In the 2018 NBA Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers had a chance to win Game 1 and take an early lead in the series. The game was tied and JR Smith got the ball with four seconds left in the game. Smith’s teammates screamed for him to pass the ball, so one of them could take a shot to potentially win the game.
But Smith inexplicably dribbled the ball around the court, wasting time until the clock ran out, and the game went to overtime.
Afterwards, a video camera caught Smith telling one of his teammates that he thought the Cavaliers were winning the game when he recovered the ball with a few seconds left. He was wasting time because he thought his team was winning, not tied.
Maybe you can relate to feeling like you were doing the right thing in the moment regarding a decision, a career, or a family matter—only to tragically discover that you were missing some crucial detail, and what you thought was the right thing was actually completely wrong.
Maybe you thought God was calling you to quit your job because a hostile coworker was relentlessly persecuting you and only after quitting did you realize that God wanted to use you to display his unconditional grace and forgiveness to that coworker.
Maybe you prayerfully sought God’s direction on a difficult life decision but felt like God wasn’t responding to your plea for wisdom. You made a decision and later came to regret it, because you realized that God’s silence was His direction to remain still and patient and not rush into action.
Frankly, understanding the will of God can be difficult at times. A lack of strong biblical knowledge can lead us to misinterpret God’s spoken will through His Word. And what about the decisions in life we have to make where the Bible doesn’t give a clear command? How can we find God’s will for us in those matters?
Beyond following the revealed will of God—the clearly spelled out commands, prohibitions and principles for living—I encourage Christians to pray, stay in the Word, talk to mature Christians and wait until the Lord makes things clear.
In the meantime, be encouraged:
The believer has been given every tool needed to find the will of God.
When Jesus first warned His disciples that He would leave them to go to Heaven, Jesus promised not to leave them empty-handed. He told his disciples, “[The Holy Spirit] will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26).
The apostle Paul expanded on this truth when he wrote, “Do not get drunk with wine, … but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). When someone is pulled over for driving drunk, they are charged with “driving under the influence” of alcohol. Paul is urging us to not be under the influence of wine but rather to be under the influence of the Spirit.
A drunk person is effectively surrendering their body and their mind to the influence and will of their drunken impulses. A Spirit-filled person is quite literally surrendering their body and their mind to the influence and will of God. So, let’s tune out the distractions and tune into God’s Spirit, letting Him guide and lead us from the inside.
The believer recognizes the results of following the will of God.
God has clearly declared to us what the will of God looks like when properly lived out in our lives. In two different passages of Scripture, the apostle Paul writes out a list of attributes of the person walking in God’s will. In Romans 12, he writes, “… by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Later in Galatians 5:22-23, Paul writes out the “fruits of the Spirit.”
The truth is, you won’t find one verse in Scripture telling you to go discover the will of God. What God lays out for us in these two passages is the blueprint for the will of God, a blueprint that allows us to daily hold ourselves accountable to His standard.
Do you want to know if you are living in the will of God?
Examine your life. Is it good? Is it acceptable? Is it perfect?
The answer you provide is the only discovery you need.