Have you ever struggled in getting an answer from God, in how to make a Godly decision, or ever prayed “What do you want me to do God?” I have often prayed for God to guide and give me clear direction, but have been uncertain about His answer. There may be good reason for this. The clarity of His will for us is dependent on us doing more than lifting up that question in prayer.
But if you’ve been asking God this question, good on you, because he is a Father who knows best, He wants to guide you and He wants you to seek actively Him. So how do you “get clarity” on God’s will for your life? Here are some steps in addition to prayer:
1) Surrender your life and will to God. Decide to trust Him entirely because he’s a trustworthy Father.
2) Know His Word to better Know Him and His will for your life (it’s to be more like Jesus)
3) Pay attention to your dream or vision for your life
4) Know your spiritual gift
5) Let God Connect the Dots; Listen to His Spirit, circumstances and people.
6) Take action in faith (what you do know and believe) when specific guidance isn’t 100% clear.
Surrender. A big question before we go further: Are you truly willing to trust His answer and obey Him? After all, obedience and control over one’s life is a major issue of Christian life. There may not be much use in asking God for direction if we’re not already surrendered in a trusting relationship which allows us to follow Him where He leads. When we’re in control, we’re bound to make a mess of our lives and be unproductive. We can spend a lifetime asking God to bless our plans, and then be resentful when they don’t work out. Many Christians simply have made Jesus their “savior” but not their Lord. I’ve heard so many testimonies of those who said when they finally yielded control to God’s how He blessed them and there finally was great fruit.
13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Luke 16:13
So if you haven’t yet surrendered your life, how do we really do this? We let Jesus become our Lord the same way we let Him save us, through His grace and faith. Change is often hard because we’re bound by our self-conceived identity and by unforgiveness of self, others and even bitterness towards God. Try this prayer: “Lord, I pray that your will be done in my life. I now surrender and give you complete control over all areas of my life. I receive your complete forgiveness and release my self and others for all debts and offenses. I’m sorry I haven’t trusted you as I should. I now ask you to guide me in all my decisions by your word, your example and your Holy Spirit. I give my life to you as a living sacrifice. I trust you, and thank you for guiding me and loving me, in Jesus name, Amen.” This is something you may have to do daily, maybe even several times a day before you truly surrender.
…offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Phil 2:13
The more surrendered we are to Him, the more we become more like Jesus. He is the role model. Like Him, we are to become a sacrificial love for others. God’s will and desire should more and more become your own. This reminds of a worship song that goes:
Where you go I go,
What you say I say,
What you pray I pray,
What you pray I pray.
Know His Word better. So now that the issue of control has been addressed, back to the question at hand. When seeking His will for your life or decision, it seems pretty clear that His Word, the Bible contains His general will–what he wants you to do and become. From it, we have His general commands to all believers. For example, we are to Love God with all we’ve got and to love others as our self. We are to heal the sick, support the poor, strengthen the faint at heart, “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” and so on. Many questions can be answered simply by obeying His general will. The better we know the Bible, the better we confidently know Him and His will. If we have questions, it’s helpful to write them down, and then over time as you read and trust His word you’ll start to get answers one by one.
We are also to have our mind changed by the Word of God in order to prove what His will is.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
When you’ve arrived there, you will know very much of what God wants you to do. He may give you a “word of knowledge” about all kinds of things. But what if you’re still not there yet?
Pay attention to your dreams. Joseph was given a dream in his youth about a purpose that God was going to accomplish through Joseph’s life. Though God may have clearly revealed a vision or purpose for your life, it often takes time before it will come to pass, probably because we need time to be surrendered to God and develop our trust and faith in Him and His purpose and will, not our own.
Know your spiritual gifts. Our spiritual gifts, not our natural talents is how God uses us to do ministry. Gifts are motivating and may point to a specific purpose for your life. They may very well point to our life purpose for ministry and or our occupation. For example, Romans 12:6-8 lists the following gifts: ability for prophesy, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading and showing kindness. 1 Cor 12 also lists the gift to: give wise advice, have special knowledge, have great faith, healing, the power to perform miracles, discern of spirits, speak in tongues (unknown languages) and to interpret tongues. If you don’t know your gift, ask God to show you, go online to take an spiritual gift assessment, or ask your pastor for help or resources on discovering your spiritual gift.
Connecting the Dots. Many have written on the topic of knowing God’s will. For example, Henry Blackabee wrote in his book Experiencing God, that we’re to find out what God is already doing and then join him. Others have written about how God can speak through His Word, through His people, through circumstances, through nature, and through the Holy Spirit. The Bible also implies He speaks in a “still, small voice.” That’s why it’s important to spend quiet time seeking Him in His Word.
God often speaks through your circumstances. Sometimes it’s the real obvious things in your life. Just look. What is he saying? What doors are open or closed? You can pray about specific alternative solutions. He can give you a peace or rest to confirm an option, or a lack of peace about an option.
As my wife has faced major decisions, she has often found that God provides her with a few random “dots” of unrelated situations or conversations. As she exercises her faith in pursuing or following through on these while asking “What do you want me to do, God,” God begins to “connect the dots” and creates a clear picture of where He’s leading her. So our job is to be faithful in following through on each “dot” while praying for direction. What “dots,” options or people do you need to follow through with to get your answer? God makes it clear when we do our part.
Take action in Faith with what you do know, in the face of uncertainty. We all have a measure of God’s wisdom, but have we acted on it? The importance of faith and trust in God when seeking His will can’t be overstated. We are reminded in the Word:
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt… James 1:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
…whatever is not from faith is sin. Rom 14:23
So we need to ask, and then trust and lean on the Lord (alone) and act in faith make decisions that bring peace.
So taking action in faith is an important part of receiving from God. This may indeed be the reason why it’s seems hard for some of us to hear from God. God is watching and waiting on us while we are waiting on God when the answer doesn’t seem 100% clear. Why does God require us to move? Because the bible tells us He’s already given everything we need; Himself!
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,” - Ephesians 3:20
We have the Holy Spirit in us which guides or leads us with “all truth.” But remember, truth is knowing the Word, works and will of Jesus. The Holy Spirit may not always be giving you specific tasks or make your decisions for you. His role is to remind you of the truth of what He has said, and sometimes provide awareness of what is coming.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. John 16:13
If things go bad, we should not ask the “why, God?” question in a spirit of a victim at the hand of God. That is foolishness. Doing that throws out our identity and God’s promises, and may cause us to “wander in our desert” or merely stay paralyzed in a comfort zone all the longer. We can take responsibility for our part in poor “sowing and reaping,” or assign blame on the enemy who steals, kills and destroys, but we do well not to blame or complain to our Father.
Instead, we should take action with the wisdom He’s already provided. God gives us opportunity to mature and grow through our situations and making decisions based what He has already given us. If we know much of His Word but haven’t put it into action, now is the time to work it out in our actions. The bible instructs us to work out your “salvation” with fear and trembling” (if necessary). Work out in practice what God has worked in, even when it’s hard.
…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Phil 12:12-13
Dan Mohler speaks about having a vision of God, sitting on His throne, looking down, and God is looking down at him, asking, “So what are you going to do?” He said he’s had that vision many times. I thought that was funny, because, I have often had the prayer of asking God, “What should I do? It’s totally opposite in Dan Mohler’s experience. This may indeed may be why I have had trouble hearing from God. God has already given us so much revelation of His will. God is asking and waiting on us to move, instead of us waiting on God. This seems odd but it makes sense!
If God is asking us what are we going to do, Dan Mohler says we have to answer with “I’m going to be a man of God, stand in truth, wield God’s word, I’m going to win, Jesus is Lord!!” Take what you already know, especially in your identity, and apply it to the unknown. In other words, after you’ve prayed about it, make a decision. Take initiative! Follow up on the “dots” he’s already given you. Dedicate your steps to God!
See, He doesn’t take the trials away, because the trials are not the issue. The issue is our reliance on God, walking in faith and in what He’s already said. So apply the spirit of Truth and the principles of what you know to your “what do you want me to do God?” trials, challenges and sufferings. When we do we can turn things upside down and victoriously rejoice in them, which then refines our character and produces hope.
And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:2-5
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. Hebrews 11:6