Discerning The Lord's Will For Your Business


Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”

—James 4:13–15 NLT

During my successful career as operations president of Humana, I received a calling to step down and start my own business. It was a tough decision, but the Lord's will was clear. The day I resigned from Humana, God affirmed my willingness to follow His leading by providing a business partner within an hour after handing in my resignation. Yet as thrilling as that obvious confirmation was, I knew I needed more help than only one other man could provide. In fact, I had two other key people in mind, so I asked for help discerning the Lord's will.

One was so ideal, in fact, that he had just been hired by a competitor. When I called him to propose he come with me instead, he told me there was a moving truck at his house loading up for his relocation. I decided, though, that the final decision wasn’t up to either one of us, so I asked him, “What do you think God wants you to do?”

He called me back the next morning and greeted me with a question: “Where are we going to set up our new office?” My other prospect had similarly taken a new job, but he joined us too. It was a three-way confirmation that we were on track with the Lord's will for the venture.


For executives and other business leaders, the big, number-one reason we must know the Lord's will is that we constantly face decisions. Some are mundane but others can make or break the business. Decisions often have far-reaching consequences for our lives and the lives of those we lead. To complicate the seriousness of good decision-making, many times the climate in which decisions must be made is far from ideal. You’ll probably be familiar with some of the factors that take a toll on effective decision-making:

  • A pressing need for action—urgency even when making potentially

  • momentous choices

  • The heavy weight of potential consequences

  • Inevitable risk

  • The deliciously enticing “up-side” of success

  • Identifying more than one workable solution

  • Quickening degeneration

  • A lack of important information

If we want to build a company and a life true to biblical values, we must set aside our own wills and ultimately bring our wills in line with God's will.


Too often, people overlook the fundamental starting point for discerning the Lord's will for their lives. The biblical reality is that the Lord's will operates on at least two distinct levels. One is what we call His general will, and the other is His specific will. The New Testament adds further detail to our understanding of the general will of God.

Ephesians 5:15–20 clarifies four aspects of God’s general will that apply to business situations.

  1. Avoid Drunkenness

  2. Be Filled with the Spirit

  3. Speak to Each Other with Psalms, and Make Music in Your Heart to God

  4. Give Thanks to God for Everything


No matter what combination of means God uses to reveal His specific will to you—prayer, circumstances, counsel from other believers—you must be willing to accept whatever it is and be diligent in pursuing the answers that come. It does you and your business no good if you make a decision to do as God leads but then don’t follow through. If you don’t stick with it, no one gets to see the glory of God at work.

The more you coordinate your will with the Lord's will, the more you’ll come to appreciate His work in your life and business. He does have a specific plan for your business or organization and a general plan for your life and the world, and the two will not contradict each other. Together, they magnify the reality that the work you’re called to do is sacred.

If you're looking for step-by-step advice on how to discover God's specific vision for you and your business endeavors - we invite you to check out "Dare To Succeed" by Joe Greene. Inside, Joe offers insight into his personal story, how he discovered and achieved God's plan for him, and how you can apply what he has learned in your own life.

Joseph Greene