How Do You Know When You’re Doing God’s Will?

by Andy Wood on November 2, 2012

in Since You Asked

Do you believe that God has a plan for everybody’s life?  Do you believe that He wants you to know what that plan is?

Ask the average believer and he or she will probably answer, “of course.”  The idea that God has a plan for our lives is right up there with the idea that we have a guardian angel and God wants us to go do heaven.

Ask Henry Blackaby, however, and he’ll probably tell you something different.  The esteemed author of Experiencing God says we get it backwards.  It’s not that God has a plan for my life… it’s that God has a plan, period.  And our task is to align ourselves with God’s plan for the world.

Point taken.  That doesn’t change the fact, however, that those whose hearts are turned toward God have a sincere desire to please Him, and to have confidence that they are following in a path He wants the to follow.

So… back to the question someone asked – How do you know when you’re doing God’s will?  Let me suggest three guideposts you can use to evaluate your life in light of God’s will for you.

Obedience

The simplest way to know you are doing God’s will is to examine whether what you’re doing (or saying or relating to others) is in obedience to God’s will for all believers.  This is revealed in His word, the Bible.  The New Testament is filled with very clear, simple (not necessarily easy) instructions about things like getting along with others, worry, managing money, thinking, talking, working for a living, managing, prejudice, forgiving, and a whole lot more.  You will find things to avoid and things to do.  You will find examples to follow and standards to aspire to.

This is why it is so important to understand what the Bible says and how we are to respond to it.  But pay attention to this… you can “follow all the rules” and still not be in God’s will because you do not have a relationship with Him.  Such a relationship only comes through…

Faith

Two verses speak loudly here.  Paul says in Romans 14:13 that “all that is not of faith is sin.”  Translation:  Regardless if the issue is black, white or gray, if you aren’t responding with confidence in God, you’re not in God’s will.

Then Hebrews 11:6 says that “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  There is no way to be in God’s will without trusting in God’s heart and power.  So one way to know when you’re doing God’s will is to ask yourself, “Am I doing or saying this in dependence on God’s faithfulness and power?”  But it’s possible to convince yourself of your faith and still miss it, if you’re missing what Paul said was the greatest – and that’s…

Love

Interesting.  When the theologians tried to get Jesus to settle an argument over which was the greatest commandment, He didn’t hesitate:

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).

Everything that does anything to keep you in the will of God will have you loving God and loving your neighbor.  And Jesus followed that language in Luke with a definition of who your “neighbor” is – it’s anybody, friend or foe, who has a need.

Putting it All Together

How do you know if you’re in God’s will?  You’re doing God’s will when you’re obeying His word, trusting His heart, and serving the needs of people.

Still not satisfied, are you?

Still waiting for that snowflake from heaven – your individual blueprint for God’s will that makes your situation unique and special and different?

Okay.

Here’s the part I left out…

How do you know if you’re in God’s unique will for you and only you?  You’re doing God’s unique will for you and only you when you’re obeying His word, trusting His heart, and serving the needs of people.

How does that make your situation unique?  Easy.  The Holy Spirit delights in “bringing all things to your remembrance” that Jesus instructed us to do.  He guides each of us into all truth. And He is a master at leading us to unique points of obedience.  Your obedience concern, then, is, “Am I doing what I do as an expression of obedience to the word of God as I understand it?”

The Holy Spirit is always calling us out to trust God. Sometimes it’s a matter of trusting His power.  Sometimes it’s a matter of trusting His faithfulness.  Sometimes it’s a matter of trusting Him with the results of our obedience.  Your faith concern, then is, “Am I doing what I do as an expression of complete trust in God for wisdom, power, and results?”

Finally, the Holy Spirit is actively at work enabling you to express God’s love without conditions or hesitation.  And that love compels you to action when you are responsive to it.  Sometimes the need you meet may be nothing more than being patient with an annoying coworker or child.  Sometimes the need is to haul tree limbs off the neighbor’s house and offer the use of your shower after the storm blows through.  Your love concern, then, is, “Am I doing what I do as an expression of God’s unconditional love?”

Can you see how you can answer those three questions and pursue God’s will and I can do the same, and still we can land in different places, doing different things, using different gifts, meeting different needs?

So.

How do you know when you’re doing God’s will?

You know you’re doing God’s will when you are obeying God’s word as you understand it.

You know you’re doing God’s will when you completely trust Him for the wisdom, strength and results of your actions.

You know you’re doing God’s will when you are motivated by His love.

I guess He really does have a plan for everybody’s life.  And He has a plan for you, right in this moment.

 

(Have a question?  Click on the link above, and leave it there.  I’ll do my best to get you a quick response.)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martha Orlando November 2, 2012 at 10:06 am

Such wisdom here . . . Beautifully expressed!
Blessings, Andy!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post .." . . . You’re an Angel to Me . . ."

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