God Has Already Revealed His Plan for Your Life

It doesn't have to be as complicated as we tend to think.

When trying to discern God’s will for our lives, it is tempting to spend all our our time in prayer. God, what do you want me to do with my life? Should I take this job? Should I move to that city? Should I enroll at the school? Should I marry him? Should I break up with her?

The list of prayers could run on till eternity. But what if the key to discerning God’s will for your life was to stop praying so much about it?

I went through a season a few years ago when God was eerily quiet. When I prayed for direction or insight, there was nothing but silence. The conversations typically went like this. Maybe you can relate.

Me: God? What do you think I should do?

God: (silence)

Me: God, I really want to do your will. Can you tell me what that is?

God: (the sound of crickets)

Me: God, will you give me clarity on what I should be doing?

God: (more silence)

Me: God? Are you even listening? I can’t hear you. Will you answer me?

Day after day, the conversations continued in the same fashion. I would ask God for an answer on a decision, and in return, I would hear nothing. I was at a crossroads, and honestly didn’t know what God wanted me to do. I prayed. I sought counsel. I prayed more. God was incredibly silent.

I realized that my issue was not not hearing from God; my issue was relying on God to make me obedient to what He had clearly spoken.

Early one Saturday morning, I snuck away before anyone in my house was awake and went to a favorite spot in downtown Greenville. The Reedy River cuts through downtown and cascades down multiple waterfalls. At the top of the falls are numerous benches and tables. I love to watch the sun rise above the falls and enjoy the quiet of the morning while reading and drinking a latte from a local coffee shop.

As I was reading the Bible that Saturday, I was again struck with the frustration of not knowing what God wanted me to do. I prayed, God, I really want to do your will. And I will do it, but first I need to know what it is. I mean, how could God expect me to do His will if He wasn’t telling me what it was, right?

As I was praying and reading, I was struck by a simple word from the Lord. It was great on the one hand, because it was the first time in months I’d felt anything fresh from God. But it was frustrating on the other hand, because it was nowhere near the level of detail I desired.

God reminded me on the bench overlooking the waterfall that He had already given me many insights into His will.

In fact, I was currently reading part of His will for my life. In front of me, my Bible was open to the book of Philippians. I continued reading, but this time, the words on the page jumped out at me. I heard God say, “You want to know what I want you to do? Start by being obedient to what I’ve already commanded you. I’ve given you a lot to do. I want you to have my attitude and mindset. I want your life to look like mine.”

I looked down and read Philippians 2:14—“Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” It was like an explosion of dynamite. In an instant, God’s Word burst through the fog of silence. God had spoken clearly about what He desired from my life.

I kept reading and wrote down all the actions and commands I could implement immediately in my life, along with the corresponding Scriptures.

After a few minutes of reading and writing, I had pages of decisions and actions I knew would take a long time to implement. I was overcome with joy that God had spoken!

Here are a few of the entries I wrote in my journal:

- Imitate him (Ephesians 5:1).
- Think about what is pure, holy, and right (Philippians 4:8).
- Be joyful (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
- Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- Give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
- Let the word of Christ dwell in me (Colossians 3:17).
- Be kind to the poor (Proverbs 19:17).
- Focus my heart on heavenly things (Colossians 3:2).
- Be kind and compassionate (Ephesians 4:32).
- Be devoted in prayer (Colossians 4:2).
- Live above reproach (1 Timothy 3:2).
- Make the most of every opportunity (Colossians 4:5).

I spent the next few mornings doing the same exercise—reading through Scripture and writing down the things God wanted to be present in my life. I stopped after writing 74 entries, knowing that I had plenty to work on, for God had clearly spoken.

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Then something interesting happened. I had been frustrated with God for so long, but when I read back through my list, I realized I wasn’t coming close to living out what was there.

Was I really imitating Him? Was I always thinking about what was pure, holy and right? I was joyful sometimes, if you didn’t count being stuck in traffic, waiting in slow lines at the airport and paying the bills. I wasn’t praying every day, much less continually. I honestly couldn’t even comprehend the thought of giving thanks in all circumstances. I was thankful sometimes, but in everything? That didn’t make any sense. How was I being kind to the poor? Was I living above reproach and making the most of every opportunity?

After my quick self inventory, I realized that my issue was not not hearing from God; my issue was relying on God to make me obedient to what He had clearly spoken, for all these commands were part of me fulfilling God’s will for my life. Paul encouraged us to “only let us live up to what we have already attained” (Philippians 3:16). God has spoken through His Word, and He continues to do so.

I encourage you to make your own list. Spend time reading through the Bible and writing down how you can implement what you read. When you go through a season of not knowing what God wants you to do, revisit your list and start doing what you’ve written down.

Adapted from Wasted Prayer, Thomas Nelson Publishers (c) 2014. This post originally appeared in January 2016.

Top Comments

Greg Johnson


Greg Johnson commented…

Indeed. Why would God give me a customized prescription when I have not yet quite adequately pursued his basic ABC directions?

A useful scripture search in addition to the items above, is to look for instances of "the Lord wants", or "God's will".

Some directions are unarguably identified as priorities: Matthew 6:33, Luke 10:25-37. Regarding these, Augustine concluded, love God (first and completely), then do as you please.

When I consider almost all Biblical examples of people to whom God gave individualized instructions, I hesitate to ask for a personalized epiphany. "Abram! Road trip!" "Jeremiah, bury some underwear for a long time then wear it as a message to prideful people, who will not respond to your smelly sacrifice." "Mary, you are going to be mother of the Messiah." "Paul! Road trip!"

Steve Cornell


Steve Cornell commented…

Great topic. I like your entries. The truth is that few of us struggle to know God's will on clearly commanded or clearly forbidden issues.

The challenge comes on issues where Scripture doesn't give specific guidance. This is where we are free to make our own decisions -- as we walk in the wisdom revealed in Scripture.

If interested, I suggest 12 essentials to assist you in knowing and doing the will of God. Each one will help keep us in the right place for doing His will.

Each one is about on being -- about who we are -- this is what matters most to God. Being should always be the basis for doing. https://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/how-can-i-walk-in-gods-will-...


Josiah Shank


Josiah Shank commented…

While I do agree that we need not wait on God to speak in order to do his will since it is expressed in scripture, I think we must not forget the Holy Spirit either. He is our helper who guides us in prayer, action and word. Making a list like that is great but we need to realize that any list affects our relationship with the Spirit at work in us. We know the will of God through his word but only experience it through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Brian Sleeper


Brian Sleeper commented…

Proverbs 3:5-6 ... "... in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths."

There it is folks, the most specific scriptural method of "finding His will" for your life.

Levi Carter


Levi Carter commented…

Love all of these thoughts! Great article. I do think there's certainly a place for the guidance of the Holy Spirit also. For example, the Word tells us to preach the gospel in the great commission, but Paul in the course of doing that, was "hindered" by the Holy Spirit from going to a certain city at a certain time (Acts 16:6). In other words the Word of God paints in broad strokes, while relationship fills in the gaps. The Word of God tells us how to live but not where to live; how to treat people, but not who to be in community with. www.theconfessionalblog.com

Marko Requena


Marko Requena commented…

LOVE IT! Our churches need to teach this!

Sometime we make our walk with God way more complicate than what it is. God is asking us to obey Him and trust Him for the rest. I know it is easier said than done, but is still the truth

Jamie Gordon


Jamie Gordon commented…

It is true - all the aspects of how to live out God's will are pointed to us in God's word. While each of us do have our own unique purpose assigned by God - it can be all too easy to want to skip the foundational stages and want to go straight into "the unique task". But, are we getting the foundations in our life right first?

I have heard many quote, "work out your own salvation" - but that is only a small section of the verse, when we really meditate on Phil. 2:12 then we really see what foundations we need to have in our life first before we can begin to "work out our own salvation". God gives basic principles to live by as He guides us into our destiny, without those principles - how can we expect God to reveal any more to us than what has been given in plain text?

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