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How can I know God’s will for my life?

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March 27, 2019

How can I know God’s will for my life? Why is God’s will so difficult to understand? And, how do I recognize it? Am I supposed to feel something? It is true that the will of God is sometimes difficult to understand but is that because He doesn’t want to reveal it to us? He does want to reveal it! The problem is in our incorrect approach in understanding God’s will. In this video, I will explain what is it that most people do wrong and how we can redirect our approach.

 

Usually, someone seeks God’s will at a specific point in time, when there is a specific decision to be made. When he or she is at a crossroad and needs an answer now, so she looks up, seeks God and is waiting for some kind of emotion or any type of sign and, more often than not, receives no answer. Of course, God doesn’t answer through some sort of emotion. This is a big mistake to fall in. But more importantly, the fact that the person did not receive an answer, does not mean that God did not answer. I will explain this later. But, for now, the problem with such an approach is that the person is seeking a decision, but nothing more. She wants to resolve a problem or take a decision and move on. But thank God she doesn’t receive an answer. This is like someone that wants to buy a car and is worried about the scratch on the door while the engine is falling apart. And she never made it a point to inspect the car! Or someone that is worried about the awkward wall colors of a home but doesn’t realize that the foundation is cracked. In that light, the fact that she did not receive an answer is a mercy from God because it is an indication of a much larger problem.

 

So how are we supposed to approach God’s will then? Actually, that question in itself is the problem. We are not supposed to approach God’s will but we ought to approach God Himself—there’s a big difference. St. John the Beloved says in his first epistle: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life– the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us–that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” Our primary objective as humans is to enjoy God—that our joy may be full. And, as St. John made it very clear, this happens through fellowship with the Holy Trinity.

 

In other words, we can think of God’s will as two concentric circles. The larger one is God’s general will for me, which includes my sanctification and ultimately my salvation through fellowship with the Persons of the Holy Trinity. Now, once I am inside this outer circle, I can get access to the inner circle which is God’s will for my personal life (meaning choosing my spouse, career, etc.).

 

The main problem occurs when someone is trying to access the inner circle but without first getting into the outer one. This is the main cause of frustration one can experience in attempting to know God’s will. But it should not be a cause of frustration, it should be call to repentance. If I don’t have access to the outer circle, it implies that my fellowship with the Trinity is weak. Again, the car engine is falling apart, but I am still worried about the scratches. In other words, if I want to know what my Heavenly Father has in store for me, then I first have to acknowledge Him as my Heavenly Father. Obviously, God wants to reveal His will to us. He is Our Father after all and He has created us to enjoy life in Him. It is non-sense to think that God wants to hide His will. The problem is that often we do not deal with Him as a Father but as a worker that owes us or as a vending machine. So, to know God’s will for my personal life, I need to step deeper and deeper within the outer circle—deep enough to reach the inner one.

 

This concept even applies for the marriage example I spoke about earlier. Think about it. The purpose of marriage is our salvation and sanctification. It is a path to sainthood. It’s purpose is within God and, ultimately, marriage mirrors the Holy Trinity. If someone doesn’t care about sharing in the Trinity, then his marriage won’t be in the mirror of the Trinity regardless if he marries this woman or not. What I am trying to say is this: imagine one person is fortunate enough to marry this great spouse. And things are fine for the first few months but because of his selfish behavior the relationship turns sour. Was it then not God’s will that they got married? That’s the wrong question to ask! It was never God’s will for the spouse to be selfish. The problem, in this case, is not marrying the wrong person. It is the spouse’s superficial knowledge of God. It is the refusal of getting in the outer circle or wanting to remain on the exterior boundaries of that outer circle. In other words, regardless of who this person marries, the marriage will be very difficult. So on what basis, does the person ask for God’s will?

 

In this case, the foundation of the house needs repair! The scholar Origen confirms this understanding, he says: “Our mind is renewed by the practice of wisdom and reflection on the Word of God and the spiritual understanding of his law. The more one reads the Scriptures daily and the greater one‘s understanding is, the more one is renewed always and every day [this leads to stepping into or deepening our position in the outer circle]. I doubt whether a mind which is lazy toward the holy Scriptures and the exercise of spiritual knowledge can be renewed at all. Many people think they know what God‘s will is, and they are mistaken. Those who do not have a renewed mind err and go wrong. It is not every mind but only one which is renewed and conformed (as I say) to the image of God which can tell whether what we think, say and do in particular instances is the will of God or not.”

 

On the other hand, once I am deepening my position within the outer circle, through the sacramental life of the Church and a life of prayer and reading Scripture, there are a few practical tips that could be done to enter the inner circle. First, you can hear God’s voice clearly in times of deep prayer. Every now and then, you will find God answering after these deep prayers in different ways that you understand. The answer will obviously be the same. It will not vary one time from another. In parallel, you will need to do your own research. And, of course, prayer is needed throughout every step of the process. And, God will eventually lead you toward the right decision. Of course, it is recommended to involve your spiritual father throughout the process as well because, as it says in Proverbs: “where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Your spiritual father can also pray with you. However, most of the work needs to be done by you. After all, it is God’s will for you. Why would it be revealed to anyone else? Your spiritual father’s job is to confirm the soundness of your decision. His job is not to take the decision for you.

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