“If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him” (James 1:5a TLB).
If you want to know God’s will, you need to do a couple of things:
- Admit that you need guidance.We don’t really like to admit when we’re confused. Men especially don’t like to do this! It’s not in my nature to say, “Hey! I’m lost!” and stop and ask for directions. That’s why, when it comes to knowing God’s will, it takes some real courage to admit that we’re confused and need direction. Psalm 25:9 says, “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (NIV). If you’re arrogant and think you’ve got it all figured out, God’s going to say, “Be my guest. Go for it!” I’ve had people tell me, “I’ve been a Christian for 20 years, and I’ve never felt God guiding me.” My response? Maybe it’s because you’ve never admitted that you need it. You go to work assuming that you know what to do without praying about it. You make financial decisions all the time without praying about it. You make vacation plans without praying about them. You make career decisions without praying about it. If you’re single, you ask people out on a date without praying about it. You think you know, but you might want to stop and admit that you need guidance, because it’s the first step in getting God’s will for your life.
- Ask God in faith for directions. The Bible says in James 1:5-6, “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to tell you, for a doubtful mind will be as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (TLB). Notice there are two keys to knowing God’s wisdom. First, you’ve got to ask the right person: God. You don’t ask your manicurist, your bartender, or some other “reliable” authority like a radio talk show host. You have to ask the right person! Then you ask with the right attitude: expecting God to answer. Have you ever asked God to lead you, but you didn’t really expect him to? Sure you have. That’s why you never got anything from it. You must ask expecting an answer. God honors faith, and he promises wisdom for the next step of your life.
Talk It Over
- What are the big decisions you’ve made about your life recently? How did you know it was God’s will? How did prayer affect your decision?
- Who do you go to when you need help discerning God’s will? How does that person point you back to God’s Word and prayer?
- Why do you think God wants you to pray expectantly?