“How do I know what God wants me to do?”
I get that question a lot. Sometimes the answer is straightforward. If it’s addressed in Scripture, there you have it. But often it’s not a matter that’s addressed in the Bible. Like, “Should I switch jobs to this other opportunity?” “Is it time to buy a house?”
God cares about all of your decisions and he wants to be included in them. But that doesn’t mean that there are always right or wrong answers to the choices we make. Here are six questions I ask myself whenever I face a decision that I’m unsure about.
1) Am I right with God? David declared, “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalms 66:18 NLT). So first, I make sure that I have confessed and repented of my sin so that my heart can align with his.
2) Am I close with God? You can be right with another person and not be close with them. With this question, I will often take some time away to spend in deeper prayer and reading God’s word. I may fast and meditate on Scripture. If I am going to hear God’s voice, I have to be in tune.
3) What is my desire? Or simply put, “What do I want to do?” God gives direction through our desires. The closer we get to him, the more we want the things he wants, and despise the things he despises. Once again from King David, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalms 37:4), meaning that when we focus on pleasing him, he places his desires in our hearts.
4) Is that desire Scriptural? Is there anything written in the Bible that would prohibit this or lead me to believe it is not from the Lord?
5) Have I carefully thought through godly advice? Solomon wrote, “Where there is no guidance, people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). Never make a major decision without getting good advice from mature followers of Jesus. It doesn’t mean you take everyone’s advice, but you ought to give it careful consideration BEFORE you make up your mind what you are doing.
6) Is the door open? God does sometimes communicate through circumstances. However, this is the last place I go. I never start here. It’s foolishness to interpret every change in circumstance as God’s leading. Instead, start with his Word, prayer, and good advice. But at some point, you have know that it’s not God’s will if it’s not available for you. When I asked my wife to marry me, I believed that the Lord was leading me. But discerning his will can be subjective and I could’ve been wrong. Linda could have said, “No,” though I can’t imagine why! Circumstances can be a way for the Lord to veto our plans when we are unknowingly getting off track.
So how do you know what God wants you to do? He’s not going to trick you. He loves you and wants what’s best for you. If you sincerely seek his will, he’ll give you guidance.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye” (Psalm 32:8 NKJV).