I know what it’s like to struggle with not knowing God’s will, especially when you have an important decision to make. Here are 5 steps to help you discern His will:
1. Get to know Jesus
To know why you were created you need to know your Creator. And by “know” I mean having an intimate relationship with God.
God does not care if you go to church, read your Bible, and do some other “works” unless you do it out of love for Him and it is a result of the relationship you have with Him.
To build a relationship with Jesus you need to spend time with Him. You need to have a conversation with Him. You need to be a true friend to Him the same way He is to you.
2. Let your mind be transformed by Him
All Christians go though the process of sanctification where they are given the power of the Holy Spirit to repent of their sins and start a new life in Christ.
This process never ends, since we will always have more to learn and improve. But the higher spiritual maturity we reach – the more like Jesus we start to think and therefore the better we know His will.
The Bible says: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (NIV, Romans 12.2).
So if we let God transform our thinking to become more like His thinking, than our thinking will become more in alignment with His thinking. So the more we let God transform our mind, the clearer we will be able to see God’s will. Since our desires will become His desires and His desires will become our desires.
3. Be led by the Holy Spirit
To be led by the Holy Spirit means to learn how to discern when the Spirit gives you peace (passion or desire) about something or discomfort (lack of peace or worry).
With experience you learn how to discern your own feelings from the ones that the Spirit is giving you. But if you are new to this, then here are some hints:
- You feel your own feelings usually in the chest area, the feelings that the Spirit is giving you feel lower, in the stomach area.
- The feeling from the Spirit is not an emotion. It is something that stays with you for a long time and it is not affected by your moods.
- If you have a good or bad feeling about something in your stomach area while you do not have any logical reason to believe that way or another, then it is most probably from the Spirit. For example, if you have a bad feeling about doing something, but in your mind you know that there is nothing wrong about doing it, then the feeling is probably from the Spirit, since it is not influenced by your own desires, emotions, or knowledge about that something.
Record what kind of feelings you were having about one particular issue over a period of time. It will help you during your reflection process (we will discuss this in step 5).
4. Hear God’s voice
While discerning the leadership of the Spirit is already good, the problem with it is that you only feel it when you are about to make a decision.
But how about the things you are not even thinking about? What if God wants you to start doing something that is not even on your mind? The Spirit cannot guide you in this since it’s not even on your radar.
In some cases the Spirit can give you the desire to do something and so you can start thinking about it, but God’s voice can tell you more specific instructions concerning doing that something.
The Bible is a general roadmap for our life. The leadership of the Spirit is a more specific roadmap. Hearing God’s voice is the most specific map available.
God has a unique purpose for you for which He has shaped you before you were even born. And in order to find out that specific purpose and fulfill it, you need to take one little baby step at a time towards it. And in order to know where to step next you need to be hearing God’s voice on a regular basis.
I have written an article that will guide you through 6 steps of hearing God’s voice that you can read here: How to Hear God’s Voice
Record what God’s is telling you over a period of time. I would even ask God every single day to confirm to me something or to speak to me about that same something and just record His answer down. It is really helpful during the reflections that I will do later.
5. Reflect on where God is leading you
Look at your records of where you felt the Spirit is leading you. Having few weeks to reflect on would be a really strong indication of where the Spirit is leading you. But only if the matter can wait and it is not something urgent.
Reflect also on what God has been telling you. Was He telling you the same thing every single day? Did what He was saying to you yesterday stay the same today even when you passion disappeared or your mood changed?
I personally do not like to make any decisions while I am in the “passion mood”. When I want to start something new, like a project, I am usually very excited about it the first few days or the first few weeks but then this passion just goes away and when I think about that project without being deluded by emotion I usually decide not to pursue it.
So when I have an important decision to make, I usually like to give myself more than enough time to get over that “passion mood”, that can actually distort my ability to hear God, and only after I am at my “sober mind” I make the decision.
Here is a formula for knowing God’s will:
God’s Will = Spirit’s leadership + God’s instruction + the Bible alignment
- Spirit’s leadership – where the spirit is leading you.
- God’s instruction – what God is telling you.
- The Bible alignment – what the Bible is telling you.
This is not to say that if you have the alignment of majority of those things than it is God’s will. All of the factors have to align with each other.
There are also many other factors that you need to consider depending on your specific situation. But giving yourself some time to think over something and just live with it for a while really helps to put all the impressions in perspective and make the decision with a sober mind.
Do you have any other tips to help others discern God’s will?