Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5–6
Christians want to know the will of God for their lives, and for the most part, what they’re wanting to know is in regards to personal direction, not moral direction. Christians want to know God’s will regarding business and career decisions, marriage decisions, ministry calling, and so on. The moral direction of God is found in God’s law-word. The personal direction for one’s life abides in the secret counsel of the Most High. But will God reveal it?
We can look upon the life of another and think that they know God’s will for their lives, and, therefore, they have a greater purpose than we do. We may feel that if we do not know God’s specific will for our calling, vocation, or some other specific direction—or we feel we missed opportunities—that equates to us having no purpose. Rushdoony disagrees:
Because our lives have failed to develop as we planned that they should does not mean that they are without direction or purpose. As long as we walk in faith, as members of Jesus Christ, we are part of a total plan which makes all things work together for good. And if the Lord has brought defeat to your plans and mine, it is only because He has a better one which must and shall prevail. The Lord directs, and His leadings are sure and infallible.
The Leading of the Lord
When the children of Israel sojourned in the wilderness, their source of guidance was two-fold: first, there was the instruction of God’s law by Moses, and second, there was the national guidance by way of the pillars of cloud and fire—both of which disappeared once they crossed the Jordan river into Canaan.
Once the Israelites were established in their promised land the work of dominion began. There would no longer be pillars to guide them, nor would they receive daily manna or water out of a rock. The “miracles” ceased, if you will, and the more glorious work of establishing the city of God was underway.
What would guide them now? From where would they receive direction? The answer is found in the way they now needed to view themselves. They were no longer former slaves in preparation for God’s work. They were now dominion agents under God, and were now expected to make decisions as rulers under God while being fully informed by God’s law.
Is this not more glorious than being led by bit and bridle through the wilderness? Wasn’t it better to clear the land and grow their food than to receive manna from the sky? Wasn’t it better to dig wells and draw water from the hills and valleys than to have it come out of a rock? Isn’t it better to live and work under the covenant blessing of God than to try and get by on miracle provisions?
God’s Will? Become Dominion Minded
Yet, when modern Christians struggle with the “will of God” for their lives it demonstrates that they are stuck in “wilderness thinking” and are not yet “dominion minded.” They want the pillar of fire to lead them rather than make executive decisions under God based upon minds and hearts soaked in His Word.
Therefore, if you’d like to know God’s will for your life, then it is this: become dominion minded. Grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. Meditate upon His law day and night, and you’ll have all the direction and assurance one could ever need.
What people want is guidance above that of Scripture, but why would God cater too much to our curiosity about His secretive will when we are forsaking the storehouse of all that we need to know for life and godliness? The Scriptures address all areas of life when we take the time to study and meditate upon them and draw out the applications:
The Bible speaks to our total life. The Lord makes clear throughout Scripture what He requires of us. We are plainly and richly guided. The question is this: will we obey? Will we be guided?
Discerning God’s Providential Guidance
Yet, we can learn to discern certain aspects of God’s providence to aid in our pursuing a direction or course in life and calling. This again, however, is not the same as following a cloud through the desert. Discerning God’s providential guidance also requires thought, counsel, and godly wisdom, which again lends support to the fact that we are to act as regents of God.
Let’s use the example of a calling to ministry. How is that discerned? Will there be a sign from heaven? Sometimes, that’s what some are looking for, but one can waste a great deal of time wondering about God’s calling and direction when there is a wiser way. Berkhof is helpful here:
It is sometimes thought that the internal calling to an office in the Church consists in some extraordinary indication of God to the effect that one is called—a sort of special revelation. But this is not correct. It consists rather in certain ordinary providential indications given by God, and includes especially three things: (a) the consciousness of being impelled to some special task in the Kingdom of God, by love to God and His cause; (b) the conviction that one is at least in a measure intellectually and spiritually qualified for the office sought; and (c) the experience that God is clearly paving the way to the goal.
This does not preclude the fact that God can intervene in an extraordinary way whenever He chooses, but for most of us, that is not the case. For most of us, we face a myriad of decisions that should be addressed along the lines addressed by Berkhof. It seems this would quicken the pace of a great deal of Kingdom work if Christians thought and acted this way.
Finally, what we don’t often realize is that our own lives are as much an aspect of God’s providence as anything else we see in creation. In this sense, our own wrestling with our interests, desires, gifts, abilities, and circumstances—while joined to a deep trust and reliance upon God—is just as divine and spiritual as manna falling from the sky.
This is not “leaning upon our own understanding,” because none of this works without our devotion to the law of God. It’s our humanistic understanding which we must forsake, and we can add to that an understanding that’s derived from bad doctrine. To trust in the Lord and acknowledge Him in all our ways is what spiritually empowers our natural efforts. Remember, the Holy Spirit abides within us, and the law is written upon our hearts, so although we are called to be dominion agents we do so in complete trust and reliance upon our Lord.
 R. J. Rushdoony, Good Morning, Friends: A Collection of Weekly Radio Messages by R. J. Rushdoony (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2017), p. 158.
 R. J. Rushdoony, A Word in Season: Daily Messages on the Faith for All of Life, Volume 7 (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2016), p. 134.
 Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: WM. B. Eerdmans, 1941), p. 587.
- Chalcedon Editorial