In our society it is a common thing to hear a believer say that he/she wants to know the will of God for his/her life. I believe the premise is flawed and therefore will lead to a wrong answer and a life of constant doubt and frustration. God’s will for every believer is clearly presented in Scripture. The problem is that in our fast-food, microwave, want everything handed to us wrapped with a neat ribbon society Christians are too lazy to search the Scriptures to find the will of God. It is not found in a single verse, but throughout the word of God. However, the promise is that we have available to us the ability to “prove what the will of God is” (Rom. 12:2) an ability made possible by the indwelling Holy Spirit and the renewing of our minds by God’s word.
The Greek word translated “prove” means “to put to the test, examine” (BDAG) the idea meaning to “put to the test for the purpose of approving, and finding that the thing tested meets the specifications laid down, to put one’s approval upon it” (Wuest Word Studies in the Greek New Testament). This is not to say that the process of proving God’s will puts the Christian interpreter above the Word, but that when one actually begins to live in obedience, a.k.a. put the word to the test by living in obedience to it, he finds that God’s will and word are perfect, and reality is the way that He describes it. The major point is that God has revealed everything that we need to know to live life the way that He wants us to (see 2 Peter 1:2-3). Along with that He has given us the power, through His indwelling Spirit, to carry out His will. Look at it in this light; there are enough passages in Scripture that explicitly state that such-and-such is God’s will for you that it would occupy every moment of every day to actually live in obedience to them. If we did that then we wouldn’t have time to sit around questioning what God wants us to do with our lives.
The following may help us understand why we have such difficulty knowing God’s will: 1.) Christians, for the most part, don’t know God’s word well enough to live in obedience to Him and therefore we live life questioning what His will for us is. 2.) Christians, for the most part, aren’t willing to spend the time studying God’s word to know it and therefore they don’t know their God like they think they do. 3.) Coinciding with that, Christians, for the most part, want some “spiritual giant” to hand deliver the answers so they don’t have to get off their duffs to search for it. 4.) Most Christians are more interested in hearing feel-good, 12-step, how-to messages instead of careful verse-by-verse exegetical teaching of God’s word. 5.) Most Christians don’t live in obedience to what little they do know about God’s word.
In his book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers offers some pertinent insight to this last point. In my copy the date is July 27th where Chambers states,
The golden rule for understanding spirituality is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience. If things are dark to me, then I may be sure there is something I will not do. Intellectual darkness comes through ignorance; spiritual darkness comes because of something I do not intend to obey.
No man ever receives a word from God without instantly being put to the test over it. We disobey and then wonder why we don’t go on spiritually.
Allow me to state the bottom line. If you want to know what God’s will is then study His word. I don’t mean a ten minute read in the morning, but an in-depth study of His word. It takes a lot of time and effort, but that is the only way to come to know Him and His will. After studying His word ask Him for wisdom to apply it to your life and then live in obedience to what you know. When you live in obedience to what you know He will begin to illuminate more of His word/will to you. As you live in obedience to all that you are learning (none of us do it 100%) you will be living His will for you. Then questions as to what type of work you should do or what school you should attend, etc., will simply depend on what you want to do, not receiving a special message from God. I base this on reading Psalm 37:4-5; “Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” Here’s a hint to help you understand verse 4; the desires of your heart are not referring to giving you the car you want. It is speaking of the desire that you have will be from Him.
In this day and time Christians better study God’s word and learn to live in obedience to it. The day is coming when all the other stuff that we try to stuff into the modern concept of God’s will aren’t going to matter. I doubt that our brothers and sisters in China sit around wondering about what career God wants them to engage in. Their concerns are bigger than that.
I pray this helps.
P.S. If you are interested in a great education in how to really study your Bible Tyndale Theological Seminary’s class Advanced Hermeneutics is it. You can get information on this at http://www.tyndale.edu. Classes are inexpensive, but very profitable. I highly recommend this course. I teach it at Cornerstone Bible Church in Lubbock, TX, which is an official Tyndale Learning Center.