Seven Ways to Know God's Will

  1. The Word
  2. The voice of the Word
  3. Direct revelation
  4. Godly counsel
  5. Open and closed doors
  6. Burdens
  7. Fleeces

Every time of testing and trial and sifting is a time of decision. Now how do you make a decision? For a Christian, what is a decision? What are you trying to find? The will of God! So the question is: How do you find the will of God? Can you think of any good scriptures on the will of God?

The first one that comes to my mind is, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may know what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:1-2).

So what is the first requirement in finding God's will? Having no will of your own. Surrender your will, your body, your mind to the Lord. You say, "I thought you said that everybody has free will, free choice?" Sure, up to the point of decision. But as Christians you're supposed to have already made that major decision. What is that? I choose Jesus. You're supposed to have already chosen to surrender your will to Jesus Christ and let Him make the decisions.

He knows, He loves, He cares,
Nothing His truth can dim.
He gives His very best to those
Who leave the choice with Him.[1]

That may not be a scripture, but it's scriptural--one of my favorite little poems. "He knows, He loves, He cares"--do you believe that? "Nothing His truth can dim"--is that true?

"He gives his very best to those who leave the choice with Him." If you're His child and you're letting Him do the choosing, what's He going to choose for you? He's going to choose that which is the best for you, which will make you happy, right?

But you say, "Yes, but my will is surrendered to God. I have yielded my life to the Lord. I am trusting the Lord, but I still haven't been able to find His will. I'm still confused. I can't even understand the problem, much less the answer!"

If you don't know where to go or how to do it, just get out and start, and He'll lead you. The boat has to be in motion before the rudder can take effect.

How do you find the will of God? What's the first requirement, according to that scripture? That scripture includes three things: Surrender your body, surrender your mind, and obviously, your will. When these are all utterly surrendered to God, God may make you wait a little while sometimes, to find out. But you'll keep busy while you're waiting!

I never in my life, God help me, just sat around waiting on God--not for long, that's for sure. We may stand around here for a few minutes waiting for God to speak, but I never sat around for weeks and months on end. God isn't that slow! He doesn't have that hard a time telling me what to do. Thank God, I'm not that deaf that I don't know when He speaks, and have that hard a time hearing Him and finding out what He wants me to do.

So finding God's will is not just sitting around doing nothing. Keep busy, stay active!

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might" (Ecclesiastes 9:10). The trouble with some people is that they don't find anything to do because they're not even looking. In fact, they've got their eyes shut and they're sound asleep and they don't want to see anything to do.

How to find the will of God? Utter abandonment, utter yieldedness to God--utter yieldedness of the mind, utter yieldedness of the body, utter yieldedness of your own will. Then you'll know. You won't have long to wait when you really have no desires of your own.

I asked some folks last night, "If you had your choice to do anything you want to do for God, or even not for God, what would you do?" "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matthew 6:21). What do you want to do? What really is your choice?

I'm doing exactly what I want to do, what I love to do, and what I know is God's will. I'm right where I belong. I can't think of anything I would like to do better.

The first place we look for the will of God is where? The Word. This is the known, sure, absolute, revealed will of God. This you don't have to doubt at all. This is it! If God never tells you another thing, if you just work according to the Bible, you'll get along great.

If you never get a revelation, if you never hear a voice, if you never hear a tongue, if you never get a prophecy, if you never have knowledge, if you never have wisdom, if you never have discernment, if you never have healing, if you never have miracles, if you'll just operate according to this Word of God, you'll accomplish a whole lot. And you'll probably get all the rest in the bargain, while you're at it.

The seven ways to know the will of God, seven ways to find the will of God: Number one, by the Word of God. Next, by the voice of His Word. What is the voice of His Word?

Have you ever had Him speak directly to you with the voice of His Word? You're reading a passage and all of a sudden some verse or word just--pow!--hits you like that between the eyes. "Wow! That's for me. That's the answer." It was so loud that God couldn't have spoken any more emphatically if He'd yelled it out or screamed it in your ear.

The voice of His Word speaking through the Word. It may have been written for somebody 6,000 years ago, and yet, all of a sudden, it hits you personally, between the eyes. The Holy Spirit grabbed ahold of that arrow and pulled back His bow and whang!--it cut you to the heart. The voice of His Word! "Bless the Lord, ye His angels, that excel in strength, that do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His Word" (Psalm 103:20).

First the Bible, then a specific verse out of the Bible. What do you think would be next, as an indication of the will of God? A direct revelation--a dream, vision, voice, message, prophecy, interpretation.

Sometimes He speaks through one particular verse, just to you personally, by His Spirit. Sometimes He speaks to you directly, even outside of this book. I've found He usually uses scripture. Whenever I ask God for an answer to a problem, I seldom ever have God fail to give me a scripture that He's already got in here some place.

What more can He say, than to you He hath said?
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled.
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith, in His excellent Word.[2]

Some of you don't appreciate the Bible as you should. You've got to have it all spoon-fed. You don't know how to dig it out for yourself--the strong meat of the Word. Some things you've got to work for. "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).

Be sure that direct revelation does not contradict but is in line with the Word of God. You have to measure it. "Try the spirits" (1 John 4:1). Make sure it is according to His Word, direct revelation from God Himself.

His Word, the voice of His Word, direct revelation, what next? "In the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14). Godly counselors, number four.

His Word through godly counselors--those who not only claim to believe the Bible, but whom you see are really practicing it the way you know it ought to be done.--Those who not only are hearers of the Word, but doers also (James 1:22).

If I wanted to know how to play the piano, I wouldn't go to business college. I'd go to a pianist who knows how to play. If I wanted to know how to cook, I wouldn't go to a stenographer--I'd go to somebody who knows how to cook, whose meals I've enjoyed. Godly counselors that bear fruit and produce the goods and you know they mean business.

I don't say that these have to be in this exact order. God may speak to you out loud first, and then you may confirm it with the Word. You may hear the voice of His Word next, and then search the rest of the Scripture and see what He generally has to say about the subject.

What would you make number five? Circumstances. A very poor judge of the will of God, but sometimes an indication. Some people have called this open and closed doors.

Which way does God seem to be leading? Where do you have open doors of service? Where have you got a possibility of a job? Which direction does it seem that God is providing the way and the means? That's one way to find out--the circumstances and the conditions, the open and shut doors.

What would you take next? To know what God's will isn't? That's a pretty good point, but a hard way to find out. I'd make that number eight, while I've just boiled this down to seven. But if you can't find the will of God, go ahead and do something. You will soon find out whether it is or is not! As the old lady said, "I may not know what unction is, but I sure know when it ain't!"

That leads us to number six--the witness of the Spirit; burdens, some people call it. It's kind of a feeling; I don't like to go by feeling, but that may be one of the indications. Sometimes it can be wrong. It can be the wrong feeling from the wrong spirit.

But if it's of the Spirit of God, you'll have an inner conviction--the witness of the Spirit. In your heart you feel you just have faith. You'll just know that's the will of God. You have conviction that that's what you are supposed to do. That still small voice in your heart--maybe not out loud, not an audible, visible sign of some kind, but that still small voice in your heart--that inner conviction (1 Kings 19:12).

The warning of the Holy Spirit or the checking of the Holy Spirit: "Stop, don't do it! Watch out!" Sometimes the Holy Spirit screams so loud in your heart, you don't hear a thing with these ears, but you know what He means.

Sometimes you can specify the kind of revelation you want, and this we call a fleece. Gideon laid one out and said, "Now Lord, if the fleece is wet and the ground's dry, then I know it's You talking to me." But then he wanted to make doubly sure. He said, "Lord, if the fleece is dry and the ground is wet, I'll believe it." And it came that way. (See Judges 6:36-40.) You say, "Now Lord, if You'll do so-and-so"--as I did when I walked in here: I said, "Now Lord, if I open up right to that passage, then I know that's what they need, and that's what I'm going to give them."

I like to get a sign from the Lord that I'm on the right track. That's one way to find the will of God--ask for a sign, for a fleece, some indication.

How to find the will of God? Surrender your bodies as a living sacrifice, that ye may know what is that good and acceptable will of God. Be not conformed to this world and its systems and its usual way of doing things, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind--not the old way, if you're going to accomplish anything (Romans 12:1-2).

"That ye may know"--you'll know. There'll be no doubt about it. If you do something without knowing it's God's will, it's sin. "For whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23).

My mother [Virginia Brandt Berg] used to say, "When in doubt, don't." That's scriptural! "For he that doubteth is damned if he eat" (Romans 14:23). That means he's judged, not lost. He's punished because he went ahead and did something he wasn't sure was the will of God.--Without knowing he was right.

Know you're right, then go ahead. Nothing short of right is right. For "the double-minded man is unstable in all his ways, like the waves of the sea when they cannot rest. Think not that that man shall receive anything from the Lord" (James 1:6-8).

Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve: If God be God, then serve Him. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (1 Kings 18:21; Joshua 24:15).

  1. From the poem "The Master Weaver's Plan" by Benjamin Malachi Franklin, 1882-1965.

  2. From the hymn "How Firm a Foundation" by John Keith, 1787.