When we have to make difficult decisions, e.g. a career change or selling a house, it can be quite overwhelming. It often seems easier to hear what God is saying on behalf of others than it is to hear for ourselves when under pressure. Although we all have a unique relationship with the Lord, the Bible gives us safeguards, principles and guidelines that help us discern what God’s will is for us in different situations. As we learn to hear God’s voice in everyday life, we grow in our ability to hear clearer. Cultivating such a lifestyle is a life-long journey, building in us patience, perseverance and faith.
Following are some guidelines that may assist you to discern the will of the Lord.
1. Take time to come into God’s presence
Start by becoming still before God. Spend some time just to worship Him. Don’t be in a hurry. Silence your heart. Surrender to Him.
2. Confess all known sin
Sometimes, we may not be guilty of a specific sin that comes to mind. However, the way we may sometimes come across may have hurt or offended another person. The question is not necessarily how much the other person is at fault, but rather our responsibility to confess our part in wrong behaviour. Also, are you aware of any conscious, unconfessed sin in your life? If so, confess those sins, and forgive anyone who has wronged you. Ask for the Lord’s forgiveness and sanctification.
3. Be specific
Present the matter on your heart before the Lord in prayer. Be specific and ask for a clear answer. Then become still before God. Listen to Him. Write down the thoughts the Holy Spirit put in your heart. You may even have to repeat this step day after day until you have complete clarity of what God is saying.
4. Test what you hear
Do not hurry God in demanding an answer. Be patient. Some of our requests may be answered sooner than others. It is said of the well-known George Müller that he prayed for 11 years about a specific issue before he moved forward! As long as you are still doubting, wait.
5. Seek wise counsel
Do not trust in your own guidance alone. It is wise to share what you hear with a trusted friend or two, asking them to pray with you and discern what will be best to do. (Proverbs 24:6). It is important that what you hear must be in line with the Word. To test something does not imply doubt.
6. Be radically obedient
Once you know what God wants you to do, do it! Repeatedly ask yourself this very important question: Am I willing to obey God unconditionally once I know His will? You have to now take a step of obedience in faith, trusting the Lord with all your heart.
7. Read the Word constantly
When you are filled with the Word, it will better equip you to discern right and wrong.
8. Be filled with the Holy Spirit
Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit daily. Ephesians 5:18: …Be filled with the Holy Spirit...
Article from “Knowing the will of God” by Bennie Mostert