How can I know God’s Guidance?

Question: “How can I know God’s Guidance in my life?”

Bible Answers

God’s will and guidance in our life is manifested through many different channels, of which actually hearing God’s voice, while most desired, is the least often used approach by God to communicate with us.

The Bible only promises two ways that God will guide us - by His Spirit and by His Word.  And to be effective, we really need both. God speaks to us in many ways, but they are all classified as either indirect guidance or direct guidance.

Indirect guidance

In the case of indirect guidance, God guides His people ‘behind the scenes’.  In His sovereign way, God designs circumstances in all things to move His people along the path he has planned for them. He turns our hearts, He guides us, He directs us, He pushes us, and He arranges circumstances so that His desired plan can be accomplished in our lives.

This ‘behind the scenes’ guidance is only visible to us after the event, as we look back on what God has done for us. We know that God is moving for our good, but He normally does not reveal day-to-day details to us in advance.

The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs (Isaiah 58:11).  He leads me in right paths for his name's sake (Psalm 23:3).

God guides us along the path in ways that are beyond our understanding.  In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps (Proverbs 16:9).  We must never underestimate God’s ability to guide us ‘behind the scenes’.  There are many verses in the Bible that demonstrate that God’s will is occurring in our lives when we are not even aware of it.  

For most people, God uses indirect guidance more frequently than direct guidance in perfecting His will in our life.

Direct guidance

The first and most authoritative way God directly guides us is through His Word.  The second most common way is through the inner voice, thoughts, and ideas, than less often through visions, images, dreams, and an audible voice.

The Bible provides specific directions regarding what to do and what not to do. God will normally not answer a prayer about His will that is already disclosed in His Word. It is by developing a foundation in the Word that we will know the will of God in most daily situations.  Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path (Psalm 119:105).  Renewing our mind in the Word is the foundation for knowing God’s will.

God leads through discernment

Discernment is how we follow God’s leading when the Bible does not specifically provide an answer to our question. Romans 12:2 says, Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. As our mind is renewed, it becomes more like God’s mind and our will becomes more like God’s will.   

As our mind is renewed, it becomes more like God’s mind and our will becomes more like God’s will

God leads through the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit.  

God imparts His will through the Holy Spirit in different ways. God may speak to us through the still small inner voice (1 Kings 19:11-12), with a pulling to go left or right, a closed or open door (Rev 3:7-8), a tug in our spirit, a peace in our spirit for one choice over another choice, and a restlessness in our spirit.  God may lead us into His will by giving us an inner assurance of peace.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts (Colossians 3:15). God's inner assurance of peace can be a guide in your heart. This deep-seated, God-given peace comes in spite of the problems of the situation. It is not the same as a normal emotional peace, it's more like God saying, "This is the way, trust Me."

The Holy Spirit lives within our spirit and bears witness with our spirit. This witness is an inner witness or inner voice. Most often we do not hear the inner voice, but we perceive the inner witness in the same way that we perceive our conscience and know if we are doing right or wrong. We also may receive a witness of peace. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). Sometimes we are strongly impressed to do something, or we are hesitant about something. This inner prompting can be the witness of the Holy Spirit. …and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding (Colossians 1:9).

God leads through confirmation of others

We are told to ask the advice of a trusted Christian counselor or friend. A fool thinks that he is always right; wise is the man who listens to advice (Proverbs 12:15). But they need to be mature Christians who are spiritual and do not have a personal interest in the outcome. Family members and best friends may not always be the most impartial advisors.  However, your praying spouse should agree with what you believe God has said.  We can gain great insight and new ideas by discussing our concerns with those who are wise, but always pray about their ideas and suggestions, never just accept them as the will of God, rather use their advice as confirmation of what you believe God has already told you.

Our part in finding God’s Guidance

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:12-13). What does God require when you want to know His guidance? He requires us to seek Him with all of your heart.  Have you made God the most important being in your life? Are you seeking Him with all of your heart?  God has a plan for your life, but you may never know it if you do not seek it.

Faith and timing

We originally came to God by faith and trust.  In the same way, we believe that we will hear God and that God will guide us by faith and trust.  God does not speak to us when we want, but when He wants. Along with having complete faith and trust in God’s provision for us, we need to also have the same faith and trust in God’s timing for our lives.  Trusting our lives to God includes learning to trust His timing for His guidance. Again – trust God’s guidance in God’s timing.

God’s daily guidance

God is actively involved in our daily lives.  He is guiding us day by day.  Many times we are not even aware of His guidance, but we must always be on guard to the source of the guidance as the devil is always trying to misdirect us. Always ask, is this in conformity to the Word of God.

What is the secret to discovering God’s Guidance

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33).  If you set your sights on His kingdom and make that your priority, you will find many of your questions regarding God’s will, will become clear. …and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33b).  A person can be committed to the kingdom of God if the person is committed to God in love, if God is first in his life.


God has a plan for your life that he wants you to know,

For I know the plans I have for you,’ declared the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Receive it by faith.

Next Section - What is the kingdom of God?

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