Picture your life as being a boat.
The open ocean represents the world.
Your desired destination is to be with GOD.
GOD's will represents the straight line, the direct path between you and Him—the shortest path to your desired destination.
On either side of your boat exists the channel of GOD's grace. As Christians, we stay in GOD's grace as we abide in Jesus and walk in the light.
Putting this together, it might look something like this.
In a perfect world, we would stay completely aligned with GOD's will, just like this illustration.
But life isn't perfect. We face numerous forces, internal, external and environmental, which create drift. We move off center, either towards the overly lax or overly rigid edges of GOD's grace. Often this drifting happens without our awareness. Many times, we can only see them in hindsight.
Using the Scriptures as our compass and prayer for GOD's guidance, we continually correct our course, always striving to stay aligned with GOD's will.
When we sin, we realize our sin, confess it to GOD and pray for forgiveness. Though we briefly deviate from GOD's will, we quickly course correct and therefore stay within the channel of GOD's grace.
But, if we aren't careful, we can embrace views or behaviors that cause us to drift towards one of the edges of GOD's grace.
GOD's grace is infinite for those who are trying, but He will never put up with someone who refuses to live as He would have them, choosing to walk in sin without repenting.
If we aren't careful, we become Pharisaical and legalistic or unholy like the pagans and rebellious Jews, neither of which GOD tolerates.
The doctrines (teachings) that we embrace work the same way. If we fail to appropriately consider all of what Scripture teaches, we may embrace doctrines that stop short of everything the Bible says about a topic. The false gospel of easy believism is a great example of this. It fails to consider everything Scripture teaches about having our sins forgiven and maintaining holiness in our life after our conversion.
On the other extreme, if we go too far, we can create rules and restrictions where GOD has not done so, unnecessarily creating fences that restrict the freedom we have in Jesus.
Neither extreme is healthy. The truth is in the middle. That's where we need to be.
I find that, in order to discern GOD's will on a topic, if I can articulate both of these extremes, it helps me locate the proper balance.
I recorded this video to further explain the metaphor and how we can use this concept in our walk with GOD.