How do I know if what I want is God’s will for me?
It can sometimes be challenging to know if what we want is what God wants for us. When we feel strongly about something, we can easily deceive ourselves into believing it’s God’s will. That’s why it’s so important to take a step back and allow our emotions to subside and take time to ask the Lord about it.
It’s easy to make decisions based on what we want, think and feel, but we have to be very careful not to be led by our emotions. We need to follow something much wiser and much more dependable―the Word of God.
Hebrews 4:12 (AMPC) says that God’s Word is sharper than any two-edged sword, dividing soul and spirit and judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. In other words, God’s Word gives us wisdom to know right from wrong, and keep our thoughts and attitudes in control. So, the more we read and study God’s Word, the easier it will be to stay on track.
Maybe you are single and have been praying for God to bring your spouse. If you meet someone you are interested in, your mind and emotions can immediately approve! However, the more your emotions are involved, the more important it is to spend time with God to hear what He has to say about it.
This may sound over-simplified, but God knows more than we do. The Bible says His ways are above our ways, and He has a better plan for our lives than we do (see Isaiah 55:8). That’s why we need to be led by the Holy Spirit and not by our feelings, even when we don’t understand.
During my research on emotions, I came across part of a dictionary definition I really like. It says emotions cause us “to excite and to move out." This is so true!
For example, maybe you’re out shopping for a specific item and, in recent weeks, you’ve made a commitment to get out of debt and only purchase things you need. However, while you’re shopping, you discover that many of the stores are having a big sale, taking 50% off all merchandise.
Immediately, you get excited. And the more you look around, the more excited you get. Emotions are rising higher and higher, and now you’re ready to “move out” and take action, despite what wisdom says and despite what you know is the right thing to do.
Satan likes to play on our emotions. He wants us to follow through with our impulses and do things we will later regret. In these cases, God wants us to use wisdom.
Wisdom is doing now what you will be happy with later on. Wisdom says to wait a little while until the emotions settle down, then check to see if we really believe it's the right thing to do. I think this is a good principle to remember: Wisdom says “wait,” while emotions say, “Hurry!”
When you’re making decisions, I encourage you to pay attention to your emotions. If you can, take some time to let your feelings subside and determine what’s really in your heart to do. Ask God to help you make a wise decision you will be happy with later.
Because the Lord says that when we acknowledge Him in all of our ways, He will direct our steps (see Proverbs 3:6).
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