Knowing God's will can be a difficult part of navigating our faith journey. For instance, I struggled as a high school and college student. Like many other students at that age, I had a hard time knowing what was next. I was under the impression that I had to know exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I had discovered that I could do a number of things well. However, none of those things seemed to be a good career fit for me. So, I struggled.
I didn’t know which college was right for me because I didn’t know what career was right for me. I wanted a clear and unfettered look at God’s will for the rest of my life. That's something most all of us can relate to. We want a precise long-term picture of God’s will for our lives. I believe that the desire to search for God's will in this way finds its roots in our search for a meaningful identity. We want to know who we are in light of who God says we are.
It can be difficult to know what God’s will for your life is. Thankfully, I had a mentor along the way that helped clarify some things for me. His guidance helped to take a lot of pressure off of the big life decisions that I had to make. He pointed out that there are aspects of God’s will for our lives that can clearly be known from the scriptures. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I think it serves to help make the point. While you can't know everything that God wants for you, you can have insight into how he wants you to live your life wherever you are.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified… 1 Thessalonians 4:3
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do….Ephesians 2:10
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you… Matthew 28:19-20
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law…Galatians 5:22-23
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God….1 Corinthians 10:31
There are a bunch of other verses that I could point to, but I think this enough to make the point. I believe that God is much more interested in you being like Jesus than He is in anything else. That isn’t to say that God doesn’t care about who you marry, what college you go to, or what job you take. The larger point is that he cares more about how you do the job you have, how you treat the spouse you have, or how you use the college experience you have.
The Bible highlights the importance of our attitude, motivations, and behaviors in our life circumstances. So much of what happens to us in life is out of our control. What we can control is our response to those circumstances. Therefore, when a decision is to be made, you need to consider how that choice will affect your obedience. God makes it pretty clear that we are to make disciples, to do good works, practice love and kindness, and to honor him in every aspect of your life. Essentially, he wants us to be like Jesus. If the decision hinders you from being like Jesus, then you have chosen poorly.
At the end of the day, you have the freedom to choose which college you attend. Your job choice is up to you. You should use the brain that God has given you to prayerfully consider the options before you. You should use the people that you trust as a sounding board. The bigger and more important question is, “How do you faithfully follow Jesus after the decisions are made?”. God makes that pretty clear to us. So then, you live out God’s will for your life by doing the things you know that he has commanded you to do in His word. I firmly believe that as you seek to be more like Jesus the answers to the other questions you have will, for the most part, fall into place.
Questions for Reflection:
- Do you struggle with knowing God’s will for your life?
- Are you trying to discover what God wants from you in a 10-year plan format or are you more interested in discovering what God wants for you at the moment?
- How do you discern what to do with major life decisions?
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