How should you go about finding God’s will for your life?

Here’s an interesting question from Tough Questions Answered. (And there’s a poll to vote in)


As Christians we all agree that we want to follow God’s will for our lives, but there are two general approaches to following God’s will that I’ve seen in evangelicalism.

The first approach operates under the premise that God has a specific will for each and every one of our actions and decisions, and that we are obligated to discover what that specific will is.

The second approach operates under the premise that God only specifically wills that we obey his commands as revealed in the Bible, and on issues where the Bible does not speak, we use wisdom.

Here’s an example of what he means:

Let’s say that you are a Christian man looking for a spouse.  You have come to know three wonderful and single Christian ladies and you are wondering which one you should pursue for marriage.

If you are a follower of the first approach, you believe that God has one, and only one, of these women chosen for you.  It is your duty to discover which one of these women he has chosen in order to stay in his perfect will for your life.  If you choose wrongly, you will be outside of his will for your life.

If you are a follower of the second approach, you feel free to pursue any of these three ladies for marriage.  You believe that God will be pleased with any of the three women, as long as you choose wisely.

And you can imagine that this applies to all kinds of things – like what to study, what job to take, and so on.

So what do you guys think? Method 1 or Method 2? Anybody want to guess what my view is? I have a very strong opinion about the right answer to this question.

I’ll give you a hint about which one I like better. If I were explaining the first view to a non-Christian, I would describe it as God hiding Easter eggs for you and then you go through life reflecting on your intuitions and emotions and trying to hear God say “warmer” and “colder” in your ear when you get closer to or farther from his will, (i.e. – God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life).

On the second view, you get dropped behind enemy lines and the lines of communication are cut off. All you have left is the Army Field Manual, a map, and your fellow soldiers. Your job is to act in a way that you think will best achieve the General’s goals, (i.e. – God loves you and you should make a wonderful plan to participate in his plan).

7 thoughts on “How should you go about finding God’s will for your life?”

  1. “If you choose wrongly, you will be outside of his will for your life.”

    That’s exceptionally exclusive. The Bible is full of examples of people who made wrong decisions but yet still God used them to achieve His ends. Samson and David immediately come to mind.


  2. I don’t think either of these views is entirely correct. You can make a mistake and God may still bring you back into His will in other areas.

    I lean more toward the second view, but I don’t believe the lines of communication are completely cut off. That’s what prayer and meditation are for. And the Holy Spirit lives in us (2 Timothy 1:14) so those who are saved in Christ are no longer completely separated.


  3. The second view is correct. The first view is evil and dangerous.

    This is what the LORD commands for Zelophehad’s daughters: They may marry ANYONE THEY PLEASE as long as they marry within the tribal clan of their father. (Numbers 36:6)

    A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry ANYONE SHE WISHES, but he must belong to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:39)


  4. Good Day to All,

    From most of the comments, I take it that many people see this as an either/or choice, but I do not understand why it cannot be an and/also choice.

    For example, God may allow you to choose any one of the three women as your wife, but have a specific and direct plan for you that is different depending on which one you selected. In so doing, this permits you to have the freedom available in Option 2, while holding to God’s specific purposes as in Option 1.



  5. I’m going cheat on this question. ;) I think its a combo of both.

    I think that God both ordains certain things to happen in certain ways at certain time, AND God laid out certain principles on what to do and not do.

    The OT is replete with example after example of God wanting people to do certain things, having a specific woman for Isaac to marry (Genesis 24).

    But by the same token, God has laid out how He wants us to live, what to do and not do. And although not specifically stated so far as I know, scripture also seems to teach man has a free will to decide whether to do what God has asked.

    So I think we have to seek the kingdom of God, learning and applying Godly principles, but we also have to specifically seek what God wants from us or for us. Sometimes its nothing but to follow those principles He has laid out, but sometimes, it is to do or not do a specific thing at a specific time and place.


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