The 4 Wills of God Author Q&A


Oct 12th

What inspired you to write this book about discerning God’s will?

I learned that in the Bible four passages speak specifically to God’s will. I found this intriguing and encouraging. I knew there was more to God’s will than these four passages, but because they were unparalleled in their specific description, it was as though God was saying to me, “Start here.” For nearly four decades I have tried to live by these. But I also have had the privilege of sharing these with countless folks who came to me as their pastor because they were seeking to discern God’s will for their lives. This is the deepest longing of most Christ followers.

Later as people expressed their excitement about how practical and freeing this information was, not the least of whom was my adult daughter, I realized I could help even more people by putting these ideas in a book for others to read.

What are the four wills of God?

  • Believe in Jesus Christ (John 6:40)
  • Abstain from Sexual Sin (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
  • Give Thanks in Everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  • Submit in Doing Right (1 Peter 2:13-15)

So many Christians have asked the question “What is God’s will for my life?” How does this book help readers understand the answer to that question?

This book helps a person realize the two dimensions of God’s will. First, He has His universal will for all believers in all cultures through all the ages. The four wills in this book, taken from these four scriptures, come under this category of God’s universal will. They are outlined clearly in the Bible, objectively so. I refer to them as the “Thus Saith the Lord” truths in the Bible. That’s why I say we “start here” with the four wills.

However, secondly, God has His unique will for each believer. It is here that most of us find ourselves yearning to discern His personal direction for our lives. Should we take this or that job? Go to this or that school? Marry this or that believer? Attend this or that church? The list of choices is endless. What I point out in the book is how the universal will of God and His unique will connect. The title and subtitle say: The Four Wills of God: The Way He Directs Our Steps and Frees Us to Direct Our Own. In other words, when we follow His four universal wills, as the “Start Here” place on the map, it triggers or activates, so to speak, our experience of God’s unique will for our lives. First John 3:22 captures this reality: “and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” But what if God does not respond personally as we ask for His guidance on whether we should proceed through Door A or Door B?

When we keep His four wills, we can stand confident that we are in the center of His will! As we do these four, in good faith, we can proceed to walk through either Door A or Door B. We are free to direct our own steps. We can relax. We are not missing His will but doing His will each day as we fix our eyes on Jesus, walk in moral purity, give thanks at all times, even during tough times, and do what is right when we could get away with doing wrong. How can we miss God’s will when we are consciously and willfully doing His will? In fact, we can find pleasure in knowing we are pleasing Him. 

How have you grown to understand the four wills of God in your own life?

I have found incredible liberty when not knowing exactly what God wanted me to do among various choices in front of me, or when nothing seemed to be happening like I observed in the lives of other people. I reminded myself, “As I do these four wills, starting here every day, I am in His will.” For example, when I start giving thanks during a frustrating circumstance, like my wife Sarah did when having breast cancer (which I address in the book), I know I am doing His will and touching God’s heart. When I choose to do the right thing though doing the wrong thing can be to my benefit, like lying on an insurance form, I know I am doing God’s will for my life. Again, this has freed me when I struggle with the thought, “Am I really doing God’s will when so many around me give testimony to God’s miraculous leading or healing?” When I know I am doing what is on God’s heart insofar as these four wills, it gives me a sense of confidence, as John states (1 John 3:21). I do not have to lock up and panic like some do who fear they are missing God’s unique will for their lives because nothing much seems to be happening in and through them. My response is, “Oh yes it is when you keep these four wills. In His kingdom, you are bringing Him pleasure. By faith you can have confidence that good and godly things are happening because of you. Relax and trust this. Stay the course on the four wills.” 

What is a better question to ask instead of “What is God’s will for me/my life?”

All of us should ask, “What is God’s will for me?” That is a healthy question. But often we mean, “What is God’s unique will for me?” That question should be asked second. First, we should ask, “What is God’s universal will for me?” That question is best answered with the four wills of God set forth in the Bible. When we “start here” with these four, we can then pray, “Lord, now that I have been following Your four wills, what is Your unique will for me between Door A and Door B?” As I say, “First things first.” We must not get the cart before the horse.

What sets this book apart from other teachings on God’s will?

Hopefully, it achieves three things. One, it ignites a fire in all of us to follow the four wills of God regardless of the pressures and people in our lives. As with Jesus who viewed the doing of God’s Will as His food (John 4:34; 6:38), so I hope this book creates a hunger in all of us to do the universal will of God. Secondly, my prayer is that this book helps us understand what triggers our experience of God’s unique will for our lives. As we follow the four wills, it increases the odds, so to speak, of activating God’s unique will for us.

And, thirdly, I am excited that this book will help a person who is following God’s four wills to relax when they are uncertain between Door A and Door B since God has not uniquely revealed to them which door to enter. They are free to choose the door they wish. They are free to direct their own steps as long as they keep doing His four wills after going through one of those doors.

How do you hope readers grow by reading this book?

One of the dreams I have is that those who read this book will look beyond themselves and catch the vision of counseling and coaching others on these four wills. Through the years, I have found great joy in serving others by helping them to discover God’s will for their lives.