We’ve all heard that God has a will for our lives. We’ve heard that His plan is better than we could ever imagine. And we’ve all wondered how it is that we’re supposed to find God’s direction for our lives.
Approaching the crossroads
I’m approaching the crossroads. You know the one that everyone talks about. What am I going to do with my life? As graduation is coming closer, I have been faced with the near impossible question. It seems like I’m making the biggest decision ever, and I have no idea what I’m doing. After all, I don’t know what my life is supposed to be like tomorrow, let alone in 10 or 20 years.
How are we supposed to know we aren’t messing up God’s plan for our lives? How are we supposed to know this is the right person to date or marry? How are we supposed to know this is the right college to attend?
These are some of the most commonly asked questions in Christian circles. And they are also some of the most confusing questions. It seems like no one really knows the answer, or at least no one talks about it.
Since we are searching for God’s will, we get caught up in an endless cycle of anxiety and indecision because we don’t want to mess up God’s plan. As a result, we sit and wait, hoping that God will show up and do something for us.
Daring to answer the question
So I’m going to be daring and ask the question, how do we know the will of God? And I’m going to be even more daring by answering the question. Kevin DeYoung wrote a book, Just Do Something. In it he skillfully unpacks what “God’s will” means, and what our role is in figuring it out.
There is much confusion concerning the will of God. Sometimes we’re told to obey the will of God. Other times we are told that something happened according to God’s will. And other times we talk about trying to find this elusive will of God. Kevin explains that part of this confusion is due to the fact that we use the term “will of God” to mean three different things. The first two are clearly demonstrated in scripture. However, the third is where we get a little confused.
#1 God’s will of decree
God is completely sovereign in all of his ways. He is completely in control. We know this from Isaiah 46:8-10 “Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’”
God works all things according to the counsel of His will. There is nothing that escapes His hands. We think we can mess up God’s plan. But we’re not that powerful!
#2 God’s will of desire
This is what God has revealed in Scripture that He desires for His creation.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
God has revealed his desired will for us through the written word. It’s not a mystery that we need to figure out. By digging into the Scriptures, we have the ability to know all that God desires for us. He has given us clear guidelines and commands in His word. Though we aren’t told who to marry, we are told to not be unequally yoked. We aren’t told what job to do, but we are commanded to have integrity in our workplace.
#3 God’s will of direction
This is where it gets more confusing. It relates to the questions about what God has specifically planned for our lives. Where should I live? Who should I marry? Where should I go to college? Kevin writes:
“Does God have a secret will of direction that He expects us to figure out before we do anything? And the answer is no. Yes, God has a specific plan for our lives. And yes, we can be assured that he works things for our good in Christ Jesus. And yes, looking back we will often be able to trace God’s hand in bringing us to where we are. But while we are free to ask God for wisdom, He does not burden us with the task of divining His will of direction for our lives ahead of time.”
You see, God is completely sovereign. His will of decree will come to fruition. But there is nowhere in scripture that tells us that we are to figure out all that God has planned for our lives. But we are called to know his will of desire. We are called to rest in his complete sovereignty. Beyond that, we can’t demand God’s special revelation. If we are doing what God has asked of us, we can rest because God has it under control.
Trusting God and taking action
We are called to come to a place of trust in God’s divine and sovereign nature. When we worry about the future, stressing about whether God will powerfully intervene, we have a lack of trust.
This is not to say that God doesn’t guide us and direct us. He certainly does. Scriptures are filled with examples of this. However, God has given us the gift of wisdom and the resource of other believers to speak into our lives. If we are walking with God, we have the freedom to make decisions.
So what do you do if you are about to make a big decision?
- Search the scriptures. The is foundational. Does it align with God’s will of desire?
- Pray throughout the process. The Spirit will lead.
- Get wise counsel. Mature believers can impart wisdom. Sometimes they can see into situations better than we can ourselves.
- Make the decision. God’s will of decree will be accomplished! If you are seeking God, you can have the freedom to make the decision. God will open and close doors.
Though making decisions can be daunting and scary, God has given us the tools to make decisions that are honoring to him. He is not a God who is trying to deceive us. We can completely trust in His good plan. He will provide, and we can find peace in that.
If you have any further questions about the will of God, I would highly recommend reading Just Do Something. It has helped me find freedom in knowing God’s will for my life.
PC: Grace Garnaat @gracesavannaphotography