Is there a divine will for every personal decision that we make?
God is interested in our lives because He loves us. He has a specific will for spiritual matters as well as for things that will affect the quality and well-being of our lives. However, there are some decisions that are a matter of personal choice to which God has no particular, active will. Do you paint the wall red or blue? Do you take the bus or a private car? Do you eat potatoes or rice for dinner tonight? God allows us to follow our inclinations and honors our preferences in nonessential areas of life. Children of God should exercise their will without fear within the parameters of God’s general will. If within those nonessential decisions God sees a danger or hindrance, we can trust that He will be faithful to reveal otherwise to us when expedient and necessary.
How do I distinguish between the voice of God, my own thoughts, and the Devil?
Our own thoughts will change with time and may vacillate with emotion, but God’s voice will be consistent. “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand” (Proverbs 19:21). One translation reads: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man.” Our own thoughts bring confusion, doubts, and turmoil. The voice of God brings peace, calm, and assurance and is accompanied by other witnesses. 1 Corinthians 14:33 states: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” While this is referencing the conduct of people in worship service, there is a vital truth that “God is NOT the author of confusion.” When thoughts assail the mind and they bring confusion and more questions, we need to recognize that is not how the Lord deals with us. When God speaks, it brings answers and a recognition of the will of the Lord from deep within the spirit.
The voice of God will always be in sync with His Word, and He will never lead us in a way that is contrary to the fundamental principles of truth. I recall years ago hearing of a minister who had once taught against double marriage. He told his congregation that God had spoken to him and told him he did not have to live single anymore and could remarry. This was clearly not the Lord, as it violated the Scripture. When an impression or leading is different than the Word, we can identify that as not from God and know it is our own thinking or the devil.
Sometimes there are questions as to whether an inner voice is from God or the enemy. Consider Peter when the disciples were in a storm. They were afraid and Jesus identified himself. However, Peter answered, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water” (Matthew 14:28). Jesus confirmed this and Peter was able to walk on the water. When the Lord speaks, the evidence will prove the truth of what was spoken. The Devil is the father of lies, and we can learn to recognize his deceptive voice.
Even when Satan quoted scripture to Jesus, he used partial scripture that was taken out of context. When the Devil speaks, although he may dress up in religious guise, he speaks of things that draw on the lusts of the flesh rather than of things that will bring us closer to God.
When God speaks to us about mistakes, error, or sin, He will also give the solution and the way to rectify the problem. When the enemy speaks, he accuses and disturbs the mind and spirit to bring condemnation without giving an avenue of redemption. Many people live under accusations of the Devil and feel bad a lot of the time; this is not of God, for with true conviction, God offers the solution and accompanying peace.