God’s Will: The uncomplicated version

Having been a youth pastor for 17 years now, I’ve heard and seen my fair share of blurry-eyed students trying to feel their way through the fog of searching for “God’s will for my life.”

They ask questions like:

Should I go to college? Where?

What should I major in?  What field should I go into?

Where am I going to live? 

What kind of job am I going to have?

How many bosses will I have? How many people will I be the boss of?

Should I get married? To whom?

Will we have kids? How many?

What’s the purpose of my life? What path should I be on? How will I know when I’m on the right path? What if I get off the right path somehow? Will I know if I do? Will God still love me and bless me?

All legitimate questions, but I’d suggest that none of them have anything to do with God’s will.  How do I know? They’re all egocentric questions; they’re all about “me”.  And if you want to hear the best news you’ve ever heard, then read this: God’s will has precious little to do with you.

If you want to know God’s will for your life, then I’d suggest brand new questions.  They’re simple and few.  And these questions aren’t limited to high school students just starting out on life’s road, because God’s will isn’t a destination.  It’s not something you arrive at.  These questions are for anyone anywhere along life’s road, no matter if you’re 18 or 98.

#1: “Who is Jesus to you?”

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been following Him or if you haven’t yet started. Jesus Himself asked this question of His own disciples.  Your answer to this question will have a deep and dramatic impact on every other detail of your life.  You can’t skip it and go to #2. In fact, every person who ever lived will be brought to THE answer (Philippians 2:9-11). So, its critical that you answer it now for yourself.

#2: “Where are your idols?”

We’re an idol-driven society. We latch onto an idol until we suck the life out of them. Before they hit the ground, we’ve latched on to the next one.  Name the idols in your life and then smash them against the side of God’s throne.  Is it a job? A girl? A guy? Money? A TV show? Fame? Food? A house? Yourself? What is it in your life that you can’t get enough of?  That’s your idol.

#3: “What’s in your hand?”

Remember Moses?  Sure you do.  Baby in the basket, brought up in Pharaoh’s house, killed an Egyptian, became a shepherd, talked to a bush, returned to Egypt to face Pharaoh, yada yada yada.  When Moses told God he wasn’t up to the task God was laying before him, God answered with a question: “Moses, what’s that in your hand?” (Exodus 4:2-5)  The shepherd’s staff in Moses’ hand was his identity, his representation, himself. What has God placed in your life? How has He shaped you? What are your passions? What are your interests? What keeps you up at night? What makes you mad? What invokes emotion? What do you see in the world around you and you think “Somebody need to do something about that.”?  THAT’S what’s in your hand.  God put it there and He wants it back. Lay it down and see what happens.

No, God’s will isn’t about you.  It’s ultimately about the glory that surrounds Him. It’s about His invitation to you to join in on the glory of God.  The best way to do that is to listen to the final words of Jesus before He left earth: “Go and make disciples.”  Four words, but a host of different complexions. You can make disciples as a suburbanite, as a city-dweller, as a farmer, in retail, in the restaurant industry, in fashion, in high finance, in real estate, at home, in the industrial field, in science, and in any other place you find yourself.

I tell students that if they want answers to all the questions they have about the details of their lives, then just keep breathing. All those answers will come. But its quite easy, even after all those blanks are filled in, to have missed the very thing they were created for.

What’s God will for your life?  Its the same as His will for my life.  Its not a tightrope that you easily fall off of.  Its that we would fully surrender to the glory that surrounds Him by making ourselves available completely to His good pleasure of working through us to love others toward Him as we briefly walk this earth.

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