are not blessed with believing parents should seek to find older, godly people to counsel with such as a pastor’s wife or a woman in the church who is an example of faith. Then ponder on the advice given and it should line up to things you received from the Lord through His Word.
Trust the Lord
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6).
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 37:13,14).
After taking all of the above steps, the final and hard thing to do is trust and wait on the Lord. God doesn’t always give us an answer when we expect, but He will. And when He does, then there is so much joy in knowing that yes- you are in His will!