Living in God's will is still a relatively young concept to me, because frankly, until about 7 months ago, I never even considered God's will in my daily life. I was too focused on what I could do to reach my personal goals in life, which, to be honest, was just drinking myself to an early grave.
The tricky part of living in God's will is knowing what that will is. How do you distinguish between your will, and God's will. The first step in staying in God's will, is listening for him to speak to you. That's not to say that you will hear a physical voice from God. The voice of God can manifest in so many ways.
A still, small voice - Some people have compared this to their "conscience" This can be a tricky one, because my own flesh can also speak to me in this way. That's why it's important to look for confirmation in other things.
His Word - God can also speak to us through his word. I have a good example of this. I have always been at odds with Gracie's stepdad, mostly because of my own doings, and I was in my head about it one evening after Gracie told me something he had said about me and decided to look up some scriptures about anger. My concordance took me Ephesians. I read 4:26 (Be angry, and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath), and closed my bible to go to sleep, and something pulled at me to keep reading (this is a great example of that still small voice). I opened to Ephesians and continued reading, and I came across Ephesians 6:4, and I knew this was the verse that God wanted me to see immediately. Ephesians 6:4 - And you, Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. This was a good example of the still small voice (asking me to keep reading) followed by confirmation by his word.
Dreams - God uses dreams all through the bible. Joel 2:28 says And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.
Through Others - This is one of the most important ways that God speaks to you. This is also why it's important to listen with all your attention. He doesn't just speak through people that you like either. He can speak through the most unlikely of people. That's why if someone I don't like, or don't know walks up to speak to me, I am attentive and listen for messages from God.
Circumstances - Most often, for me, God speaks to me through circumstances in my life. This is because I'm very hard headed, and sometimes I need things drawn out in crayon before I understand them. I often pray for clarity, or some type of confirmation. I love it when God speaks through circumstances because it's a tangible answer to a prayer, and it often makes my decisions much easier.
When in doubt, simply ask Him in prayer, as I do, to make his will clear. Some of us need an extra push. It's so important for us to understand that just because we go to church each Sunday, and tithe, and give to the needy, does not mean we are in God's will. I feel like a lot of Christians in this world live in a false sense of security about those things. God will is not going to be easy all the time. In fact the Bible promises us that we are going to go through some things. This is because He wants us to come to Him in these times.
So how can we determine if we are in God's will?
We obey His Word - John 14:23-24 says "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father's who sent Me."
We Bear Fruit - "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." John 15:4-5
Things will just work out - Have you ever met one of those Christians that seem to have everything fall in place for them? It's like they can do no wrong. That's most likely because they are in the word of God. It promises us that we will be protected and provided for when we live for God. Psalm 91 speaks on this.
"Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot."
I knew I was in God's will when I was living at John 3:16 Ministries, simple because while I was there, he continued to work things in my life to help me prosper. Once I moved out of there into transition house, I knew I was in His will, because things just fell right into place for me. In fact it was overwhelming just how obvious it was that God was moving in my life.
So, if the world seems to be against you, and it's getting you down, I would strongly suggest prayer, and evaluation of your life, and make adjustments if you need to. God uses closed doors and missed opportunities to guide our steps.
Also don't forget that God has created you for singular purpose for this world. He wants you to fulfill that purpose. 1 Peter 4:10 says "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." His plan for you will always be directly related to the gifts that He has given you. The great news is that you will automatically be good at whatever it is that He has called you to do.
I really hope these help you to determine when you are living God's will. These certainly aren't the only ways to know what God's will is for your life. God speaks to us all differently, so if you are in doubt, seek his will earnestly through prayer, and seek wise counsel. He will make his will clear.
As always, thanks for reading!