“How do I know that this is the Lord’s will?”
We wrestle with this question often. While it is important to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and to listen well to God’s leading, I notice that we often misunderstand God’s will.
One day, when I was nineteen, I had the choice between two jobs and I had to make up my mind in five minutes. During that time, despite fervent prayer, I heard no answer. It was as though God stepped back and said, “It doesn’t matter. Choose the one you prefer.” That’s exactly what I did—and I’ve never regretted my decision.
Although God has all things under His control, and knows the end from the beginning, perhaps He does not involve Himself in every single decision. He has given specific guidance in His Word about the types of things that we may or may not do, and the attitudes with which we should approach our choices.
His will is known!
1 Thessalonians 5:18
We constantly seek for affirmation of our choices in various signs, trying to read the events of the universe for some message that will reveal the will of God. We second-guess God’s purpose for our lives, we question every direction we might take, and we look over our shoulders constantly, even when things have been set in motion. That is not living in Christ-like confidence!
I propose another strategy. The specific situation is often unimportant, but the attitude with which the situation is approached is of paramount importance.
When I chose the job opportunity that most appealed to me, I decided, “Until following this course becomes impossible, I will put 110% into my work.” That attitude served me well, and I had many opportunities to show God’s love to others because of it. I think God would have used me just as much had I chosen the other job, because my attitude was right.
God’s will is for us to act like Christ in all circumstances, not to know the specifics of our future. Step out in faith! If something is not His will, He has a way of making it abundantly clear. Until then, live in the freedom and confidence of knowing that you are already in His will, simply because of your desire to glorify Him in all circumstances.
In what ways have you acted upon something that was clearly the Lord's will? What have you done in those times when He has been silent?
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.