Misunderstanding God’s will is easy to do if we rely on methods which are not based on faith in God and His word. These practices can lead us into both stagnant and sticky situations, ones which we have all probably considered sometime in our spiritual journey. God is not illusive. Let’s remember that God created us to know Him and fulfill His purposes. A few quick references to get you started are Romans 12:2; Jeremiah 29:11; and Romans 8:28.
Here’s some guidance I gleaned from an old reliable Campus Crusade discipleship curriculum. The “Open Door Policy,” going for the 1st option that presents itself, appeals to folks with high closure needs. “I need a car. I prayed asking for guidance. Soon afterwards a friend calls to see if I want to buy his car. It must be God’s will because my friend called right after I prayed.” (Never mind that it’s a lemon my friend has tried to sell for several months)
The “Closed Door Policy” assumes if there is initial resistance to an option, it must not be God’s will or the option God wants. The misunderstanding here is that God’s will is always the path of least resistance. The truth is that God frequently allows difficulty into our lives to mature us and sometimes He wants us to persevere, even when we run into a closed door.
The “Dramatic Experience Policy” finds us seeking a dramatic or supernatural experience to validate God’s will. Sometimes God does that. We may have a burning bush experience. But this is more an exception than a rule. Though we may desire the dramatic to fortify our resolve, more normally His will is spelled out plainly through His principles and commands in scripture.
So where should believers look for direction? This may sound really dull, but often the truth is just “plain truth.” The Bible, God’s written word is our ultimate source of authority. In it we find clear direction for most decisions we face and certainly guiding principles as a frame of reference. Prayer is essential and reliable too. Listen for God to reveal answers, and avoid rushing Him. Other sources which are useful but must be tested against God’s word are impressions from the Holy Spirit, input from mature believers and our own desires. Psalm 37:4 would somehow negate the mindset of “It can’t be God’s will if it’s something I want or something I would enjoy.” Think About It.