What does the Bible say about finding God’s personal will for your life? And how can you know what God’s will is for you if you don’t have an exact Bible verse to refer to and you can’t hear anything from God in prayer?
I believe there are basically three different types of God’s will. There is God’s sovereign will, prescribed will, and God’s personal will for individuals.
God’s sovereign will is what he causes to happen regardless of our choices.
God’s prescribed will is what God has told us to do in the Bible. In this sense, God’s will is the same for all of us and we can choose to obey or disobey this type of God’s will.
When it comes to God’s personal will for the individual, this is where everyone’s path will be very different than one another. Of course, even when it comes to God’s personal will for us, he will still speak to us through the Bible by showing us how to live biblically in our personal lives. Additionally, sometimes God will just tell you what he wants you to do in prayer. You will have a strong sense in your heart that God is leading you in a certain direction.
But what should you do when you lack a relevant Bible verse and you can’t get a sense during your prayers for what God is leading you to do in your personal life? Here are three other ways the Lord may direct your path.
1. God Will Often Make His Personal Will Clear to You Through Your Desires
When talking about God’s personal will for your life, we are talking about morally neutral things like if you should switch jobs, if you should move to a new house, if you should date a certain person, or if you should pursue a certain degree at college. You aren’t going to find a direct Scripture reference telling you exactly what to do for things like this and sometimes you won’t be able to hear God say anything really clear to you about these types of decisions in prayer time.
This is when it can be very helpful to look at your own desires. Again, we are not talking about things that God has spoken about in the Bible. If you have a desire to be in an unequally yoke relationship, or you have a desire to steal, or you have a desire to share the gospel with someone, these are things God has said something about in the Scriptures. It’s God’s will for all of us to not be unequally yoked, to not lie, and to share the gospel.
But there are millions of other little choices we need to make every day. And there comes a few points each year where a big decision needs to be made that isn’t a moral or biblical issue. It’s at times like these when we need to remember that we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). God willed things to happen. He’s a creating God (See Genesis 1).
Likewise, God designed you to be the master of certain things in your life (Genesis 1:28). What outfit will you wear today? What will you eat for breakfast? Who will you sit by during your lunch break? Where will you go on vacation this year? Should you apply for that promotion? Should you buy a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla?
These are personal preference choices. Certainly pray about them, but if you don’t sense anything, just make the decision based upon your desires. Which one do you want? And then just go with that choice.
2. God Will Often Make His Personal Will Clear to You Through Open Doors
Don’t assume God doesn’t want you to go to college because no college has given you a scholarship. Perhaps he has called you to work and go to college. Don’t assume God doesn’t want you to marry one day because no one has asked you to marry them yet. Perhaps God will lead you to actively build a friendship with someone that leads to marriage one day. Don’t assume God doesn’t want you to get healed if you have not tried all the medical opportunities available to you. Sometimes we are not waiting on God but God is waiting on us to take proactive steps to walk through the doors he will open for us once we get to the threshold of that door.
For example, when the women went to anoint Jesus’ body after the crucifixion, Mark 16:3 states, “And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” These women started walking before they had everything figured out. They just knew they wanted to honor the Lord. They didn’t know if this was going to be God’s will or not. It was entirely possible that they would get to the stone and no one would be willing to help them roll it away. If that happened, they would have been forced to conclude it was not God’s will for them to anoint the body of Jesus. What other conclusion could they have made at that point?
Likewise, God won’t always reveal his whole will to you before you need to know it. But one way you will know something is God’s will is if you have a good desire to do something and then God opens the door for you to do it. If the door remains closed despite your efforts, you have to conclude this is not God’s will for you.
3. God Will Often Make His Personal Will Clear to You Through Wisdom
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. In addition to personal desires and open doors, when you lack clarity about God’s will for you, make sure you are using wisdom.
You may want a new car and you may have an open door to buy a new car, but is it wise to buy a new car right now? You may want to go back to college and you may have an opportunity to go back to college, but if you are right in the middle of raising a family and you lack the time to really add anything else to your plate, is it really wise to go back to college? You may want to marry that person you have only been dating for one month and that person may want to marry you, and there is no biblical command saying you can’t marry someone after dating them only one month. But is it wise to marry someone you barely know?
Wisdom is when we apply knowledge to our lives. When you don’t know what God is really saying, it’s always a good choice to fall back onto wisdom. As Proverbs 14:15-16 states, “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.”