This post last updated on November 6th, 2021
In a previous article, I wrote about Following God Without Hesitation, referencing Joshua 3:3 and what I said there was that “we need to determine God’s will and “go after” God without hesitation.” This has brought up a good question in conversation:
How Can I Determine God’s Will for My Life?
A friend once encouraged my wife and I to take on a certain task. One of us mentioned “discerning God’s will” on the matter to which our friend replied, “Simple. I’ll send you an email from God@God.com!” If only it were that clear and simple! Or, is it?
One key point of Joshua 3:3 is found at the end of the verse; “…then you shall set out from your place and follow it.” There aren’t a lot of commentaries on this section of verse 3, but it’s clear to see that this is a command of action. To set out and to follow.
Jesus further simplified it: “Follow Me.”
In this book, author David Platt contends that multitudes of people around the world culturally think they are Christians yet biblically are not followers of Christ. You can order this book from Amazon (affiliate link).
And, as we follow Jesus, we experience transformation. He’s all about not leaving things the way He finds them, and our will is included in the process of transformation. Your will isn’t necessarily bent all of a sudden, but as you grow in Him your will naturally surrenders to His, which is perfect. In other words, you and I no longer live for ourselves when we submit to and follow Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:15).
As Christ begins to live in us, everything begins to change about us.David Platt
What About Making Mistakes?
Yep, we’re going to call the wrong shots, maybe take the wrong steps and sometimes we’re just going to get it wrong. It happens. That’s life in the world, but that does not have to be life in our God. Look at Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Do you see the order here?
- Refuse to be conformed to the world’s way of doing life.
- Submit to the Holy Spirit’s renewal of your mind.
- By testing, you may discern God’s will.
God’s ways are not a mystery. He’s given us the steps, we just have to do it, and it begins with transformation.
Another great truth to keep in mind is, for the believer, the one who is being transformed and submitting to the Spirit, is that there are safeguards God has put in place, such as we find in Acts 16:6-7.
If you and I are actively pursuing the Lord, if we are not letting our Christian walk “just happen,” then we can count on these protections.
Why Is God’s Plan Better?
Time and again we’re reminded of how important relationships are to God. This idea of relationship becomes even more necessary as you and I strive to know God’s will. Without walking in His word regularly, without communing with Him in prayer, we could never hope to know His desires for our lives. And here’s 3 reasons why His desire should matter to us:
- Psalm 136:1-26 and Lamentations 3:22-23 – His love for you and I is unending. There is no one else that can make that claim and prove it.
- Zephaniah 3:17 – Seriously. He does find delight in us.
- Romans 5:8 – While many of us can say we would die for our loved ones, He already did.
It’s Not Going To Be Easy
I can’t possibly provide all of the answers in determining God’s will for your life. I wrestle through this too, second guessing my decisions from time to time and wondering if I’m on the right path. One thing I do look for in my decision making is peace. It’s not always easy to see, but more often than not in my life, the right decisions gave me peace, but have not necessarily been easy.
Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows where the path will lead.Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it like this, “Where will the call to discipleship lead those who follow it? What decisions and painful separations will it entail? Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows where the path will lead. But we know that it will be a path full of mercy beyond measure. Discipleship is joy.”
One other thing I can say is this. A friend recently counseled me on some serious decisions I’m in the midst of navigating right now. His words were, “Look, you’re already making the decisions, so follow through with them. You’ve got your hand to the plow, just keep following through with it!”