What is God's will for my life?
Updated: Sep 14
The will of God is not, first of all, for you to go there or work here. The will of God concerns you as a person. If you are the right you, you can follow your desires and you will fulfill His will.” - John MacArthur
A few years ago, I was keeping watch over some younger family friends of mine, Nate and Reagan. Nate was 7 at the time, while Reagan was 4. They asked me if I could go play in the front yard with them, in which I was happy to do. Although, I did provide them one rule: No going into the street. Drivers in the neighborhood were often not paying attention and drove very quickly. They agreed not to break my rule and proceeded with their playing.
After a few minutes, Nate asked “Nick, can we play tag?” I replied “Sure, just don’t go into the street.” After they got bored of tag, Reagan asked me if they could blow bubbles, in which I said “Yes, just don’t go into the street.” After blowing bubbles grew old, they both asked if they could throw the football with one another in which I replied “Yes you can. You guys are welcome to play anything you want in the front yard. You just can’t go into the street.” They nodded and ran off to play more games.
Though their constant questioning seems excessive, that is often how we are with God and His will for our lives. God has provided us clear instruction on what to do and what not to do in His word. Yet, we are continually asking and questioning, as if the instruction and framework has not already been given. Except, we are not asking about blowing bubbles, playing tag or throwing a football around. We ask more significant questions like: “Where should I go to college?” or “Should I take/quit this job?”and maybe “Should we move away/stay where we’re at?” These are fair questions but are less a matter of God’s Will and more a matter of personal preference. Let me explain.
Don’t Over Complicate God’s Will
God’s Will is a funky term and has been dramatized over the centuries. People often speak of it as an exact path one must take to arrive at the perfect destination God has crafted for them. Instead, God’s Will operates less as specific steppingstones and more as guardrails to stay within. For example, God lays out various commands in His word like being generous (2 Cor. 9:6), sharing the gospel (Matt. 28:18), honoring your parents (Ex. 20) and so on. These explicit commands are given as guardrails that we should stay between. When we stay within the boundaries God has clearly provided, we are in God’s Will – simple.
But we want specifics, not broad instruction. We want to know where God wants us to work, go to school, live and eat at for lunch. The last one is a joke, but it’s true – we want specifics. Yet, God doesn’t provide us with that. Why? Because God’s Will is less about what you do, and more about who you are. Meaning this, the honoring or dishonoring of God with your life is less based on your vocation, college and residence and much more hinges on WHO you are as a person in whatever career, college or state/country you find yourself in. Basically: love God, obey His Word and do what you want!
Thinking about quitting your job? Go for it, just be a Light to your new co – workers. Going away for college instead of staying in town? That’s fine, just operate with strong morals. Moving your family to Wisconsin? Perfect, just buy a coat and make sure you are reaching your new neighbors for Christ. How you are behaving and who you are becoming is much more important than where you are or what you do.
Questions to Ask to Determine Direction
Living in God’s Will is everything. In fact, it should be the primary objective of a Christ – Follower. But, it’s not as mystical and complicated as we sometimes make it out to be. Stemming from this perspective of God’s Will, here are four questions you can ask yourself when discerning it for your own life:
1. What does the Bible say about this?
Does the bible speak against this in anyway? Does it encourage it?
2. Have I prayed about this?
Prayer is the difference between what you can do and what God can do. Give Him the chance to guide you through the Holy Spirit.
3. Have I sought the advice of more mature believers and people who have done this?
If you’re trying to determine whether you want to be a nurse or a teacher, go talk to a nurse and a teacher and get their thoughts on the career. The body of Christ serves the purpose of helping each other navigate life.
4. Will this help or hurt my walk with God?
Does your new job put you in an environment where sin could come into your life?
Is the college you’re thinking about notorious for being a party school?
This is not an exhaustive list of questions, but they can help guide you in the right direction. Navigating life is difficult, but we don’t have to attribute that difficulty to God not being clear. He is and has been very clear. We just have to operate on the instruction that has already been provided and make a decision.
I hope this provided you some clarity. If so, I would greatly appreciate it if you’d share it with a friend!
BTW: God’s will is no small topic and I just attempted to tackle it in 900 words. So, if you want more information on it, check out the book below by MacArthur – it’s a great read: https://amzn.to/2xoQrVZ