What is God’s will for your life?
I will always remember the fall of 1971. That is the fall I first trusted in Christ. I found I could not get enough of God at that time. I was constantly reading my Bible and memorizing Scripture. What a great time it was. I learned so much those first few months.
This was time for me to learn just how much God loved me. God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). I learned the Bible says all people are separated from God through disobedience, which the Bible terms sin. I was guilty before God because of my sin and was condemned to eternal death. What really struck me was Jesus Christ died for me; Christ had paid the penalty for my sin and by trusting in him, I had received eternal life. That fall I had received Jesus Christ into my life and now was granted eternal life (John1:12). Oh! How I prayed that Jesus Christ would guide me throughout my life.
My strongest desire was to now know what God wanted me to do. I wanted to know and understand God’s will for my life. I always found it a rather mystical journey to determine God’s will not only for my life but for even the more minor issues of life. My primary desire and goal was to seek-out what God wanted me to do.
But I didn’t have a clue how to determine His will for my life. I read books on the subject and they gave step-by-step instructions, but that didn’t satisfy. I was still often confused and just kept plugging along. Then I was drawn to Col 1:9-10. Paul was lifting up his fellow Believers when he prayed:
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…
Does God have a purpose for my life?
In this passage, God clearly revealed that His purpose for your life and mine is to build a relationship with Him. We see that through prayer we can be filled with the knowledge of His will. Thus, knowing God is the most fundamental aspect of the will of God for our lives. We cannot know God’s will unless we first know Him. Only by growing in our wisdom and spiritual understanding can we walk worthy of the Lord.
Three critical aspects of determining God’s will—His purpose—for our lives include:
- Developing our relationship with God through prayer and study of God’s Word. God revealed Himself through His word—the Bible. Only by studying the Bible can we get to KNOW God. Studying takes hard work, but this something we must do throughout our lives. There is never a time on this earth that we can know all the Bible has to teach us. I am often awestruck by passages which I memorized years ago when even now they explode with new meaning and understanding. What a remarkable God we have.
- Realizing that God created us in His image because He wants us to enjoy our companionship with Him. We need to understand exactly who we are. God created us in His image so that we could stay in touch with Him. We are something special. No other created thing—plant, mineral, or animal—was created in the image of God except for mankind. We have a connection, but we often fail to realize how special we are in God’s mind.
- Coming to a total and active trust in Jesus Christ as our Redeemer (John 1:18; John 5:39; John 14:9; Tit 2:14; Heb 1:3). Only through Christ can we gain an understanding of who God is. The Scriptures were written to reveal God and then to draw us into relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (John 3:16). Christ brought us out of a life of sin so that we could enter into a new relationship with God (Rom 5:1 ff).
Why is knowing God’s will so arduous?
Knowing God and understanding His purpose for us is not easy because we have an adversary. Satan continuously seeks to thwart God by destroying or corrupting His creation, principally man. Often we do not discern the will of God in our lives because we are actually following Satan. There are at least six symptoms representative of our following Satan:
- Giving God only external service, i.e. performance oriented faith (Matt 15:8);
- Believing that God’s commandments are burdensome (Matt 11:28-30);
- Considering the opinion of men more important than God’s; rather than being free from all men (1 Cor 9:19);
- Deserting God when our expectations are not met (1 Pet 4:1-2);
- Trusting ourselves more than God (Acts 7:2-5; Heb 11:17-19); and
- Failing to realize the truth of God’s gifts (James 1:17).
How do I determine God’s will for my life?
To know God’s will involves developing a relationship with Him. In that relationship, we must first know His character (2 Cor 3:18). This involves knowing the God who is trustworthy. Only God has unlimited resources (Mark 10:27). He delights in His children (Ps 18:19) and He desires to be trusted (Heb 11:6). He wants us to bathe our lives in prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving so that in return we can have His peace (Phil 4:6-7). By developing this relationship with God, we can know that it is
- God’s will that we think rightly about ourselves;
- God’s will that we have meaning and purpose in life (Col 1:16) for His glory (1 Cor 10:31) and for our transformed life (Rom 12:1-2);
- God’s will that we experience contentment in life (Phil 4:11-12), and
- God’s will for us to be secure (Rom 8:28-29).
Only now are we ready to do what God wants us to do and to serve Him with a pure heart. Knowing and understanding God’s word takes hard work and commitment.