Wisdom for Discerning God’s Will
by Pam Farrel
“Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be established” -Proverbs 4:26
One of the questions I am asked the most often is, How do I discern the will of God in my life?
In our newest creative Bible study, Discovering Wisdom in Proverbs, I share the 4 C’s I use to determine God’s will for my life.
I Seek Counsel
“Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand” (Proverbs 19:21).
You can investigate what the Bible has to say on most any subject. Ask God for direction; and when He gives you a verse, record it! This way, if things get tough, you can go back and see that God gave you clear counsel.
“In abundance of counselors there is victory” (Proverbs 11:14).
Spend time with those who love you, love God's Word and love helping you find God's will. Mentors, Christian counselors, parents, grandparents, teachers, professors, Bible study leaders and clergy are some who would easily be comfortable helping you discern God's will.
I Listen for the Spirit's Conviction
When you go to Bible college, you learn how to rightly divide God's Word. If it is important to God, God will repeat Himself. I have found that true in my life too. When God is trying to get my attention, I hear the same message from all different sources—in my quiet time, a sermon, a book, magazine or blog, the lyrics of a song, on the radio or podcast or even from the lips of a friend.
I also look for the fruit of the Spirit as I step forward. Sometimes God commands us to take a step in the direction He is leading and then He opens the path of provision. In Joshua 3, the priests are carrying the Ark of the Covenant over the Jordan River into the Promised Land. The Bible says that as soon as their feet touched the river, the water stopped flowing.
Sometimes you must step out in faith and look for the fruit of the Spirit. If you're stepping into God's plan, you will feel and see “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” in your life (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV).
I Ask for Confirmation
You may have heard, ask for “a fleece” or a sign. We can learn a lot from the timid leader, Gideon. God had assured him that if he went into battle for the noble cause He had directed, Gideon would win the battle. But Gideon was afraid. So, he asked God to make Himself very clear:
Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised—look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew—a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew. (Judges 6:36-40)
Our very patient God knows we sometimes need some extra encouragement. When we moved into the pastorate in Southern California, the housing prices escalated $60,000 in six weeks. There was no way we'd qualify for the finances to afford an already-built home. Our only shot at a home was to secure the funds and build it ourselves.
Bill did have experience working as an architectural draftsman and he was very handy at the remodel on our first home, so we both believed he had the skill. But he also knew the huge time commitment building a home would be. He just couldn't see how he could build a home, our family and build a church family at the same time. The more we looked at housing options, the more we felt we should at least pray for the miracle of a home. So, we asked for a fleece. Bill prayed, “Lord, if this is Your will, make it obvious this Sunday at church.”
After the service (where Bill did not mention our fleece) as people exited, the plumber, the cement worker, the roofer, the cabinet maker and a contractor all offered to donate time to build a home—and a parishioner offered to help with the down payment!
I Look at the Circumstances
Sometimes all doors look closed. But Jesus told us this: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Luke 11:9-13).
Sometimes God wants us to knock on a door for a length of time to build passion in our hearts that will carry us forward once the door has been opened by God.
Eventually, if it is God's will, the doors will open. The pieces of the puzzle will form a beautiful picture of your future!
Pam Farrel is the author of 60 books, international speaker and co-director with her husband, Bill, of Love-Wise. They make their home on a liveaboard boat docked in Southern California. Adapted from Discovering Wisdom in Proverbs: A Creative Bible Study Experience by Pam Farrel, Jean Jones, Karla Dornacher (Harvest House Publishers).