There’s a book on my shelves about the mystery of God’s will. As Christians aren’t we obsessed about finding God’s will? We follow him, so if we find out what he wants we can do it, right?
Our society is driven by the wheels of efficiency. Tasks are the new rulers. Smart phones serve as beacons of reminders calling us to action. As someone who is forgetful, I’d be lost without my to-do-list.
It’s easy to view God’s will through the lens of task. There are cultural reasons for this, but also Biblical. God called people to act as judges. He told Hosea who to marry. And he tasked the prophet Jonah with going to Nineveh.
Isn’t it natural we should think of God’s will in terms of tasks he gives us, whether it be career choice, spouse choice or financial decisions, given it’s the framework of our culture and the way he often calls people in the Bible?
Emma1 told me God said I was to marry her daughter when I was a teenager. I was confused. Her daughter was just a kid. I was finishing high school, her daughter was only 14. Emma may have meant well, but it was all wrong.
Her mistake made was believing God’s will is a minute by minute plan for life. The Bible never tells anyone to marry this girl instead of that one; choose this career over that; live in this city rather than that one. Nor does it give an indication God will give every Christian a specific roadmap about their lifeplan.
If you want to find God’s will for your life The Bible will give you a clue.
Become more like Jesus
Paul summed up God’s will for for all followers of Jesus in a single sentence:
‘It is God’s will that you should be sanctified.’1 Thess. 4:3a
He is saying God’s will is that we become more like Jesus. This New Testament repeats the idea again and again. God’s will is for us to live Godly lives in an ungodly world (1 Peter 2:11-17), to ‘rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:16-18), and to live sacrificial and renewed lives (Rom. 12:1-2).
Whatever you do
Colossians 3:1-17 is a favourite passage of mine. There’s so much that could be written about this passage, and maybe I will in another post, but verse 17 shows me a lot about God’s will for daily life. Paul writes this, after first spending time discussing sanctification:
‘And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.’
So often we get caught up the what we do part. We want God to tell us what to do. But I think God is more interested that whatever we do draws us closer to him and allows us to reflect him more.
That’s not to say God isn’t interested in what we do. He is. The Bible just leads me to believe his will for you and me is to make us more like Jesus. God guides us by the Holy Spirit. This is freeing. If we believe we need to find God’s will, then we will always live with the doubt that we got it wrong.
I didn’t marry Emma’s daughter even though she told me it was God’s will. I don’t feel guilty or doubt my choice. Instead I can see how God’s will in self-evident in my life as I continue to grow to Jesus.
What about you? What is the ‘whatever’ you do? And how have you seen the Holy Spirit make you more like Jesus?
1 Name changed.