…asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding (Colossians 1:9).
John Piper encourages Christ-followers to observe 4 “D’s” when engaged in the process of knowing God’s will for their lives:
: God sovereignly decrees and designs circumstances so that we end up where he wants us to be even if we don’t have any conscious part in getting there.
: This is simply what God does for us by giving us the commands and teachings of the Bible.
: Most of the decisions we make are not spelled out specifically in the Bible. Discernment is how we follow God’s leading through the process of spiritually sensitive application of biblical truth to the particularities of our situation.
: This is the least common means of God’s leading. He simply declares to us what we should do.*
If you’re like me, you’d like to see much more declaration by God in your life – that unmistakable call to follow a specific course of action. Like Moses confronted by the burning bush, or Daniel’s dreams, or Peter’s release from prison ( being authoritatively and insistently instructed by the angel, “Quick, get up!…follow me”) that type of instruction is clear, unambiguous, explicit, tailor-made.
And it happens very rarely.
But let’s be practical: a clear principle for Scripture is that knowing God’s will starts with knowing God. Additionally, as we mature in spiritual wisdom and understanding, we’ll be better equipped to make decisions that are compatible with what He wants for us.
The early church did that individually and in corporate life by engaging in 4 spiritual activities – the 4 principles of Bethel’s Every Supporting Ligament action statement:
- upholding the authority of the Bible in our lives. This will be demonstrated by preaching, teaching and studying the Word of God.
- committing to fellowship; sharing life together horizontally because of our vertical bond with Christ.
- engaging in individual and corporate worship of God, particularly the Lord’s Supper.
- demonstrating an individual and corporate committment to prayer.
Luke summarizes the vocation of the early church this way: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).
God wants His children to know His will. And in looking at Scripture, His will is often very broad: a range of potential opportunities in the life of the one seeking to honour Christ.
But even then, how do I prevent from mistakenly heading off in the wrong direction?
When I commit to the 4 principle activities above, intentionally seeking to honour the Lord, they act as guardrails to prevent me from veering off the road of God’s will for my life.
Takeaway: Knowing God’s will starts with embracing God’s primary declaration for me as revealed in His Word: “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified” (1 Thessalonians 4:3). The process of growing in holiness – of evidencing Christlikeness in our lives – is the primary reason why we are each given another day.
* excerpted from http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/four-ways-god-leads-his-people