by Pastor Wayne Puls on June 25, 2024

How do we know what God wants us to do? As children of God, who desire to follow his lead, how can we recognize God’s will for our lives?

Often such discernment is actually pretty easy and straightforward. Think of instances in your life for which God’s Word gives clear, direct guidance. We may not always like what the Bible is telling us to do. As weak, imperfect sinners, we may resist those Scriptural directives, and prefer to forge our own path forward. Yet, in these circumstances, God’s will is easily recognizable.

Many are the times, however, when it is not a simple matter to discern the Lord’s will for our lives. We all face complicated decisions and life choices, to which Scripture simply doesn’t speak. In truth, God does not always make his will patently obvious, and we are left with the challenge of discernment.

As I write this, sitting in my office in the latter part of June, I’m facing a significant decision in my life, and am seeking God’s will. How, exactly, do I come to know what God wants me to do? How do Christians like us proceed, in such life situations, and come to recognize the Lord’s will for our lives? There is no perfect, “one size fits all” answer to such questions, as I’m sure you know. However, here are some general thoughts and concepts that I strive to keep in mind, when I’m in a discernment-seeking mode. Perhaps these may be helpful to you, the next time you’re making a choice, especially when Scripture doesn’t give you the clear answer.

  • Talk humbly with the Lord about your situation. Pray repeatedly, pray humbly, and pray often. Don’t tell God what you want his answer to be, but be genuinely open to his lead. Keep praying about it. Ask him to reveal his will to you, but let him know that you are willing and able to yield to his will. Pray some more. Spend time in a “season of prayer,” in which you are keeping doors of communication between you and the Lord wide open, for as long a period of time as you can. Pray, and ask others to pray for you and with you.
  • SEEK COUNSEL. If confidentiality considerations allow, talk about your situation with trusted Christian sisters and brothers. Let them ask you questions. Listen to their perspectives, and use these conversations as a way of viewing your situation from some new angles. Don’t ask others to make the decision for you, but recognize that God very often works through the people around us to provide guidance and help.
  • God may choose to turn on a flashing light bulb, and reveal his will in an unmistakable fashion. Many are the times, though, when he allows us to make up our own minds. If it’s time to make a decision, after a season of prayer, and after seeking counsel from trusted advisors, then do so in faith. Decide humbly, always in concert with what God does share in his Word.
  • Once your decision is made, keep praying about it. Ask God to bless your choice, and count on his promise to walk with you always and to never leave you. Move forward in deep trust, in confident faith, and keep God in the picture at all times.

Again, these are general principles that I try to employ, when I am attempting to recognize God’s will. I pray for every member of our Hope family who’s seeking discernment right now. May God answer your prayers, provide you with good Christian support, and bless your decisions!

In Christ,

Pastor Wayne Puls

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