“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
Scripture is quite clear about God’s will: Be saved, Spirit-filled, sanctified, submissive, willing to suffer, and saying thanks. “But what about big decisions?” people often ask. “Shouldn’t I seek the Lord about his will for what job I should take? About whether we should move or stay where we are? About whether we should buy the bigger house or the smaller house? About big decisions like that?”
These questions are based on the assumption that God has a “will” about those things. That he has a preference or plan for what you should do in those specific instances. Scripture does not support that assumption. The bible does not tell us that God has a specific job he wants you to have or place he wants you to live, etc..
God is much more concerned with who you are than where you are. He’s more concerned with why and how you do your job than where you do it.
Nevertheless, rather than doing the hard work of learning to make wise decisions based on the principles of scripture, many Christians employ an odd “mystical method” of asking the Lord to show them what he wants them to do, especially for the big decisions of life. In addition to being highly mystical, this method of trying to “discern God’s will” is also highly dangerous.
First, it’s dangerous because it makes a person vulnerable to being misled by subjective feelings and impulses. It’s easy to misinterpret a “feeling of peace” or an “inner prompting” as a sign of God’s leading, when in reality it is just a feeling the source of which could be many different things.
To employ this technique is to turn inward and attempt to use your emotional state as a reference point for God’s unrevealed will. Wow, that is tricky territory! Does God prompt us from within? Yes, but scripture is clear that our inner self has conflicting emotions (the Spirit vs the flesh; new nature vs old nature), so we must be very careful.
God’s inner promptings are almost always toward obedience to his will as given in scripture, not for revealing his will. God has told us what to do (and not do). We don’t need more info. We need to obey.
“For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” (1 Peter 2.15)
If you are walking in the Lord’s revealed will (saved, Spirit-filled, sanctified, submissive, willing to suffer, and saying thanks), then you are free to make the decision about what to do. The Lord created you to be a decision-maker, he redeemed you to be a decision-maker, and he has called you and sent out into the world to be a decision-maker.
Ask the Lord for wisdom, as James teaches, but don’t ask the Lord to show you exactly what he wants you to do. What he wants is for you to walk with him, use the redeemed mind that he has given to you, think, and make a decision! And the decision of a Spirit-filled Christian will be pleasing to him.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1.5-6)