Discovering God's Will for Your Life
"I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart."1
A Daily Encounter reader asks, "How does one know that God is speaking to him or her? I am very confused because I do not know what God wants me to do with my life."
In younger days I used to struggle with the same question; that is, how can I know the will of God for my life? The following comes from what I learned:
First, and most important, is that it is always God's will for us to put God first in our lives and to live in harmony with what His Word, the Bible, teaches.
Second, ask God to help you discover what your God-given life purpose is, and then do what is necessary to fulfill this purpose. This will be achieved by developing and using your God-given natural gifts and talents to serve Him. Realize, too, that we serve God by serving/helping people.
Third, when fulfilling the above, you will enjoy and find fulfillment in the work/service (either paid or volunteer) that you do. Referring to Jesus, David, the Psalmist, wrote: "I take joy in doing your will, my God." When we live in harmony with and do the will of God, we, too, will find joy and fulfillment.
Fourth, unless we have a "specific call" from God for a specific task such as being a missionary (or other ministry), we can do any of a number of things and still be doing God's will. For instance, picture God's will as traveling on a "train" that will take you to heaven when your life on earth is ended. While God is in charge of that train, we have all the freedom to move around in that train, and be involved in varied activities using our abilities to serve others. Should God be calling you to a specific task, it will be much like what Oswald Chambers once said: "The call of God is like the call of the sea to a sailor." That is, a man who senses the call of the sea, will never rest until he launches out to sea to answer that inner urging. For more details on the call of God, see the article, "Baffling Call of God," online at: http://tinyurl.com/callofGod.
Fifth, realize that God is not co-dependent. He will give wisdom and guidance if we ask Him to (see Proverbs 3:5-6), but He doesn't make our decisions for us. So don't wait for a special vision, just put to use the talents you have in serving others through your local church, a para-church organization, with a volunteer service organization, through visiting the sick or shut-ins, helping a neighbor, or just in one or more of normal, everyday activities.
Sixth, every morning pray and commit and trust your life and way to God and trust Him to lead you in the way that is best for you to go. I have prayed this prayer almost every day since my youth and, as I look back, can see how God has answered this prayer in so many ways that I never would have dreamed possible.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to discover my God-given life purpose, to live in harmony with Your will, and to develop and use my God-given gifts and talents in a way that will best serve You and fulfill Your purpose for my life—and therein find joy and fulfillment. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Psalm 40:8 (NLT).