How to test God's will for your life/situation
Rom 12:2 Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing, and perfect will.
The Apostle Paul says that we should be able to test and approve the will of God. So how do we do that? The Bible gives us a number of ways that we approve his will:
The Bible is God’s primary source of revelation. It is inspired and trustworthy, we should read it and apply it to our life. The Bible is our standard for testing everything else that claims to be true.
2 Tim 16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Psa. 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart: do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
If anything is contrary to the teaching of scripture, then we know that it cannot be God’s will since God cannot contradict himself.
We need to be regularly reading God’s word so that we are familiar with it teaching. Apart merely reading the scriptures we need to approach them with a sense of enquiry. We should pray and expecting God to speak to us through them. We should not only be thinking about what he has written historically, but we should be expecting personal present revelation.
Prayer is a vital tool in discerning God’s will for our lives, even Jesus used prayer to find out what God wanted him to do.
Luke 6:12-13 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God - When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles:
Matt. 26:39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
We should be regularly asking God to guide us and to reveal his will to us. Through prayer we are entrusting every situation to God for his blessing and protection. Through prayer we learn to relinquish control as we submit everything to God.
See also Eph. 1:18; Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6; Col. 1:9-10, 3:16, 4:2; 1 Thes 5:17
This is the one area that Christians struggle with the most. The idea that our leaders and fellow Christians have the right to speak into our lives and bring correction and guidance is too difficult for some people to accept. Of course its okay if the agree with what we think, the problem arises when they disagree with us.
It’s often very difficult for an individual to make decisions without being influenced by their own likes and desires. God has placed us into community so that we can love, encourage, correct, and rebuke each other in the matter of faith, doctrine, and lifestyle.
Heb. 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Submission only has meaning when we disagree with each other. If your leader asks you to do something that you really want to do anyway; that’s not submission, that’s just doing what you want! Submission is when they give advice that is contrary to what you want, and you submit to that advice. You give way to what they are saying.
We are to submit to: -
- God’s Word (Jer. 7:23)
- governing authorities (Rom 13:5)
- our spiritual leaders (1 Cor. 16:16, Heb 13:7)
- our husbands (Eph 5:22)
- one another (Eph 5:21)
- God (James 4:7)
Often when Christians are bent on doing something that is contrary to the wishes of those around them, they often hide behind phrases like ‘I must listen to what God is saying’ and ‘it’s the spirit who guides me’. Yet the bible makes it quite clear that the Christian community is an essential component in discerning God’s will.
In our (final) Part 8 we consider how circumstances may help us discern the will of God.