What Is God's Will?


It’s great to ask friends and look for confirmations. But what if God is more concerned with us looking for Him than looking for answers?

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14 (ESV)

I used to think it was crucial for me to know God’s will. If I knew His grand plan for at least this season of my life, then I could direct all my decisions to fall in line.

Maybe you’ve wrestled with some of the same questions I have over the years …

Is it His will for me to stay in this job or change to that one?

Is it His will for me to send my kids to that school or make another choice?

Is it His will for me to teach that Bible study, serve on that committee or go on that mission trip?

When I’m faced with decisions like these, I ponder and pray. I ask friends. I read the Bible. I look for confirmations that point in one direction or the other.

I assume there is one correct choice, and in order to stay in God’s will, I must figure out that exact choice.

That’s a lot of pressure for a simple girl like me. After all, I’m choosing between one good thing and another good thing. So I fret and wonder — which of these things is God’s will?

But what if I’m approaching all of this the wrong way?

What if God's will is simpler than I’m making it out to be?

It’s great to ask friends and look for confirmations. But what if God is more concerned with us looking for Him than looking for answers?

We want big directional signs from God. God just wants us to pay attention.

Yes, pay attention to Him and ask Him what our “Best Yes” is in the midst of all the choices.

Recently I heard a story that shook me to the core. It had been a busy day at a restaurant with lots of customers coming and going. But at one point, a guy came up to the manager and handed her a card. He told her, “This is for your staff.” And with an emotional catch in his throat, he said, “I just wanted to make sure they knew.”

The customer then turned and left as the manager tucked the card into her apron pocket.

A little while later, she had time to open the card.

It was a note directed to the staff, thanking them. It wasn’t for their service or for the food. It was for their smiles.

He explained in the letter that he’d made plans to take his life that day. But their gift of simple conversations with simple smiles gave him the gift of hope.

As I heard the story, I cried.

Something stirred deep inside of me.

I got this overwhelming feeling that this was a beautiful picture of how God’s will works. He intersects our lives with people who need His hope and whispers to us, “You have the hope they need … give it to them.”

Maybe it’s to offer them a little of our time. Maybe it’s to share a little of our story. Or maybe, like with this customer, it’s to simply offer a smile. And when we listen, a shift happens. It’s like the world splits open with each simple act of obedience to God, and His light breaks apart the world’s darkness. This is a “Best Yes.” This is when we’re paying attention.

In our key verse, Matthew 5:14, we’re instructed to be the light to those around us: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” I especially love how Eugene Peterson paraphrases this verse in The Message version: “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept.”

God wants us to let our light shine. This is His will. This is His plan. This is His instruction.

And when we get in the habit of obeying His instruction today, we'll develop a keen awareness of His direction for tomorrow.

The more we pay attention to these moment-by-moment instructions from God, the more our thinking starts to line up with God’s. Our mind gets in a new rhythm of seeing what He wants us to see so that we can do what He wants us to do.

Dear Lord, I want to be a light for You. Show me specifically who needs a little bit of my time, a few kind words, or even a simple smile from me today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Ephesians 5:8, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” (NIV)

Is God’s plan for our lives better than our own plans? Surrendering to God’s will is hard. When life stops turning out how we planned, it’s easy to stop trusting His plan for us is good. But living in God’s will really is the best place to be. Right now, our Thy Will Be Done six-week devotional is free with a gift of your choice. Click here to get your copy!

Learn even more about tangible ways to make God-honoring decisions in the midst of life’s endless demands with Lysa TerKeurst’s book, The Best Yes. Click here to purchase your copy.

Start your day with encouragement from Lysa TerKeurst and the First 5 writing team with our free First 5 app.

Does wanting to know God’s will for you ever feel stressful or confusing? What’s one simple way you can be a light to someone else today? Join in the conversation here.

© 2020 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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