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29. How to know God's will for your life

The Master's Instructions about specific Christian problems. (Jonah chapters 1-4).

The Bible tells us that God has a plan for each individual and a purpose for them only to fulfil. We are called according to God’s purpose (Romans 8:28-30), and we are able to prove what His will is, as we give ourselves

completely to Him (Romans 12:1-2). The discovering of God’s will comes as we listen to His word and His Spirit and, perhaps, through the counsel of godly men. The doing of God’s will comes only as we take the plunge from

the pool edge into the water.

The example of Samuel (1 Samuel 3:1-21)

Although he was close to the Lord, he did not yet know him (vv.1, 7). He

heard God’s call to him in a growing conviction (vv.4, 6, 8, 10). He had the

counsel of Eli (v.8). He continued with the Lord and the Lord with him


Notice that Samuel was not initially called to be a prophet. He was called

to come to know God. God always requires that as the number one


The example of Jonah (Jonah 1-4)

Initially Jonah clearly rejected God’s word to him (1:1-3). God used a

great storm, a swirling sea, and a spell in a fish’s stomach to bring Jonah

to his senses. He remembered the Lord though he was trying to run from

him (2:1). The second time God called him, Jonah got it right. He had

learned his lesson (3:1-3).

The doing of God’s will is always a matter of our choice. When He

confronts us with something, we can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Frequently Christians

say they do not know what God is calling them to do, when in reality they

know He is wanting them to do something they are not willing to do.

Jonah still had a lot to learn about God’s never-ending love. His own will for

the Ninevites was very different from God’s will for them.

The example of the council in Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-30)

Groups of Christians sometimes need to know God’s will together on

certain issues. The early church leaders gave due regard to custom and

personal testimony (vv.1, 2, 5). ‘Did all the believers have to be

circumcised in order to be saved?’ They gave consideration and

judgement together (v.6). There was discussion and dialogue. There was

evidence and evaluation. Their conclusions were drawn in the light of all

this and the witness of the Holy Spirit to their hearts (vv.19, 28). They

then clearly communicated their findings to all the people involved


The Bible is very specific on some issues and it may be a good idea to take

a concordance and look up all the occasions where it says: ‘It is God’s will

that you ….’ 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:18 will give you a start. Every

command of God in the Bible is His will – you can be sure of that.

However, you will not find the Bible saying that you should be a scientist,

or that you live at no.123 in a certain road, or that you should marry

Miss World! How do we know God’s will on issues like these?

1. Listen to the wisdom of His word.

2. Listen to the witness of His Spirit.

3. Walk forward by faith.

4. Wait upon God in continuing submission to what He wants.

Each one of these four is important. Any one without the others could be

very dangerous.

Thank you Lord God for the confidence I can have in You and for the

confidence You have in me.

Discussion guide on ‘How to know God’s will for your life’

1. Share any difficulties you may have in knowing God’s will for your

own life. What makes it more difficult, or more easy, to know?

2. Share together all the Bible verses you can think of that contain

something like, “It is God’s will that you …”

All of the things these verses speak of are clearly God’s will for

our lives.

3. Colossians 2:6-7 tells us to keep growing in the Lord. How can we

grow in the Lord? And, therefore, how can we know God’s will?

4. The more difficult times are where the Bible is non-specific. What

has God given to us to help us with these less clear choices?

After sharing your own ideas, look up these Bible verses.

Psalm 111:10

Psalm 119:105

Acts 15:1-4

Acts 15:28

James 1:5-8

5. Discover from Acts 16:1-5 how Paul knew Timothy was right to add

to his team; then from verses 6-10 how Paul and his team knew

where to go next. Are these valid ways you can know God’s will

today? Why?

Why not?

6. Read Proverbs 3:1-6. How do you get a “straight path” ahead of



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