This evening we continued looking at how to live according to God’s will. In Colossians 1:9-10, Paul prays, ‘We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.’ (Col 1:9-10) We see from this that to know God’s will fully will mean more than ‘working out’ something according to reason and common sense (useful though these are); we need God’s Spirit to reveal to us the mind of Christ (see 1 Cor 2:13-16).

The first step to finding out God’s will in specific areas and circumstances is to ask God for wisdom (see James 1:5). James goes on to differentiate between spiritual wisdom and worldly wisdom in James 3, and we see again the emphasis on spiritual understanding and wisdom. We can’t hope to find out God’s will through rational means alone, for His w ways are often counter-intuitive and paradoxical.

Some pointers to finding God’s will are:

  1. Is what I believe God is saying in line with Scripture? God will not contradict His word. Isaiah tells us to consult God’s instruction; anything else is counterfeit. (Is 8:10)
  2. Confirming circumstances (such as Abraham’s servant experienced in Gen 24 or Paul experienced in Acts 16:6-10) can help us to know God’s will.
  3. Prayer and fasting are key to understanding God’s will, for these spiritual disciplines help us to sharpen our hearing and tune us in to God. Prayer and fasting are ways that we remove the distractions of the world in order to concentrate our minds and spirit on God.
  4. The counsel of the saints can help us enormously as we pray and seek God’s confirmation, but we have to be careful here, as people are fallible and do not always advise us rightly. Nonetheless, it is good to share our situations with others who will pray and seek God for us.
  5. God’s peace is given in many situations where we are seeking to know God’s will to guard our hearts and minds. (Phil 4:7) It is often the ‘green light’ we need to step out into new ventures.
  6. Trusting in God’s sovereignty is ultimately all we can do when seeking His will. Prov 3:5-6 reminds us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and not to lean on our own understanding. When we truly believe God is in control and guiding our paths, then we can rest in His ability to lead and guide us along right paths for His name’s sake.