Knowing and Doing the Will of God

By Not Known

God’s will is sometimes clear. Thus, when Jesus was in his garden agony he knew full well that it was the father’s will that he go to the Cross (Lke 22:42). The only question was whether he would obey this revealed will. It’s the same when we have a temptation to sin. If we know our Bible, we know God’s will. The only question is whether we will bend our will to try and do what God wants.

God’s will is sometimes unclear. These are times where we face decisions of spiritual significance, but they are not questions of (dis)obedience to God’s will as revealed in Scripture. A decision one way or another could be godly. We pray … not my will but yours be done and then we add … show me your will.


How do we know God’s will in these situations? Sometimes we may have a powerful and clear impression that is quickly given and which we interpret as God’s leading. More commonly, God’s will is sought through careful and prayerful decision-making. Here are some elements of that process:

  • Sanctified common sense. Draw up a list with the plus / minus for each option. Which decision gives the best objective ‘fit’?
  • Listen to your heart. What is the ‘inner voice saying? This is not the same as asking what we most desire, but desire is part of it.
  • Prayerful conviction. Soak the whole process in prayer and do not take a final decision until we have a settled conviction before God.
  • Know God. Know God so well through prayer and Bible that our mind and heart are deeply in tune with him.
  • Open and closed doors. God may lead by closing a door we expected to find open. We may then turn and find another door open.
  • Godly counsel. In the end we must take responsibility for our own decision, but there is benefit in talking things through. Let’s seek people who know God, know us, know the situation and who speak the truth in love.
  • Be open-minded. God may lead us against our expectations, desires or our sense of what is best. As we were reminded at prayer meeting, God’s answer to our desires may be ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘not yet’ or ‘something different’.

In all this, let us remember that God is sovereign and moves all things according to his purposes (Eph 1:11). Our choices and those of others around us may be finite and flawed but God works his good purposes through them anyway. The Bible has many examples of this and it is an immense encouragement as we look at the realities of human decisions and actions.

I have often found these processes useful in taking decisions. What do you find helpful? However we do it, let us always strive to know and to do God’s will.

David Burke