Understanding God’s Will For Your Life

What is God’s will for your life? What does God want you to do?

In this blog I want to discuss a question that is often on every believer’s mind – what does God want me to do?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from not only guys I teach at the jail, but from Christians on the outside as well, is what does God want me to do? What is His will for my life? Does God want me to go back to school? Take a particular job? Start a family? Am I to go into the ministry? Bible college? What does He want for me?

You know, one very significant sign indicating that you truly belong to God – that you’re saved –  is that you find yourself wanting to please Him. So, the mere fact that you’re trying to find God’s will for your life is a very good and encouraging one. Don’t miss that. Unsaved people don’t generally have a heart to please God.

When we look at Scripture we find many examples of God telling people very specifically what they were to do. Noah, for example, was told to begin a construction project, Abraham was told to move, Ezekiel was told to lay on his side for 430 days. When we read these things we sometimes can walk away feeling frustrated because we’re trying to make a decision and yet God doesn’t seem to be giving us any specific instruction as to what to do.

Let me point out that while the Bible teaches that God did give some people very specific instructions, these instances appear to be the exception rather than the rule. If we were to count the number of times the Bible tells us that God spoke specifically to someone and then divide that by the millions upon millions of people who have been followers of God over the hundreds and hundreds of centuries, we would find that the percentage of times when God was known to have specifically spoken to someone to be exceedingly rare.

Therefore, don‘t become too alarmed if you feel like you’re not getting any specific instruction on some question in your life. As I said, getting a clear, unmistakable command from God is probably the exception, not the rule.

What I want to do in this blog is give some suggestions on trying to understand God’s will for you when you can’t seem to get an obvious word from the Lord.

Let’s say that you’re struggling over a decision. You’re at a fork in the road and you don’t know whether to go with Route A or Route B. You’ve prayed over the decision and can’t seem to get a clear answer.

First, we need to ask if the Bible has anything to say about your decision. I know of a case where a pastor was having an affair with a married woman in his congregation and they both felt that God had brought them together to do ministry. They actually prayed over their relationship and eventually divorced their spouses to marry each other because they felt that’s what God wanted them to do.

They could have saved themselves the breath spent in prayer because the Bible actually forbids adultery. They didn’t have to ask God about this. He had already spoken pretty loudly and clearly about their choice.

So, ask yourself if either of the choices before you have potential to violate obvious commands of God. If one or both of the do then you may want to steer clear of those routes.

But what if it doesn’t violate any plain scriptural command? Then, my next piece of advice would be to discuss your dilemma with others. Try to find people in your life who seem to possess a high degree of wisdom and talk to them. Then listen. Really listen. Oftentimes we already have our minds made up and so we don’t really pay attention to warnings that others might be offering, or we get offended because it’s not what we really want to hear. I find this when I’m doing premarital counseling. I will always ask the groom and bride-to-be about what their friends and family are telling them about their decision to marry. I ask if they’re getting any warnings from anyone. If so, then they need to slow down and listen. The people around us can often have a clearer vision of what’s going on because they aren’t burdened with the emotion of it like we can be.

You see, it may be that God is trying to communicate to you through those closest around you. And remember, don’t just talk to one person. Proverbs tells us that “wisdom is found in a multitude of counselors” (Prov 15:22). Therefore, you want to find out what the collective wisdom is from those around you; those whom you trust; those whom you know love God. I believe that God often speaks to us through the counsel of friends and family. There are people in my life that I seek out to talk with about important decisions before I make them.

But let’s say that the choice you’re considering doesn’t violate any scriptural command, and the counsel you’re getting doesn’t necessarily push you in one direction or another. You’ve prayed about it, but you aren’t really sensing what God is telling you, and there are no obvious road blocks on either path that you are considering. What do you do in that situation?

This is a place that I’ve found myself on a number of occasions. And what I’m going to do is offer my counsel – feel free to take it or leave it. I won’t be offended in the least.

You know I think sometimes we can get very caught up in the notion that there is one special thing that God wants us to do with our lives. That we have an overarching purpose that we have to seek out and then fulfill. It’s as if we have a specific destiny that we must realize. It’s as if we are all Saul on the Damascus Road, knocked down because we are ALL “chosen vessels” and that we ALL have a very particular job to do. Although that may be the case for some people, I just don’t see strong scriptural support to suggest that this is what God has in mind for absolutely every one of us.

One of my favorite passages in the entire Bible is Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O Man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Here we read what God requires of us; that we do justice, love mercy, and that we walk humbly with Him. This is what pleases the Lord. And as you can see, there’s nothing there about what we are to do specifically with our lives. Therefore, I take that to mean that no matter where we find ourselves we can – and should – do those things; do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

The older I get the more I am becoming convinced of this truth. That God may be less excited than we think He is about our vocation, or who we marry, or if we go to college or not. He may not even be as interested as we think He is in whether or not we decide to go into full time ministry. What He iS interested in, I believe, is if we do justice wherever we are, if we love and live out the beautiful mercies of God in whatever vocation we find ourselves, and that we walk humbly with Him in whatever season of life we come to Him.

Let me ask you what do you think pleases God more: a plumber who treats his customers justly, or a theologian who’s a little racist? A mother who is feeding babies and changing diapers all day long and who is kind to those who mistreat her, or a priest of a large parish who can’t let go of some grudges that he has? A television evangelist who preaches to tens of thousands each week and who is puffed up with pride over his accomplishments, or a factory line worker who meditates quietly on the Law of God all day while he assembles widgets?

I think that because of our immense egos that we tend to convince ourselves that God is calling us to some great and lofty position to fill for Him. That we are some kind of key, perfectly cut to turn a very special lock that only we can fit. Instead, maybe God is simply calling us to a faithful, humble walk as parents, business owners, mechanics, painters, or wherever we find ourselves in this life.

If you’re facing a fork in the road, and you can’t seem to get a strong signal from God, maybe the Spirit of God is saying to you today, “Why don’t you pick and then we’ll just walk quietly together on that path?” Maybe God hasn’t spoken loudly about what you’re to do because He wants you to make a choice and then just trust Him deeply in whatever path you choose? Maybe the path you take isn’t as important to God as the way you walk it?

Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly. That’s such great advice for anyone who is wanting to know the will of God for their life.

Dane Cramer is a backpacker, follower-of-Jesus blogger, jail chaplain, amateur filmmakerPodcast host, and author of two books: Romancing the Trail and The Nephilim: A Monster Among Us , and has worked as an investigator for over 35 years.



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