What we need for our decision-making is not new revelation about what God wants us to do. Rather, God’s will requires your obedience to what He has already revealed, along with wisdom to make good choices. James wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all” (James 1:5). God doesn’t merely reveal His plans for our future. Rather, He wants us to seek His wisdom in prayer and His will in the Bible.
Knowing God’s Will Is Not A Feeling
It’s important to not confuse following intuition or feelings in discerning God’s will. Contrary to what our culture says today, our hearts are not reliable guides. They are prone to idolatry and folly. They are infected with evil. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Therefore, we want to be extremely cautious when labeling hunches as the will of God.
How do we hear God and tell His voice from others? The answer is that God speaks to us in the Bible. This gives us a yardstick for assessing every other voice. God speaks to us in Scripture. We speak to Him in prayer. I personally have had very strong “hunches” about what God was doing in my life, only to find by events that I was completely mistaken. This can be very difficult for some to admit.
Waiting Is Part Of God’s Will
Listening to God often means waiting for events or for godly wisdom as you seek to honor Him with your life. Psalm 27:14 tells us, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Often God will providentially open or close a door, asking us to biblically reflect on what is before us and act faithfully, seeking to honor Him and be a help to others.
We hear the expression, “being in the center of God’s will,” which I think should really be replaced by the expression, “obeying God’s Word.” Usually we think we are “in God’s will” when things are going well, when the sun is shining, and we are receiving the things that we want. But God often leads us into difficulty, into trials and hardship. That is often His will, as it was for Paul and Silas who followed a vision to Macedonia only to end up in jail. Were they out of God’s will? They didn’t think so. Nor did they spend time wondering about it. Instead, they went about their work and God used them mightily from their jail cell.
God’s Plans Don’t Look Like Your Plans
God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. But it probably isn’t the plan you have in mind. Unless you were hoping for difficulty and pain and hardship and toil. What you want is probably something like this: success and comfort and temporal happiness. What God is aiming for is glory – His and yours – through the refining of your faith, the transforming of your heart, and the conforming of your life to Jesus Christ. Those are two radically different plans altogether. You can be grateful that God is not going to set aside His plans the sake of yours.
The most significant plan God has, and the one that we ought to pay closest attention to, is the one revealed in Romans 8:28-30. This passage tells us that the burden really does not rest on our ability to perceive God’s plan. It rests on His faithfulness to the plan He has for our salvation, as well as His sovereign ability to bring us through to the destination He has ordained. Paul writes:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”Romans 8:28-30 NIV
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- Portions of this article are excerpts from a posting by Rick Phillips on June 17, 2001. The original article can be found at: https://www.tenth.org/resource-library/articles/does-god-have-a-plan-for-me/#:~:text=Christians%20often%20wonder%20if%20God,clearly%20teaches%20that%20God%20does