The same question has popped up in several places in my life recently: “How do I know that what I am doing is God’s will?” Interestingly, while I’ve heard this question from people before embarking upon a new leg of their journey, I’m actually hearing it more frequently from people who have already committed to a course of action. They felt confident that God was directing them to do X when they started out. However, the road has been difficult, and the end has remained out of sight far longer than they ever imagined, causing them to question whether they are, in fact, walking in God’s will. After all, if they are walking in God’s will, why are they encountering so many obstacles?
Before launching into some ways for helping you verify whether you are correctly discerning God’s will, let me assure you that it is normal to encounter obstacles as you follow God’s will. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if my journey were to be completely smooth, that would cause me to question whether I am actually walking in God’s will. Whatever God has called me to do is furthering His Kingdom purposes, which Satan wants to thwart. Thus, I expect opposition whenever I am following God’s will.
Think about the obstacles that people in the Bible experienced as they were clearly walking in God’s will:
- Pharaoh made life harder for the Israelite slaves when Moses obeyed God to tell Pharaoh to free God’s people
- The king made the furnace seven times hotter for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
- As Nehemiah was completing the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem, he encountered further opposition
- Jesus was mocked and tortured before his crucifixion
We don’t question whether any of these people were doing God’s will, and yet their situations got worse instead of better for a season. We cannot look to our circumstances for reassurance while we are in the middle of doing God’s will: we must remember as our circumstances get harder that opposition is to be expected. Ultimately, Pharaoh did let the Israelites slaves go, the Hebrew boys survived the furnace and did not even smell like smoke, Nehemiah did complete the wall around Jerusalem, and Jesus conquered death and hell!
Now that we know what not to look for as confirmation that we are doing God’s will, let’s discuss where we can find the reassurance we are looking for.
To be continued…
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace under a large question mark. Courtesy Bitmoji.]