Seven Practical Ways to Discern God’s Will

Discerning God’s Will for your life is not an easy task.  Every day we need God’s guidance and direction concerning His Will for our lives.  Here are a few practical suggestions concerning the discernment of God’s Will.

1.  Double Check Your Motives
Is your heart’s desire to please God?  Do you want, more than anything, to see God glorified?  Is your greatest delight in God Himself, or is it something else?

2.  Offer the results to God
Before you even start trying to figure out God’s Will concerning a decision or situation, offer it to God.  Willingly surrender the results to Him before you even know what they are.  Then you will be free to discover His Will.

3.  Study Scripture
One of the easiest ways to discern God’s Will is by studying His Word.  The Bible is the Word of God.  It is written in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.”   Sometimes Scripture will state God’s Will.  For example, “…be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).  Or, the Great Commission says to “go and make disciples” (Matt. 28:19).  Many other times, the Bible does not clearly address specific situations which we encounter.  But, the more we know Scripture, the better we know God; the more we know God, the better we know what will please Him.  And once we know what pleases God, we will be on the right track for determining His Will.

4.  Pray Continually
The Bible says, “pray continually…for this is God’s Will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:17,18).  The Bible also says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).  When we ask God for things in accordance with His desires, we will receive them.  We can discover the Will of God through prayer.

5.  Write Out Your Thoughts
Write your thoughts in a journal, in a list, or on a chart.  Try all three if you want.  The reality is that sometimes the practice of communicating our thoughts helps us clarify them.

6.  Ask a Mentor/Spiritual Director
Do you have someone with whom you can share your heart?  This person needs to be a Christ-follower, trustworthy, of high character, and living missionally with a Biblical worldview.  This person should not just tell you what you want to hear, rather he or she should point you to Christ.  This person could be a pastor, elder, church leader, parent, teacher, or just someone who has been through what you’re currently going through.  Once you have a name, go set up a meeting with him or her.  Don’t just share the surface issues of your life, but share your heart.  Ask specific questions.  Don’t expect this person to tell you what to do, but this person should be able to help you sort through your thoughts.

7.  Wait Patiently
As you work through these methods for discerning God’s Will, be patient.  Wait for the right time.  Be in tune with God, and He will tell you when the time is right.

You may or may not come to a clear conclusion after working through these methods.  But you should have a better sense of how to please God in whatever decision you make.  And it is also important to remember that sometimes God gives us permission to choose what we’d like to do, as long as we are not in conflict with God’s calling and purpose for our lives.

Most importantly, remember there is no magic formula for discerning God’s Will.  In recent years, I have learned that the best way to discover God’s Will for your life is to simply seek Him and know Him.  Don’t be concerned with the result or outcome, just seek and desire God.


About Mike Barnhart

I am a Christ-follower, Husband, Father, & Campus Minister.
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