Thankfully, we worship a God who cares about our future (good books often help). DeYoung in his book ‘Do Something’ tells us I know exactly what God’s will for your life is. And it is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:3.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification.”
Bang! Taaa-daaaa! Cha-ching! There it is... in one sentence. God’s will for your/my life is to be sanctified (to live differently, set apart for Him.) A little bit of an underwhelming answer at first?
Let’s look a little deeper at what this means. I would like to share five concepts from this book about God's will that have been helpful.
1) Just talking about the “will of God” can be a confusing thing. Are we suppose to find the “will of God”? Shouldn’t we already be doing the “will of God” each day? Doesn’t everything happen according to “God’s will” anyway?
2) God’s will has two sides, plus one:
a) God’s ‘will of decree’ is the first side. This is what God has ordained. It will happen. It is fixed and can not be thwarted. (I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose. Is. 46:9-10)
b) God’s ‘will of desire’ is the other side. This is how things ought to be. It is obedience. It’s the way God commands us to live, yet it can (and is often) disregarded. (The desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:16,17)
c) There is a third side..but it is ours, not God’s. It it the “will of direction.” It’s what we think of when we ask all those questions in the previous paragraph...God when, God who, God how many? The Bible clearly tells us God has a plan for our life, but special revelation is rare. God doesn’t always (and sometimes rarely) answers our questions that have to do with the ‘will of direction’.
3) We can be obsessed with finding God’s will to the point that we become paralyzed to make a decision. First, we have an abundance of choices majors, careers, churches, restaurants, hobbies, etc....much more so than a previous generations. Second, rather than “reveling in the freedom, we find it agonizing.” Third, any decision we make (picking a major, buying a house, joining a church) cuts off options D, E and F (the other major, condo, or church).
4) God’s will is not like a Bull’s eye where we stand at the range, draw our bow, and fire. Anything less than dead middle is out of the center of God’s will. This sets us up for a false mindset. If we strike the bull’s eye we are destined to be blessed and happy. If we miss we are destined for failure, guilt, and hopelessness. Every decision from your chosen major to if you should buy a boat is racked with fear.
5) God cares more about the how (moral decisions), rather than the where, when and who (non-moral decisions). We tend to care much more about the non-moral decisions (should I go for further education or start my own business) than the moral decisions (am I being a faithful member of my church). Although which town you choose to live is important to God, He care’s more about whether you are running hard after him in that town. Although God is concerned with your career choice, He is most pleased when you are glorifying him in what you do at work through your honesty, excellence, and fairness with others. God certainly cares about who you marry, but He cares most about if you honoring Him by the way you love your husband or wife.
Many of the concepts ring true to us (maybe you as well) when we are trying to figure out God’s will for 2011.
God’s will can be confusing. At this time we feel we are doing God’s will (by serving in Kenya) yet also searching for God’s will (what would you have us do next).
We believe God’s “will of decree” is already done and being accomplished simultaneously (His irresistable grace has freed us and God’s ultimate purposes will be accomplished).
God’s ‘will of desire’ we sense in an obedience to serve the under-served.
Right now there are an abundance of choices that can be challenging (so many sending agencies, where to serve, how to raise support, teaching hospitals, unreached areas, long-term, part-term, short-term, extending our term, volunteer-term, pursuing further medical education, collaborations with academic centers, or simply pausing for a moment) to navigate all the options.
Lastly, there is comfort knowing we proceed without fear that God’s will is not a bulls-eye that we may have struck or missed. He can work in our life in different places, times, situations, careers, and through different people as long as we are committed to living a life that is sanctified (different, set apart for Him).