Don’t you wish you were one of the chosen?
You know, the ones who always seem to know God’s will in life. They get a vision, a word of wisdom, an open door, an invoice — something magical that let’s them know God’s will for their life — and for yours.
Kind of makes you want to just roll the dice to reveal your number — anything to give clarity.
But if you’re like me, a long-time Christ-follower who has counseled thousands, you’ve stumbled around and stubbed a few toes trying to figure out God’s will for your life. I’m not talking about the moral decisions we each must make, stuff that God has been clear about in His word.
For example, if you’re wondering whether or not you should start a business – by embezzling money from your employer, that’s a moral decision. I’d hope we’re clear on that one. Or if you’re pondering killing your neighbor for turfing your lawn — just to be clear, that would be called murder, and is, in fact, frowned upon in most civilized societies — and in Scripture.
The Trouble with Non-Moral Decisions
It’s the stuff in the fuzzy middle that can paralyze us into inactivity. For teens: should they go to college? If so, which one? Should they get married and to whom? And when? For all of us: what career path do I take? What church do I join? Do I buy a new car, a used car, a bicycle? Questions that I am wrestling with now: Where should we live? What house do we buy or sell? Or do we rent? And on and on….
I’ve found in my own life that the real concern in these non-moral decisions is that I’m afraid I’ll get it wrong. It’s as if I think God has a perfect plan for my life that he’s not telling me, but he’s watching, always watching. And there will be no grading on a curve! Yikes. Better to just bury my talent in the backyard and wait for the Master to return. Oh, wait. As I recall, that didn’t work too well.
As I met with my discipleship group of young men recently, one put it this way: “I just want to be sure I am making the most of what God is giving me so I’ll be pleasing to him.” Great desire. I applaud it. But that good desire can paralyze us, as well, if we’re not careful.
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What God Wants You to Do Next: 7 Questions to Discover God’s Best for Your Life
5 Questions to Know God’s Will for Your Life
I’ll tell you right up front, there’s nothing magical in the questions I offer. Sorry. No fleeces. No open or shut doors. No holding your moistened finger in the air to detect the moving of the Spirit. I’m not discounting the Spirit’s work at all, but suggesting that God has already given us access to what we need to make most of life’s non-moral decisions.
Here are the 5 questions to help you know God’s will for your life when making non-moral decisions:
- What do I really want? Seems obvious but most of us never answer this simple question. Not clearly, anyways. We may think we know, but we couldn’t put it down on paper in a complete sentence. Because we’ve never tackled the challenge of drilling down into our desires, we aim at nothing in particular – then get frustrated because we hit nothing in particular. Funny how that works.
- Am I truly seeking God’s Kingdom first? Our why will determine our what and our how. (Tweet this.) As joint-heirs in the Kingdom of Heaven, its good must be our highest priority. All too often, it isn’t — and we know it. Remember that Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is like the man who discovers treasure in a field and sells all he has to buy it. Only you can know your motives with any certainty. Instead of assuming you have the best ones, try admitting that your desires are often less than admirable. Make sure they are lining up with God’s Kingdom priorities and not just those of a materialistic American dream.
- Have I asked for and pursued wisdom? It’s one thing to ask for wisdom, it’s another to seek after it like hidden treasure. According to Proverbs, wisdom is the “main thing.” It’s available to all who ask for it in faith from the God of all wisdom. (James 1:5-7) But are you asking, with fervent, focused prayer and fasting – or do you think you’ve got this one on your own? Consuming a consistent diet of the Word of God will ensure you have a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. [See my post How to Read the Bible Every Day -- and Enjoy It!]
- Have I gotten wise counsel? There is safety in wise counselors. (Prov. 11:14) Most of us know we should get advice. All too often, however, we stack the deck of advisers to favor the choice we want to make in the first place. I’ve seen this happen more obviously with teens who consult their peers for advice on whether or not to obey their parent’s instructions. But we adults do the same thing. It’s when we seek a wide array of counsel from those who have been there, done that that we get clarity on our true options.
- Do I have all the facts? Sometimes, we just don’t know what we should know in order to make a wise decision. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s made decisions based on what I thought I knew only to find out later that my data was wrong. When Mary stood at the empty tomb and accused the “Gardener” of stealing Christ’s body, she thought she had all the facts. She was wrong. When Peter drew His sword in the garden, he obviously trusted his assessment of the situation. When we don’t know what we don’t know, we’re in trouble. Turn over a few rocks. Dig a little deeper. Be sure you know what you know. Make your decision on verifiable facts whenever possible instead of on what you hope will happen.
If you take the time to answer these 5 questions thoroughly, you should have what you need to know God’s will for your life. All that remains then is to do the courageous thing — make a decision. Yes, you will leave options behind. No, you can’t have it all. Yes, you might need to adjust the plan later. No, not everyone will be happy.
But no, you won’t mess up God’s eternal will for life, the universe and everything. And he’s not waiting to taser you for getting it wrong. For a helpful and short read on this topic, I suggest a copy of Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung. Or check out these resources I have used personally to help figure out God’s best.
Now about that neighbor’s lawn turfing, I have a friend who knows some people. In landscaping. What? What’d you think I meant?
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What God Wants You to Do Next: 7 Questions to Discover God’s Best for Your Life offers proven, practical tips for figuring out God’s will for your life.
If you or someone you know is trying to figure out your life direction, check out my latest eBook:
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