Question: Dr. Dobson, if you can't always trust what you feel, how can you know what is right?
Answer: There are at least five ways you can discern the will of the Lord. First, the apostle Paul wrote in the book of Ephesians, "And this is my prayer. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the all-glorious Father, will give you spiritual wisdom and the insight to know more of him" (Ephesians 1:16-17, Phillips). He wouldn't have said that unless it were possible through prayer to gain spiritual wisdom and insight. Therefore, a search for God's will should begin on your knees. He will meet you there. Remember that Jesus promised, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7).
Second, you should examine the Scriptures for principles that relate to the issue at hand. The Lord will never ask you to do anything that is morally wrong or in contradiction to His Word. If what you are considering violates a concept you find in the Word, you can forget it.
Third, it is helpful to seek advice from those who are spiritually mature and solid in their faith. A godly counselor or pastor can assist you in avoiding the common mistakes that confuse many young people.
Fourth, you should pay close attention to what are known as "providential circumstances." The Lord often speaks through doors that open or close. When you begin to be blocked on all sides in a particular pursuit, you might consider the possibility that God has other plans for you. I'm suggesting not that you give up at the first sign of obstacles but that you attempt to "read" the events in your life for evidence of divine influence.
Fifth and finally, do nothing impulsively. Give God an opportunity to speak. Until he does, stall for time and concentrate on the first four approaches.
In addition to these five steps to determine God's specific will, I can tell you now what His general will is for each of us. The Scripture gives all believers the same assignment, and it's called the great commission. We find it in the words of Jesus, who said, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15, KJV). That responsibility applies to all of us. Our task as believers is to tell as many people as possible that Jesus Christ died for our sins and offers eternal life to those who will believe on His name.
So in whatever you do, whether you are a dentist, a truck driver, an artist, a car dealer, or a homemaker, you are expected to use that position as a springboard to witness for the Savior.
From Dr. Dobson's book Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide.