Jollyblogger and others have been essentially saying that there is no such thing as a specific will of God for my life. Quoting Augustine Love God, and then do what you like we are told to simply make our own decisions.
Now it is with great hesitation that I beg to differ with such an august blogger (no pun intended!).
Jollyblogger is right that many Christians today are preoccupied unhelpfully with their own fullfillment, and as a first step I couldnt agree more with the notion- ‘if you want to find out what God’s will is for your life try reading the bible!’ I have heard of pastors having visitors to their study stating ‘God’ had ‘told’ them that they had married the wrong person and should therefore get a divorce. The bibles teaching on divorce is very clear and ‘hearing from God’ is not a biblical ground for divorce.
But decision making is not as simple as what is moral or not.
How then do I believe we should make decisions?
1. Begin with clearly considering all the relevant teaching of the bible on the subject. Is their direct biblical teaching that tells me what I should do? Which of the options before me are most consistent with biblical understanding? Prayer and seeking God to ask him to reveal the truth of his word and its application to your life is important even at this stage.
A biblical understanding should always trump all the other concerns. I suspect that this is what Paul reports in 2 Cor 2:12 ‘When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord, 13 my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.’
Here Paul’s understanding of the importance of teamwork trumped a belief that it was God who had opened the door for him.
2. If 1. does not answer the question I do believe that their is a place for seeking God, and listening to the impressions he places on our hearts. Jesus seems to be describing his own dependence on this process in John 5:19 Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing.” What is good enough for Jesus is surely good enough for me!
It would seem from Eph 2: 10 ‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.’ that there is indeed specific tasks for us to do with our lives.
I see no biblical reason to suggest that events such as seen when Paul and Barnabas are commissioned by the Spirit speaking should not occur today.
Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.
The interesting thing about Paul’s journeys is that such supernatural intervention did not occur all the time, and thus it would seem that he did invlove his own common sense and planning ability in planning his journeys
3. A thorough consideration of the circumstances in which we find ourselves can also often give an indication of God’s leading.
4. Discussion with godly men and women who will be able to confirm the leadings we are feeling.