How Can I Know the Will of God?

If I were to make a list of the top five questions asked by believers, this one would rank among the highest.  As believers, our heart's desire is to serve the Lord, but how?  What does He want from us?  What is His will for our lives?  The Bible says that we can't know the mind of God, so is it even possible to know His will?  The answer to that is a resounding "yes."  God is not playing some cosmic joke on us where He expects us to follow His way yet fails to reveal that way to us.  He longs for us to know His will, and He will make it known to us, but over the course of the next few days, I would like to discuss a few things to keep in mind when seeking God's will for your life.

First off, if we want to know what the Lord would have us to do in a particular situation, we need to make sure that we're already doing the things He's told us to do in general.  For example, it we're pleading with God for direction concerning a certain health issue, but we're not eating right and exercising regularly, then what's the point?  God is not likely to reveal new information when we're not following the guidelines He's already outlined in His Word.  In other words, we shouldn't ask or expect step two if we haven't yet followed step one.

The Bible, as a whole, offers guidance on how we should live, but just in case we miss the big picture, there are several passages where God spells out plainly what His will is for our lives.  Here are a few of those passages:

Accept the Gift of Salvation:  

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: - Ephesians 1:7-9

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. - II Peter 3:9

Give Thanks:

 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. - I Thessalonians 5:18

Submit to Authority:

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. - I Peter 2:13-16

Abstain from Sexual Sin:

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; - I Thessalonians 4:3-4

For the most part, these passages explicitly state that "this is the will of God," but any command in Scripture that is directed to the church is the will of God.  After all, it is God's will that we follow His commands.  If the Bible says not to do it, then we shouldn't do it.  If the Bible says to do it, well, then there you go.  That being said, the only way to know for sure what God's Word has to say about His will is to read it, and that's the point we'll cover in our next post.