By Greg Laurie, Crosswalk.com
We have all asked the question at one time or another: How can I know the will of God? We wonder, does God still speak today? Is He interested in me as an individual? Does He indeed have a master plan for my life? If so, how do I discover it?
There are things we can do to cause us to hear His voice more easily and to grasp His will more quickly. We are not just victims of chance, hoping that our luck won't run out. We have our Creator, who has a special plan for each of our lives. And just as God spoke to men and women in Scripture, He wants to speak to us today.
Of course, there are a lot of voices we can hear these days. There is the voice of our own conscience. There is the voice of our friends and loved ones. There is the voice of the devil. And of course, there is the voice of God. Learning to know which is which is important. God has said that we can know His will and His way (see Genesis 18:17; Isaiah 30:21).
Jesus said, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15 NKJV).
God wants to speak to you and guide you, but perhaps it seems as though there is just an icy silence from heaven when you ask Him for direction in your life. In Romans 12:1-2, we find some prerequisites for God's guidance:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (NKJV)
This passage contains what we call a conditional promise, and a great one it is. The promise is that you can know the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. The conditions are that you must: one, present yourself to Him as a living sacrifice; two, you must not be conformed to this world; and three, you must be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Notice the order. It doesn't say you will know God's will and then can decide whether or not you want to offer yourself to Him. First, you surrender to Him. That is your part. Then God will do His.
First we learn what we need to stop doing: Don't be conformed to this world. The word “conformed” that Paul uses refers to the act of assuming an outward appearance that does not accurately reflect that which is within. In other words, Paul is saying, “Don't masquerade as if you belong to the world.” So much of this world's thinking can cloud our reason as to the will of God. We need to remove the barriers to hearing His voice.
When he says we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, this could also be translated, “experience a metamorphosis.” We need to go through this process as our mind is renewed. Our minds are going to be renewed and transformed as we spend time in fellowship with God and His people. When we saturate our lives and thoughts with the Word of God, then and only then will we know the will of God for our lives.
The Psalmist said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). One of the clearest ways to discover God's will for your life is in the pages of Scripture. Knowing what the Bible says and saturating yourself in it will help you discover the will of God for your life. Neglect of it will cause you to not know the will of God for your life.
Knowing the will of God sometimes will be easy, but sometimes it will be more difficult. Remember, God's Spirit will always work through God's Word. Don't just wait for impressions. Study the Bible, and His Spirit will lead you through His Word to understand it in its proper context. And with all of that in mind, after you've prayed, then make your decision.