First, to know God’s will we start with an attitude of trust. “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Most of God's will involves that which applies to every believer. These are his standing orders. They are found in the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount and throughout the Bible. We ought to begin there. If we are not faithful in these areas we cannot expect to be able to understand His specific will on a certain issue. This attitude of trust also involves our ultimate intent. Why ask if we are not going to obey?
Second, to know God’s will we must seek Him through the Bible. “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may he thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
This requires devotional reading, deep study and reflection. Tap into the timeless principles of God's Word to understand how it applies directly to our situation.
Third, to know God’s will we must seek Him through prayer. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)
The Holy Spirit impresses us with wisdom, insight, understanding, and discernment. He also gives us inner peace about our decisions. However, we must be tuned into God, to be sensitive to His subtle messages and nudges.
Fourth, to know God’s will we must seek wise counsel. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.” (Proverbs 12:15)
Guidance can come from parents, teachers, pastors, and friends. It is important that we verify our impressions by insuring that other believers concur. We need to be spiritually accountable to others, who in turn offer guidance as we struggle with the path ahead. This is why Christianity is not experienced alone.
This is part of the sermon series “How To Be Spiritually Successful.” It is based on the Masterlife study “The Disciple's Cross.”