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How To Find the Will of God

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Romans 12:2

The will of God is not something we should fret about or agonize over. If we are following God’s written Word and seeking to please Him, we can be sure we are walking in His will.


Frankly, I believe the average Christian who wants to do the right thing thinks finding the will of God is like a game I played with my children when they were young. We would play the game “I Spy.” Now if that game is new to you, the object is simple. When it is your turn, you find some colorful object nearby and then, without looking at it, you say, “I spy something blue” (or red, or green, etc.). Of course, my children wanted to beat their dad at this game, and they would pick something very small. After many failed attempts, I would say, “Okay, we need to play hot and cold.” In other words, the closer I was to guessing the object, the warmer I became.

I would look over here, and they would say, “Cold!”

“Is that it?”


“Is that it?”

“You’re freezing, Daddy.”

So, I would look the other way. As I started to pick out items closer to the object, they would say, “You’re getting warmer … warmer … hot … steaming,” and finally, I would find the object. And it was usually some little scrap of paper on the floor. And I will tell you, they were always so happy that Daddy could not guess it without a lot of help.

Many, many Christians today view the will of God like that game—that God is hiding His will, and we have to be really clever and alert in order to find it. But the truth is, the will of God is not something you discover; it is something God delivers each day as it unfolds. Doing the will of God is doing the next thing—whatever it might be—a next load of laundry or the next Sunday school lesson.

As we sail back into Romans 12, Paul is actually going to give us some guidelines to help us have confidence that we are in the will of God today.

As we saw in our last study, he writes in verse 2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Now Paul adds this: “that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The word translated “testing” is dokimazō, which means “to approve after testing.”[1] In other words, as you go through life, the testing you face proves three characteristics about God’s will. Paul says that you will prove God’s will to be good, acceptable, and perfect.

Paul’s words here take the mystery out of it. It is not a game God has created that only a few Christians will ever win.

So, let’s take a closer look at the three characteristics of God’s will. First, Paul writes, the will of God is good.

To call the will of God good is going to require a renewed mind, according to the first part of this verse. It demands that our lives are being transformed, rather than squeezed into the mold of the world, and our minds are being renewed by biblical principles.

Beloved, considering the will of God to always be good is going to require a biblical perspective, which means it is going to demand trust and faith in the Lord’s plans for your life. Sometimes the will of God seems anything but good.

Think about Joseph back in Genesis 50. When his brothers came to him after their father, Jacob, had died, they expected Joseph to seek revenge and get even with them for what they did to him. They came trembling and fell at Joseph’s feet.

But Joseph delivered what a divine perspective had produced in him. He said to them, “Do not fear . . . you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:19-20). Joseph was saying, “Look, I am in the will of God, and the will of God is good!”

Second, Paul says that the will of God is acceptable. To say the will of God is good demands a divine perspective; to say here that the will of God is acceptable demands a divine goal. The word for “acceptable” can be translated “well-pleasing.” So, what is well-pleasing to God becomes the goal of the believer. This is where the Christian does not want anything in life that does not ultimately please the Lord.

Third, Paul writes that the will of God is perfect. “Perfect” translates the Greek word teleios, which means complete or mature.[2]

It is the same word found in James 1:2-4:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect [teleios—mature] and complete, lacking in nothing.

Spiritual maturity comes from spiritual testing. Maturity is demonstrated under times of testing when we, as believers, understand that God never intended even our suffering to be wasted. God intends it to produce endurance and steadfastness and wisdom.

Now let me offer two principles here about the will of God. First, the will of God is not a matter of revelation; it is a matter of resignation.

We are not to be waiting for some big flash in the sky or handwriting in the clouds to reveal God’s will for our lives. We just need to get up in the morning and say, “Here am I, Lord. Lead me!”

Second, the will of God is not found in a place; it is found in a Person. The will of God is not a game of “I Spy.” The angels are not whispering in the wind—if you are clever enough to hear them—“No, you’re cold, you’re freezing … now you’re getting warmer … warmer.”

If there is a children’s game that fits this discussion on God’s will, it is not “I Spy”; it is “Follow the Leader.” You are not looking for something, or some place; you are following Someone—your Good Shepherd.

Have you ever thought about the fact that we are never compared in Scripture to a herd of cattle that are driven. Rather, we are compared to a flock of sheep who are being led. And, beloved, there is a big difference between being driven and being led.

I remember hearing years ago the story of two young men who were both talented singers. One was a tenor, and the other was a deep baritone. Both were believers and were working on a radio show together, singing Christian music. It was not long before their talents were discovered by the secular world, and both young men were offered lucrative contracts.

One of the men signed the contract and turned his back on the investment of his talent for the glory of God. The other young man did not sign. He said he wanted to use his voice to sing about his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The man who chose the way of the world, I have never even heard of. However, the man who chose to sing for Christ sang before millions of people the world over. His name was George Beverly Shea, the singer who traveled for over sixty years with Billy Graham.

It is not ironic that George Beverly Shea wrote the music to a well-known hymn entitled, “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” And, beloved, this hymn expresses the perspective you should have as you face your day today—as you experience what God has planned for your life, according to His will. Some of the lyrics go like this:

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;
I’d rather be His than have riches untold;
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands.
I’d rather be led by His nail pierced hand

That is what it means to pursue the will of God—that which is good, acceptable, and perfect.

[1] Fritz Rienecker, Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, ed. Cleon L. Rogers Jr. (Regency, 1980), 375.

[3] Rhea F. Miller, “I’d Rather Have Jesus.”

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