SPF 149: How Do We Discover God’s Will for Our Lives?

How Do We Discover God’s Will for Our Lives? This is one of the most asked questions among Christians. Today we are going to learn about a few mistakes we can fall into when trying to understand God’s will as well as 7 principles to help us make decisions.


How Do We Discover God’s Will for Our Lives? This is one of the most asked questions among Christians. Today we are going to learn about a few mistakes we can fall into when trying to understand God’s will as well as 7 principles to help us make decisions.

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How Do We Discover God’s Will for Our Lives?

God has not left us in the dark to grope around and hopefully land on what we are supposed to be doing. The revealed things belong to us and our children! God has given us the Bible provides us with those revealed things and His Holy Spirit that teaches how to rightly apply it to our lives.

Deuteronomy 29:29 says:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Two things on this:

  1. We need to watch ourselves that we are not so eager to discover the secret things of God with no desire for God’s revealed will for our life. He has given us an entire Bible that we might know Him and His will, but we can find ourselves thinking those things are not relevant, or not as exciting or not applicable. 

  2. The Bible is full of commands and principles and precepts to guide us into making wise decisions on things God has not directly revealed to us. That’s why the Psalm 119:105 says your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

John Newton: How to Know God’s Will


What are some of these mistakes that are made when trying to know the will of God?

  1. Casting Lots – Newton reminds us that there is no prescription or promise regarding casting lots to make our decisions now.

  2.  Dipping in the Scriptures – which basically means flipping through the Bible and reading a verse out of context to try and determine God’s will. Newton reminds us that this a practice of heathens – or unbelievers – would do. He said, “They grounded their persuasions of what they ought to do, or of what should befall them, according to the passage they happened to open.”

    1. “Sortes Virgilanae” with is actually Latin for divination by casting lots.

  3.  Remarkable Dreams – “A remarkable dream has sometimes been thought as  DECISIVE as any of the forgoing methods of knowing the will of God. That many wholesome and seasonable admonitions have been received in dreams, I willingly allow. But though they may be occasionally noticed, to play a great attention to dreams, especially to be guided by them, to form our sentiments, conduct, or expectations upon them, is superstitious and dangerous. The promises are not made to those who dream but to those who watch.”

Newton sums up these errors by saying:

“Upon the whole, though the Lord may give to some persons, upon some occasions, a hint or encouragement out of the COMMON WAY, yet expressly to look for and seek His direction in such things as I have mentioned, is unscriptural and ensnaring.”

So how does the Lord Guide?

How can we expect Him to guide us?

Newton answers this question with “In general, the Lord guides and directs His people by affording them answer to prayer, the light of His Holy spirit, which enables them to understand and love the Scriptures.”

“The word of God is not to be used as a lottery, nor is it designed to instruct us by shreds and scraps versus taken out of context, which, detached from their proper places, I have no determinate importance. Rather, the word of God is to furnish us with just principles and right apprehensions, to regulate our judgments and affections, and thereby to influence and direct or conduct.

The word of God dwells richly in them (They who study the Scriptures,) as a preservative from error, light to their feet, and a spring of strength and consolation. By treasuring of the doctrines, precepts, promises, examples, and expectations of scripture in their minds, and daily comparing themselves with the rule by which they walk, they grow into a habitual frame of spiritual wisdom, and acquire a gracious taste, which enables them to judge the right and wrong with the degree of readiness and certainty, as a musical ear judges of sounds. And they are seldom mistaken, because they are influenced by the love of Christ, which rules in their hearts, and buy a regard to the glory of God, which is the great object they have in view.” – John Newton

Helpful questions we can ask when we are making decisions when scripture isn’t complete clear:

(from Sinclair Ferguson’s sermon on Renewing Your Mind: https://renewingyourmind.org/2020/05/12/discovering-gods-will)

  1. Is it lawful?

  2. 1 cor 6:12 – Is this action beneficial? To me? To others?

  3. Will it be enslaving?

  4. Is this consistent with Christ’s Lordship (1 Cor 6:19-20)?

  5. 1 Cor 10:33 Will this be helpful to others?

  6. 1 Cor 11:1 Is this course of action going to be consistent with biblical example?

  7. 1 Cor 10:31 “Is this going to be consistent with the promotion of the Glory of God? – what promotes the glory of God will always be His will.” – Sinclair Ferguson


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John Newton booklet: https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:lDbpK0V1gHoJ:https://chapellibrary.org:8443/api/books/download%3Fcode%3Dhtkg%26format%3Dpdf+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=safari

Sinclair Ferguson’s Sermon: https://renewingyourmind.org/2020/05/12/discovering-gods-will


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