[This blog series explains how to discern God’s will. Continue on to the full blog series HERE.]

Amazingly, God’s communication to us throughout history has been recorded in perfect form in the Bible. The verbatim words of God are accessible to us in our language! The Bible is the only written text that we can be absolutely sure is the revealed Word of God. Therefore, the only way that you will know for sure that you are hearing God and obeying God’s desires for you is through the intake and faithful application of God’s Word.

The way that stupid sheep learn to recognize the voice of the Shepherd is through sustained meditation on His Word. Consistent practice listening to God’s voice through His revealed Word fine tunes a person, over time, into greater and greater ability to hear God. This is the message of Romans 12:2:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)

In this passage we are commanded to be transformed as Christians by the renewing of our mind. This is one of the awesome benefits of having the Scripture in our language—we can study it as a written text! And it is in this consistent, often laborious, meditation on the text of God’s Word that we learn to hear God’s desires. We “discern what is the will of God” by the renewing of our mind in meditating on God’s written Word.

Tweet this: “We ‘discern what is the will of God’ by the renewing of our mind in meditating on God’s written Word.” @VergeNations

Notice, though, that learning to discern the will of God requires diligence. “That by testing” implies that we must over and over bring our questions, issues, and life decisions to God. This constant returning to God’s Word in study helps us to fine tune our ability to discern God’s will. Therefore, when faced with a practical or weighty decision in life, the first and most productive use of your time will be the study and faithful application of God’s Word. If the Bible specifically speaks to your situation, then study those texts. Learn what they mean and what they do not mean.

When it comes to the question of being called to the nations, the Bible does specifically speak to your situation as a believer! We are commanded to take the gospel to all peoples. In the “five commissions” (Matt 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:45-47, John 20:21, Acts 1:8) there is never any mention of “if you feel called,” “when you’re good enough,” or any other qualifier. We are allowed but one question: “How will I obey?” That could mean sending or mobilizing others, or it could mean going yourself. One thing is certain—we are all called to participate.

If the Bible does not speak specifically to your situation, then try to discover general Biblical principles and wisdom that apply. Interpret your ambiguous situation or questions as much as you can through what is clearly stated in the Bible.

Let’s say you are considering which country to go to. There is no Scripture to direct you in so many words, “Go to X country.” But in searching the Word, we can learn that God desires worship from every tribe, language, people and nation, and that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world to all nations before the end comes (Matt 24:14). That alone could begin to inform your decision significantly, grounding it in the present—where has the gospel not been heard?

Ask yourself if you are investing the necessary time and energy into studying the Bible, that “by testing” you might learn how to discern God’s will.

Photo Credit: Deutsche Fotothek‎ [CC-BY-SA-3.0-de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Next – Am I Called? Knowing God’s Will: Our Own Perspective