“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:17
Have you ever wrestled with an important decision because you wanted to do your Master’s will but weren’t sure what it was? If so, you’ve asked Him for guidance or some sort of signal, but you may have not received any clear response. This is a common issue that I have personally faced and which I have had to learn about for my own peace of mind.
The first truth to keep in mind when it comes to discerning God’s will is that there are two kinds that we must concern ourselves with: His general will and His specific will. His general will can be discovered and learned through the Word, and we can always be sure what He wants in regard to these matters. For example, He always wants us to forgive, to be generous, to accept one another as God has accepted us, to honor those in authority, etc. These are things we never have to wonder about but can step out in obedience knowing that it pleases Him. The main challenges in doing God’s general will are:
1) learning the Word well enough to know His will, and
2) choosing to do it even when it’s difficult and costly.
For the question facing us, though, it is the specific will of God we want to deal with, so on we go.
It is absolutely crucial that we recognize that God can be trusted to make Himself understood to those who are honestly seeking to understand. If He has a specific will He wants us to obey, He will communicate that in some way that we can understand. Sometimes it will be through visions or dreams, sometimes through undeniable promptings of the Spirit, sometimes through compelling counsel from godly and wise people, etc. When I was seeking the Lord recently about a very important decision, I made a decision based on what I knew of His general will, then I asked Him to either “confirm or correct” me. He knew I was earnestly and genuinely seeking to do what He wanted, and I had to trust that He would make Himself understood if a change in course was needed. He was faithful, and He confirmed it in wonderful and unexpected ways.
Take comfort from the fact, Disciple, that your Father is not a tease. He will not string you along and expect you to obey Him when He hasn’t told you what to do. It is true that you may have to seek and persevere in seeking, but He isn’t cruel. He’ll never keep His will from you for so long that you miss it. You need only worry if you come to have a clear sense of what He wants from you and you choose to ignore it. That is the situation we must avoid at all costs.
If you do not have a clear sense of what He wants beyond His general will, then do what seems best to you based on that general will. Ask Him to confirm or correct you as needed, and trust that He will. Don’t fear misstepping if you don’t have a clear word from Him. His general will provides a safety for you. The misstep to be concerned with is the one you know you’re making because it violates what you know He wants.
Learning to hear and to trust His voice with you,