God has a specific will for the life of each Christian. It should be our highest purpose to determine just what His will is for us and then to do it, whatever the cost.
In order to know the will of God for our lives, we must first know God Himself. We can never know who we are without first knowing whose we are. We learn to know God as we submit more and more to His lordship, are obedient to His Word, and are led by the Holy Spirit. In direct proportion to our knowledge of God and our submission to Him, we experience the joy of walking in His will: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6).
Commend the inquirer for desiring to seek God’s highest and best for his or her life. Mention, however, that only the child of God can know His direct or specific will for life. Sometimes the non-Christian will express a desire to know the will of God about an important decision or step in life.
Point out that the first step in knowing the will of God is to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Explain “Steps to Peace with God,” – Christian Biblical Counsel: STEPS TO PEACE WITH GOD
For the Christian seeking to know the will of God, suggest some principles for knowing His will:
1. Advise him or her to make right any conduct or relationships that may constitute a barrier against knowing God’s will. Sometimes a romantic or business relationship will have to end, or a specific sin will have to be confessed. Share the section on “Restoration,” – Christian Biblical Counsel: SEEKING FORGIVENESS AND RESTORATION. Emphasize that the way to God can be cleared through confession (1 John 1:9), while the way to others can be cleared, if necessary, through apologies and restitution. “Always . . . have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (Acts 24:16).
2. Encourage a willingness to do God’s will, whatever it may be or whatever it may cost: “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me’” (Luke 9:23).
3. Suggest assembling all the available facts and then filtering all facets and circumstances related to knowing God’s will. Tools for doing this would include the person’s own intellect and common sense, previous experience, and the counsel of godly friends. He or she needs to consider also his or her own gifts and talents.
4. Suggest that the inquirer seek God’s will in the light of revealed Scripture. What principles, commands, or prohibitions apply? Has the Holy Spirit given any motivating verses or promises? “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
5. Urge praying for God’s will to be revealed, and also praying for the spiritual perception to discern it. Isaac’s servant said, “As for me, being on the way, the Lord led me” (Genesis 24:27). “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers” (Philippians 4:6, TLB).
6. He or she must be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, asking, is He moving me toward, or away from, a particular course of action? “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all 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, NIV).
7. Suggest that he or she ask, Am I at peace as I consider the factors involved? Or am I restless and impatient because of uncertainty or inner conflict? “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever” (Isaiah 32:17).
8. Recommend allowing room for faith. According to faith, is this the time to proceed, or stop, or wait? What principles in the Scriptures considered apply to his or her situation? (Recommend that the person record the verse references for further study.) “Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5).
9. As an exercise in practical monitoring of progress, suggest preparing a list under the headings of “pros,” “cons,” and “alternatives.” As the Lord, through His Word and through prayer, gives insight, record those insights under one of those three headings.
10. Pray with the inquirer about any initial steps he or she should be taking to implement the above suggestions.
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. . . . Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:3, 5).
“I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. . . . If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:15, 23).
“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).
The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook; World Wide Publications, 1984, 1996