Knowing if something is God’s will or not is much simpler than people make it out to be. God wants us to know His will more than we want to know it. He is not hiding His will from us. In fact, the Bible calls not knowing His will unwise!
Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:17
God’s Word is His will. You experiencing all the benefits of the finished work of Jesus is the will of God. This clears up the majority of questions about the will of God.
If Jesus paid for you to have something with His own blood, it is most assuredly the will of God. This would include physical healing, mental and emotional healing, forgiveness of all sin, the gift of righteousness, peace, wholeness, harmonious relationships, financial prosperity, deliverance from evil, protection, and the list goes on and on.
In some situations, what you are wondering about may not be as clearly outlined in the Bible as you’d like it to be. In these situations, we have the Holy Spirit to be our faithful guide. There are some guiding principles that you can use in every situation to determine if something is God’s will.
Here are 5 ways to know for sure if something is God’s will:
1. God’s Will Carries Peace With It
The Holy Spirit leads us with the peace of God. When you think about the decision, there will be an inner peace you have about it.
If you have any lack of peace, this is a red flag to stop and pray more about it. The absence of peace is a clear indicator that it may not be the will of God.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15
This verse is saying to let the peace of God in your heart be the decision maker. If you don’t have the peace of God about it, don’t move forward.
Again in Isaiah it says that you will be led out with peace.
For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; Isaiah 55:12
God’s will always carries peace with it. He is the God of peace (Romans 15:33). You may have experienced situations like this in your life where you made a mistake and then looked back and thought “I knew I shouldn’t have done that. I just didn’t have peace about it.” That was God leading you! Always follow the way of peace.
2. God’s Will Never Violates the Written Word of God
God will never violate His written Word in any situation. This clears up a lot of confusion about the will of God. God says that He has exalted His Word above His own name.
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name. Psalm 138:2
If you are feeling led to do something that is in disobedience to the written Word, you can be absolutely sure that this is not God’s will. This is why it is so important to know the Word of God.
The more time you spend in the Bible, the easier it will become to discern the will of God. I can’t emphasize this enough.
A person who has spent years and years reading and understanding the Bible will almost always know the will of God. There is no shortcut to this, but it is well worth the effort.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
God’s Word shines light on our path so that we can see which way to go. It will lead us in the direction God has for us and keep us from stumbling.
The book of Proverbs is a treasure trove of guidance into the will of God. It contains answers to so many practical situations we face. God’s ways always work as we put them into practice!
3. The Desire for God’s Will Grows As You Seek Him
As you spend time in His presence, seeking His will, the desire for His will in any situation will grow in your heart. The decision that is not in His plan will fade away as you keep your eyes focused on Him.
The book of Psalms says that as you delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of our heart.
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
This means that as you delight yourself in the Lord, His desires become your desires. This has been one of the primary ways I have known the will of God in my life. As I delight myself in Him, I can begin to trust that the desires in my heart are actually His desires for me.
Take a good look at your heart. Is your delight found in the Lord, or in worldly things? Do you want the Lord’s will above everything else? If you do, your ability to discern God’s will will become much easier.
Begin to delight yourself in the Lord by worshiping Him and rejoicing in Him. As you do this, in the process of time, your heart’s desires will become a faithful guide into His will for your life.
4. God’s Will Does Not Violate Love
God is love (1 John 4:8). He does not violate His own nature, nor would He lead you to violate love.
Love is the commandment of the New Covenant. There’s never a situation where God’s will for you would cause harm to your neighbor. This just isn’t the way of God. God has a better way, a higher way that always works. And that way is love.
If what you are making a decision about would violate love, it is not the will of God. But understand that our understanding of what Love is not the same as what true love really is. True love will rebuke a person, true love will warn people when they are headed for destruction (Leviticus 19:17).
Study 1 Corinthians 13 to understand what love really is. Love does not rejoice in equity. Love rejoices in the truth. Love always wants the best for the other person. Love thinks no evil. Love never fails.
5. God’s Will Requires Faith
In my experience, God’s will usually feels like it’s too good to be true. His will for your life is so incredibly good. He withholds no good thing from you.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
Because God is so good, it takes faith to walk in His will. It’s usually better than we could ever deserve, so we resist His goodness for some reason.
Faith will take God at His Word and allow His love and goodness into our lives. Faith believes that He has made us a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), the very righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), and that we are now deserving of all the blessings of the righteous.
It takes faith to believe that God wants to fulfill your desires. He truly does. Not only does He want to fulfill your desires, but He has promised in His Word to do just that.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. Psalm 145:19
And the desire of the righteous will be granted. Proverbs 10:24
Always Seek Counsel
I can’t tell you how many life-altering mistakes could have been avoided if people would obey what Proverbs 11:14 says!
Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14
If you are really unsure about whether or not something is God’s will, seek counsel from mature spiritual people who walk with the Lord. You are not meant to make all decisions by yourself. Ask someone who is more experienced than you if what you are thinking about sounds like God’s will. Ask them to pray about it. A spiritual mentor will be able to confirm what you believe the Lord is speaking to you.
If you choose to isolate yourself and never seek counsel, the Bible says this is because you only want your desire. Perhaps the fact that you don’t want to seek counsel about the situation is a good indicator that you want your own will above the Lord’s.
A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment. Proverbs 18:1
You are not meant to do life alone. Keep in mind, though, that you should choose carefully whose counsel you seek.
Never seek counsel from someone who is not a Bible believer. Preferably it should be someone who has walked with the Lord for many years, who knows the Word of God and follows the Holy Spirit.
This doesn’t mean that they will always be correct, however. You must ultimately do what you truly believe the Lord is telling you to do, but if you follow the principles outlined here then you will become much better at knowing for sure if something is God’s will.