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How do I know what God wants me to do?
Thank you for asking this interesting question. Without knowing you personally, and your situation, it is hard to specifically answer your question. Therefore I am giving you some general advice in this area, though others might suggest different things because the Bible only gives broad principles about this. We need to begin, therefore, by identifying them clearly.
The Bible - God has made known His will in Scripture so that all people should live according to its teachings and principles. The Bible says, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105)
Salvation - we need to be sure we know God through Jesus Christ by placing our trust in Christ as the one who died on the cross for the wrong we have done so we can be forgiven and who has risen from death to be our living Lord and personal Saviour and Friend.
Faith in God's goodness - God wants us to trust in His continual goodness to us, what Christian's call His providence, and enjoy living our lives for Him. God loves us, has a plan for us, and is in control. One implication of this is that God shapes us as we develop - as artistic, or practical, or thinkers, as introverts or extroverts etc. This is an important way in which He helps us to decide some of the big issues in life, like what work will we do well, and what kind of person we might happily marry, or how we might use our leisure time for a hobby. Similarly, in our spiritual lives God gives us gifts of service and wisdom and they will help us decide how to serve Him in the Church.
God's Word tells us, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). If we keep God at the centre we can just get on with life based on the wisdom we develop as we mature.
Prayer for guidance - we should not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God (Ephesians 4:6). When we have done this, we can expect God to direct our paths. Often God will be working in the background, without us knowing what he is bringing about, but sometimes we will sense in our souls the approval of God for a decision we have made. Other times, we will know the withdrawal of God's approval in a decision that is made. Basically, if we say to God, 'Show me your will and I will let you know my response' He won't speak. But if we say, 'Tell me what you want and I will do it' He will! Jesus said, "And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened" (Luke 11:9-10).
Listening to your heart - sometimes we will have doubts about a particular choice being consistent with walking with God in faith. In the Church at Corinth, some people had a problem about eating meat that had been bought from pagan temples by the local butchers because in the temple it had been slaughtered to the honour of a false god. Paul said that for himself he didn't think it mattered but whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (1 Corinthians 14:23). That is an important principle - don't offend against your conscience, but equally develop a strong one by learning from biblical wisdom. Don't just accept having a weak conscience where you take offence at things too easily.
Listening to good advice - the Bible says, without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed (Proverbs 15:22). The bigger the decision, the more we need good advice, and especially when we are younger. Don't just ask people who will encourage you; go to people you respect for their wisdom and who know you well, and who would be able to tell you what you don't want to hear as well as what you do want to hear! I would like to encourage you to speak to a church leader about these issues, for example.
Take notice of the unusual - Sometimes God will give specific visions, dreams or words to people. But usually in life we are free to make choices as long as we keep God in the centre.
In summary, there are a variety of different ways that we can know the will of God, although it may take some time to get used to the calling of God. Regardless, it is important that, when you know God is willing you to do something, you obey.
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
I encourage you to attend a local Bible believing church and speak to the leader about your question. If you want to find a local church, our Church Finder may help you: Find a Church
Please feel free to submit a question to us or to read our answer database: Ask a Question
*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
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