How to find the will of God



1. The prerequisite: Submit your will to the Lord:

A. Seek His will, not your own:

                Lk.22:42  Not My will, but Thine, be done

                Jn.5:30b  I seek not Mine Own will, but the will of the Father

                Jn.6:38    I came...not to do Mine Own will, but the will of (God)

B. Seek & trust the Lord:

                Psa.37:5  Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him

                Pro.3:6    In all thy ways acknowledge Him, & He shall direct

                Psa.143:10              [Pray:] Teach me to do Thy will...lead me

                Col.1:9    Pray...that ye be filled with the knowledge of His will

C. Sincerely desire to do God's will:

                Psa.40:8  I delight to do Thy will, O my God

                Mat.6:10b              Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven

                Jn.4:34    My meat is to do the will of Him (God) that sent Me

                Eph.6:6   Doing the will of God from the heart

D. As you obey Him, He will reveal His will to you:

                Hos.6:3a Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord

                Mk.4:24,25             Unto you that hear shall more be given

                Jn.7:17    If any man will do His will, he shall know whether

                Rom.12:1,2             Present your bodies a living sacrifice...that ye may prove what is that good...& perfect will of God


2. The Holy Spirit guides us to find God's will:

                Jn.16:13,14             The Spirit...will guide you into all truth...& show you

                1Cor.2:11                The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God

                Jam.1:5   If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God

                (See also Phi.3:15b)

                1Jn.2:27  The same anointing teacheth you of all things


3. The first place to look for God's will is in His Word:

A. The Bible is His written, revealed will:

                Psa.119:105            Word is a lamp unto my feet, & a light unto my path

                Rom.2:18                (Thou) knowest His will...being instructed out of law

                2Tim.3:16               All Scripture is given by...God...for instruction

                (See also Deut.29:29; Psa.119:128; Jn.5:39; Acts 17:11; 1Tim.3:14a,15a.)

B. Warning against not obeying the Word:

                Pro.28:9  He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law

                Isa.8:20   If they speak not according to this light

C. Beware of interpreting it as you please:

                2Pet.1:20                No...Scripture is of any private interpretation

                2Pet.3:16                Unlearned wrest Scriptures to their own destruction

                Isa.28:10 For precept must be (balanced) upon precept...line upon line; here a little, & there a little

                (See also Lk.10:25,26)

D. Read & study the Word carefully:

                Neh.8:8   They read in of God distinctly, & gave the sense (meaning), & caused them to understand

                Mat.9:13 Go ye & learn what that [Scripture] meaneth

                2Tim.2:15               Study...rightly dividing the Word of truth

E. When a verse speaks specifically, directly to you:

                Psa.103:20b           Ye...that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His Word

                Psa.119:130            The entrance of Thy Words...giveth understanding

                Psa.119:133a          Order my steps in Thy Word

                Pro.6:22,23             When thou goest, it (the Word) shall lead thee...when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee

                Lk.24:32  Did not our heart burn within us...while He (Jesus) opened to us the Scriptures?

                Acts 2:37a             When they heard this...were pricked in their heart

F. Pray & ask the Lord to help you understand:

                Psa.119:18              Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law

                Psa.119:34,35         Give me understanding, & I shall keep Thy law

                Pro.2:3-11               If thou...liftest up thy voice for understanding...seekest... then shalt thou find knowledge

                Lk.24:45  Then opened He (Jesus) their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures

G. Ask mature Christians to explain difficult passages to you:

                Acts 8:30-35          Understandest thou what thou readest? How can I, except some man should guide me?


4. God sometimes reveals His will through dreams:

A. Revelatory dreams given to His people:

                Num.12:6                I the Lord...will speak unto him in a dream

                Job 33:15-17          In a dream, He (God)...sealeth their instruction

                Jer.23:28 The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell

                Joel 2:28b               Your old men shall dream dreams (See Acts 2:17b)


B. Old Testament examples:

                God gave Abraham a prophetic message in a dream (Gen.15:12-16); God's warning dream to Abimelech, the Philistine king (Gen.20:2-7); God promised Jacob that He was with him (Gen.28:10-16); Jacob's dream warned him to depart (Gen.31:10-13); Laban warned not to harm Jacob (Gen.31:22-24); Joseph's two prophetic dreams (Gen.37:5-9); Prophetic dreams of Pharaoh's baker & butler (Gen.40:1-13,16-22); Pharaoh's dream of coming famine (Gen.41:17-32); Israel instructed to go to Egypt (Gen.46:1-4); Gideon encouraged to do God's will by hearing dream of barleycake (Judg.7:9-15); Solomon's dream (1Ki.3:5-15); Eliphaz's dream (Job 4:12-21); Nebuchadnezzar's dream of coming world kingdoms (Dan.2:1,28,29,31-45); King's dream & its interpretation given to Daniel (Dan.2:16-19); Daniel's dream of coming world kingdoms (Dan.7:1-28).

C. New Testament examples:

                Joseph's four dreams of instruction & warning (Mat.1:20,21; 2:13, 19,20,22.); Wise men warned in a dream (Mat.2:12); Pilate's wife's dream warned them concerning Jesus (Mat.27:19).

D. Caution regarding determining God's will by dreams:

                Eccl.5:3a A dream [often] cometh through multitude of business

                Eccl.5:7   In the multitude of dreams...are also diverse vanities

                Jer.23:25-27a          "I have dreamed"...deceit of their own heart

                Jer.23:32 I am against them that prophesy false dreams

                Jer.29:8b Neither hearken to dreams ye cause to be dreamed


5. God sometimes reveals His will through visions:

A. A vision is when God flashes a picture in your mind's eye:

                Num.12:6                I the Lord will make Myself known unto him in a vision

                Num.24:4                Falling into a trance, but having his eyes open

                Ezk.1:1    The heavens were opened, & I saw visions of God

                Hos.12:10               I (God) have multiplied visions [to instruct people]

                Joel 2:28 I will pour out My Spirit...young men shall see visions

                Acts 10:9b-11        Peter...fell into a trance, & saw Heaven opened

B. Some Old Testament examples:

                Abraham received prophecy in a vision (Gen.15:1-5); Micaiah's vision of the defeat of Israel (1Ki.22:17,35,36) & of the council around the Lord's throne (1Ki.22:19-23); Ezekiel's visions (Ezk.1:1-4; 8:1,2, 10:1.); Daniel's visions of future events (Dan.8:1,2; 10:4-7); Zechariah's visions (Zech.1:7,8).

C. New Testament examples:

                Archangel Gabriel prophesied to Zacharias (Lk.1:11-13,22); Paul's vision of Jesus (Acts 9:1-7; 26:13-19); The Lord instructed Ananias in a vision (Acts 9:10,11); Paul's vision of Ananias (Acts 9:12); An angel instructed Cornelius (Acts 10:1-6); The Lord instructed Peter with vision of unclean animals (Acts 10:9b-16); Paul's vision of Macedonian man (Acts 16:9); God encouraged Paul in a vision (Acts 18:9,10).

D. Beware of false visions:

                Jer.14:14 They prophesy a false vision...deceit of own heart

                Jer.23:16 They speak a vision of their own heart, & not out of the mouth of the Lord

                Lam.2:14 Thy prophets have seen vain & foolish things


6. The Lord sometimes reveals His will through prophecy & revelations:

A. Prophecy: The Lord speaking through you, or to your heart:

                1Ki.19:12                [God spoke to Elijah in] a still small voice

                Jer.1:9     Behold, I have put My Words in thy mouth

                Ezk.3:10,11             All My Words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears

                Ezk.3:27  I will open thy mouth, & thou shalt say

                Lk.2:26a  It was revealed unto him (Simeon) by the Holy Ghost

                Acts 2:17a             In last days...your sons & your daughters shall prophesy

                Acts 10:19,20        While Peter thought...the Spirit said unto him

                Acts 13:1,2            There were certain prophets...the Holy Ghost said

                1Cor.12:28              God hath set some (prophets) in the church

                (See also Acts 8:26; 1Cor.14:31; Eph.3:3 ,5.)

B. Warnings about false prophecy:

                Deut.13:1-3            [Don't heed prophets which try to turn you astray]

                Deut.18:22             If the thing follow not, nor come to pass...the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously

                Jer.23:21 I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied

                Jer.23:26 They are prophets of the deceit of their own heart

                Ezk.13:6,7               Ye say, The Lord saith it; albeit I have not spoken

                Gal.1:8    Though we, or an angel...preach any other gospel...let him be accursed

                (See also Mat.24:4,5,11,23-26)


7. Seeking counsel:

A. Counselling with others who know the Lord & His Word well:

                Exo.18:25,26           Able men...judged the people

                Deut.17:8-11          If there arise a matter too hard for thee...matters of controversy...come unto the judge

                Pro.11:14                In the multitude of counsellors there is safety

                Pro.15:22                In multitude of counsellors (purposes) are established

                Pro.20:18                Every purpose is established by counsel: & good advice

                2Cor.13:1b             In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established

                (See also Acts 11:22,23; 15:22,32.)

B. Coming to a reasonable agreement:

                Acts 15:25             It seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord

                Acts 15:28             For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, & to us

C. Warnings about not seeking (or not heeding) godly counsel:

                Pro.15:22a              Without counsel purposes are disappointed

                2Chr.10:1-15          Rehoboam...forsook the counsel which the [wiser] old men gave him, & took counsel with the young men

                Acts 27:9-15,21,41                [The sailors rejected Paul's counsel, based their decision on natural reasoning (vs.12,13) & were shipwrecked]

D. Be willing to change plans if God leads otherwise:

                2Sam.7:1-13           [Nathan agreed to David's plan to build a temple, but changed his mind after God showed him otherwise]


8. God often reveals His will by obvious circumstances:

A. God often sets up special circumstances to show His will:

                2Sam.5:22-25         [God gave David a specific sign as to when to rise & attack the Philistines]

                Mk.14:12-16           Go into the city, & there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher...follow him (See also Lk.22:7-13)

B. Sometimes obvious circumstances indicate God's leading:

                1Cor.16:9                A great door & effectual is opened unto me

                2Cor.2:12                When I came to Troas...door opened to me of the Lord

                Rev.3:8   I have set before thee an open door...for thou hast kept My Word

                Lk.10:8,9 Into whatsoever city ye enter, & they receive you, eat

                (See also Mat.10:11)

C. Examples of obvious circumstances:

                Acts 8:30-35          [Ethiopian eunuch requested an explanation of Isa.53]

                Acts 13:7               Sergius Paulus [governor of Cyprus]...called Barnabas & Saul, & desired to hear the Word of God

                Acts 13:14-16        If ye have any word of exhortation...say on (speak)

                Acts 17:18-22        May we know what this new

                Jn.2:1-11 There was a marriage...Jesus was called, & His disciples [His miracle there caused many to believe]

D. Gauging circumstances & conditions, & acting accordingly:

                1Ki.17:1-9               [When the brook Cherith dried, Elijah knew it was time to move on, & God told him where to go]

                Mat.12:14,15a        Pharisees...held a they might destroy Him. When Jesus knew it, He withdrew from thence

                Lk.10:10  In whatsoever city they receive you not, go your ways (See also Mat.10:14)

                Jn.7:1      He would not walk in Jewry...Jews sought to kill Him

                Jn.11:53,54             (He) walked no more openly among the Jews; but went

                Acts 8:1,4              [God uses persecution & adverse circumstances to make you obey if you won't otherwise--See Acts 1:8]

                Acts 14:5,6            There was an assault...they were ware of it, & fled

                Acts 20:3,6            [About to sail from Greece, Paul learned of an ambush & travelled another route instead]

                Acts 27:9,10,         When sailing was dangerous, Paul admonished them

                Acts 27:12-15        [Warning regarding wrongly judging conditions]

E. Circumstances are not always an indication of God's will:

--Sometimes you just need to have faith:

                Exo.14:9-16            [The Red Sea seemed to be an impassable closed door]

                2Ki.7:1,2,18            [Even] if the Lord would make windows in Heaven [to provide food], might this... be? And it came to pass

                Eccl.11:4 He that regardeth the clouds shall not reap

                Jer.1:6,7  [Youthful Jeremiah knew the elders might not listen to him, but was commanded to prophesy anyway]

                Mat.14:15-21         This is a desert...& the time is now [late]; send the multitude away [But Jesus fed them miraculously]

                Mat.15:32-38         Whence should we have so much bread [to feed them]?

F. Have faith & don't "look at the waves" & conditions:

                Mat.14:30,31          When (Peter) saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid... Jesus said, Wherefore didst thou doubt?

                Mk.2:2-5 When they could not come nigh to Him for the (crowds), they (broke up) the roof...& let down the bed

                Lk.5:5      Master, we have toiled all night, & have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy Word I will

                Lk.8:49,50               Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. Jesus (said), Fear not: believe only

                Jn.11:39,40             By this time he stinketh. Jesus saith, If thou wouldst believe, thou shouldst see the glory of God

                2Cor.5:7  For we walk by faith, not by sight

                Heb.11:23-27         By faith Moses [obeyed God]...not fearing the...king


9. Knowing by faith, the "witness of the Spirit":

A. Sometimes God leads you by giving you a strong desire:

--Or you just "feel" led in a certain direction:

                Psa.37:4  Delight thyself also in the Lord; & He shall give thee the desires of thine heart

                Pro.16:1  The preparations of the heart in man...from the Lord

                Pro.21:1  The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord...He turneth it whithersoever He will

                Judg.14:1-4            [Samson desired a Philistine woman] It was of the Lord

B. Beware about insisting on something you want:

                Psa.106:14,15         He gave their request; but sent leanness into their soul

                Num.22:12-22,32   [Baalim--greedy for gain--went with wicked king Balak's messengers]

                2Ki.5:15,16,20-27   [Elisha refused to accept gifts from Naaman, but Gehazi covetously took some & was struck leprous]

                Acts 21:4,10-14,27,33           [Paul determined to go to Jerusalem despite the Holy Spirit's warning, & was imprisoned]

                Jam.4:3   Ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts


10. Determining God's will by confirming signs:

A. Setting a condition for a specific confirming sign:

                Judg.6:36-40          [Gideon & the "sign" of the wet & dry fleeces]

                Gen.24:14               [Abraham's servant set a specific requirement to let him know who was to be Isaac's wife]

                1Sam.14:8-10         But if they say thus...this shall be a sign unto us

B. Fleeces can be inaccurate if options are too restricted:

                Acts 1:23-26          [The apostles cast lots between Matthias & Joseph, but God's choice was Paul--See Gal.1:1]

C. Requiring a "sign" often indicates unbelief:

                Jn.4:48    Except ye see signs & wonders, ye will not believe

D. "Confirming signs" sometimes not given:

                Mat.12:39a             An evil & adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it

                Lk.23:8,9 Herod...hoped to have seen some miracle done by (Jesus)...nothing


11. Sometimes God's will & plans are conditional:

A. What God does often depends upon man's actions & reactions:

                1Ki.21:17-29           [Judgment delayed because Ahab repented]

                2Chr.7:13,14           [If the people repented, God's judgments turned away]

                2Chr.34:24-28        [Judgment delayed because Josiah repented]

                Jer.26:2,3,13           If they turn from evil ways...I will repent of the evil which I purpose to do unto them

                Mat.10:13               If the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it

                Heb.4:6   Some must enter therein, & they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief

                (See also Heb.3:10-12,18,19)

B. Examples of God changing His mind:

                Exo.32:9-14            Moses besought the Lord...& the Lord repented of the evil which He [had] thought to do

                (See also Gen.19:17-21; 2Ki.20:1-6; Amos 7:1-6; Jon. 3:4-10 .)


12. God often gives Christians alternative choices:

A. He lets us choose within the boundary of His overall will:

                1Sam.10:7               Do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee

                2Sam.24:11-15       [David allowed to choose his punishment]

                1Ki.3:5,9,10            [Solomon told to ask God for whatever he wanted]

                1Cor.7:36                Let him do what he will, he sinneth not

                1Cor.10:27              If you to a feast, & ye be disposed to go

B. Our plans should be subject to the will of God:

                Jam.4:13-15            Ye ought to say, If the Lord will...we shall

                Acts 18:21b           I will return again unto you, if God will

                Rom.1:10                Making request, if...I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you

                (See also 1Cor.4:19a; 1Cor.16:7 ; Heb.6:3 .)

C. Be sure you're right before going ahead:

                Rom.14:22b            Whatsoever is not of faith is sin (See also vs.23)

D. In love, consider the effect of your actions on others:

                Rom.14:15              If thy brother be grieved...walkest thou not (in love) 1Cor.8:9 Lest...this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock

                1Cor.8:13                If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh


13. When God does not reveal His will:

A. God's will concealed from the unyielded & disobedient:

                1Sam.28:6,15,16     [When rebellious Saul prayed & enquired of the Lord, He didn't answer him]

                1Ki.22:5-7,19-23    [God sent a lying spirit to deceive wicked King Ahab and hide His true plans from him]

                Jer.4:10   Thou hast greatly deceived this people...saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword [comes]

                Mic.3:4,6,7             He will not hear them...there is no answer of God

                Lk.10:21  Thou hast hid these things from the [worldly] wise

                2Thes.2:10b-12     Because they received not the love of the truth...God shall send them strong delusion (Also Isa.66:4)

B. How not to try to find God's will:

                [Avoid divination, seances & all occult-related mediums: See Lev.20:6; Deut.18:10,11,14; 2Ki.21:6; 1Chr.10:13,14; Isa.8:19; Ezk.21:21; Dan.2:27,28a.]


14. When you desperately require specific directions:

                Psa.73:24                Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel (See Psa.16:7)

                Pro.4:11  I have taught thee...I have led thee in right paths

A. God promises to tell you exactly where to go:

                Psa.32:8  I will instruct thee & teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye

                Psa.37:23                The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord

                Isa.30:21 Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it

B. You must depend upon God to lead you:

                Jer.10:23 The way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps

                Psa.25:4,5               Shew me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths

                Psa.31:3b               For Thy name's sake, lead me, & guide me

                Pro.4:26  Ponder the path of thy feet, & let all thy ways be established

C. The Lord sends His angels to guide you:

                Exo.23:20                I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, & to bring thee into the place which I have prepared

                Exo.32:34                Go...behold, Mine angel shall go before thee

                (See also Gen.24:7)

D. You must seek & pray for His leading:

                Psa.25:4  Shew me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths

                Psa.143:8b             Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto Thee

                Pro.3:5,6 In all thy ways acknowledge Him, & He shall direct

E. Let God lead, even if you don't know where you're going:

                Heb.11:8 Abraham, when he was called to go...obeyed; & he went out, not knowing whither he went (See Gen.12:1)


15. You can count on God's leadings even when--

A. You're discouraged & at wit's end:

                Psa.23:4  Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death ...Thou art with me

                Psa.142:3                My heart was overwhelmed...Thou knewest my path


B. You feel lost:

                Isa.42:16 I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths they that have not known

C. You desperately need guidance in time of danger:

                2Ki.6:8-12               [Elisha warned the king of Israel of the enemies' plans]

                Psa.27:11                Teach me Thy way...lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies

                Psa.78:43-52          [Though Egypt suffered plagues, God] made His Own people to go forth like sheep, & guided them

D. You need a place to stay or eat:

                Psa.107:6,7             They cried unto the Lord...& He led them forth by the right a city of habitation

                Mk.14:12-16           Go into the city, & there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him             (See Lk.22:9-13)

E. You're in a faraway, strange land:

                Psa.139:9,10           In the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall Thy hand lead me


16. The will of God is supreme:

A. God is omnipotent & does whatever He wills:

                Psa.75:6,7               God is judge: He putteth down one, & setteth up another

                Dan.4:17 The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men

                Dan.4:35 He doeth according to His will in the army of Heaven

                Acts 5:38,39          If this of God, ye cannot overthrow it

                Rom.9:15-18           Not of him that willeth...but of God that sheweth mercy

                Eph.1:11b               (God) worketh all things after counsel of His Own will

B. Even seeming "bad" things happen only by God's will:

                Job 2:3-6                [In order to test & purge Job] the Lord said unto Satan, He is in thine hand

                Acts 2:23               (Jesus), delivered by the...foreknowledge of God

                1Pet.4:19                Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him

                (See also Acts 4:28)


17. Rewards for doing God's will:

                Mat.7:21 He that doeth will of My Father...shall enter Kingdom

                Mat.12:50               Whosoever shall do the will of (God) My brother

                Jn.9:31    If any man...doeth His (God's) will, him He heareth

                Jn.15:14  Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you

                Heb.10:36               After ye have done will of God...receive the promise

                1Jn.2:17b                He that doeth the will of God abideth forever

                1Jn.5:14  If we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us


18. God's will on specific subjects:

A. God's will regarding salvation:

                (See Mat.18:14; Jn.1:13; 6:39,40; Eph.1:5; 1Tim.2:4 ; Jam.1:18a; 2Pet.3:9b.)

B. Verses on different aspects of God's will in a Christian's life:

                (See 1Cor.12:11; Gal.1:4; Eph.5:17; 1Thes.4:3; Heb.2:4; 10:10; 1Pet.2:15; 3:17; 4:2,19.)

C. The will of God is the path of life:

                (See Psa.16:11; 23:3; 25:10; Pro.2:8,13,20; 4:11,18; 12:28; Mic.4:2.)



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