Reader question: Everyone keeps saying “I want God’s will to be done in my life”. That’s a good thing, but what does it mean? How do we know what is God’s will when it comes to education, career path, marriage, and all the many other decisions we make in everyday life?
This is a question we often face in important phases of our life. We want to submit to God and His plan. But how would we know what His will is for us? God is not going to come down in visions to everybody today to say, this is the girl you should marry or this is the college you should join. However, God is gracious enough to give us His Scriptures to know Him better. In it, He has revealed His will concerning things that pertain to one’s spiritual life — along with broader principles for how to live. Here are a few things we need to keep in mind, as we ponder His will when making various decisions in life.
In His Word, God has revealed His will concerning things that pertain to one’s spiritual life — along with broader principles for how to live
1. Tie the pursuit of God’s will to the message of the gospel. The very gospel that calls us to repent of our sins and trust in Christ to be saved calls us to holiness, like Christ displayed while He was on earth. We are to be transformed into His image (Romans 12:2) and so, whatever we pursue in our lives, we ought to remember this aim of the gospel that seeks to produce Christ-like righteousness.
The theme of Abraham being the means by which the entire world would be blessed figures in each of the main choices he makes. The covenant that God made with him makes him buy the burial ground for Sarah, insist on Isaac’s bride coming to Canaan, pray for the nation of Sodom and, most notably, have faith in God’s ability to raise Isaac from the dead even if he sacrificed him to God, as commanded.
2. Be less concerned by what is hidden and start with obeying clear commands in Scripture instead. This gives us the means to understand what God has purposed in our lives as we make important choices. Abraham knew that he was not supposed to get Isaac married to any of the daughters of Canaan. That was clear to him, even though he didn’t know who would join his family from Mesopotamia.
3. Prioritise things that are God’s priority for us. God desires that we have a passion for holiness, love for other believers, etc. As we pursue these, things begin to fall in place. Abraham and his servant put the terms and conditions of the covenant, and its outworking, in terms of hospitality when it came to finding a bride for Isaac. As they looked for the right things that God was concerned about, they found Rebekah, who not only fit the criteria they were looking for, but was also “beautiful to look at” — even though the latter was not something they had specifically asked for.
Most often, we are attracted to the pay scale or career growth that a job offers. Scripture, however, tells us to look for a profession that is lawful in nature, isn’t sinful as per God’s standards, and enables us to be in active participation with a local church, among other things. In terms of marriage, we focus on things like finances, beauty, family status etc, when Scripture’s focus is on true spirituality (2 Corinthians 6:14). God knows the things that are essential for our lives on earth. He makes sure everything works for good, as long as we have the right focus.
On the other hand, we see Jacob loving Rachel because she was beautiful, but she turns out to be one given to jealousy and a person who steals her father’s household gods. That’s the problem when our priorities consist of things that are not as important as what Scripture says they should be.
4. Trust Him to lead. God has indwelt us by the Holy Spirit so that we obey God wholeheartedly. Stay under His guidance, so that we make the right choices under His care. Sometimes, the options available to us leave us disturbed and unsettled. However, when God’s plan comes into play, we have a beautiful peace within us and we feel calm for having chosen it. This is not to vouch for relying on feelings, but an assurance that God will calm and prepare us as required. God is not a sadist trying to get us do His will against our willingness. He gives us a heart that will enter into His plan with the kind of immense trust and calm that our own selfish choices wouldn’t bring. As we make decisions in line with God’s plan, we trust God with the outcome and that’s what sanctification is all about.
God is not a sadist trying to get us do His will against our willingness. He gives us… the kind of immense calm that our own selfish choices wouldn’t bring
When there was a rift between Abraham’s herdsmen and Lot’s herdsmen, Abraham suggested they separate and Lot is given the opportunity to choose where he wishes to go. Lot chose all of the fertile valley leading to Sodom for himself. Abraham was left with a land that didn’t have enough to sustain his cattle and that was prone to famine. The famine was the reason they went to Egypt. By God’s intervention, they came back to Canaan, which was the land in which Abraham was meant to stay in, as per the covenant God made with him. After Lot leaves, God calms Abraham and reassures him to stay in the land God showed him. God conditioned his heart in a way that he insisted his servant avoid the daughters of Canaan for his son and take his search to his people in Mesopotamia instead.
5. Ask the right questions. On a final note, consider the following questions as we make our choices in life: Is my choice leading me to sin against God? Is it leading me to dishonour Christ and His work in the world? Is it going to be a hindrance in the work of evangelism? Will it lead people closer to or farther away from God?
A huge topic with a lot to discuss is summarised in these five points, but I hope they give you a better understanding of how to make choices. Insist on what the Scriptures demand in whatever you seek, and you will find yourself square in the middle of His will.
A weekly brief of new resources and Scripture-based insights from our editorial team.