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God's Will for Me|
How to Find it
Q. I would like to do something more for God. But, I don't think my job and parental role fulfill what the Lord's will is for me. How do we find God's will for our lives?
The Secular vs. Sacred
Thanks for your sincere question. I'm sure many Christians will identify with you. We certainly do! It's a frequent question plaguing believers who fervently wish to do something good with their lives. They hope to find that elusive "job" or role that will be fulfilling and pleasing to God.
Yet, this is also somewhat of a mistake in our thinking. That is because we all tend to think that there is "Christian" work and "secular" work. We tend to compartmentalize spiritual and secular things in our lives.
For instance, we think shopping for food or building a room onto the house is a secular activity while going to church and a bible study is a spiritual endeavor. However, God's Word never tells us to separate secular work from sacred-type jobs. Recall that even the Apostle Paul was a tentmaker by trade (Acts 18:3).
Paul said, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve" (Colossians 3:23-24, NASB).
This means the next time that driver cuts us off we don't swear obscenities at him. When that mother grabs the last item on sale at the grocery store we won't curse her under our breath. When someone offends us we don't pop off and give them "a piece of our minds!" We don't allow ourselves to become hypertensive when someone doesn't pay us on time (ouch)…
He is Watching over Us
Instead, we strive to do everything as if the Lord Himself is watching our every move.
That's because He is!
Every Thought, Word and Deed
When we stand before the Lord at the judgment seat we will account for every thought, word, and deed. Literally!
"Every careless word that people speak they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36).
…"they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus" (Romans 2:15-16).
"for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Church Attendance and Volunteer Work
We won't be judged solely on the basis of our church attendance, Sunday school record, number of weekly bible studies and charitable volunteer work. Instead, we will be judged for our attitudes, thoughts and deeds in everything we do.
It's a sobering thought, isn't it?
Rewarded for Tiny Things
Yet, the inverse of this is true, too: God will reward us for every tiny, good thought, attitude, or deed. He tells us if we give just a cup of water to the least of these He will reward us. If we even support those who are prophets or righteous people He will pay us back:
"The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you he will by no means lose his reward" (Matthew 10:41-42, ESV).
In other words, the last time you heard that Indian missionary speak and you offered a little extra money or a prayer for his work, the Lord will reward you for it. Awesome! Little things count, too…
We are Made in His Image
God created us with the ability to do and to enjoy many things. In the Old Testament engineers and architects, seamstresses, artisans and musicians all had a vital role in worship. It wasn't just the Levitical priests who were honored for their work.
I suppose God could have created us to be just farmers or priests. But, He didn't. All of the skills, creative abilities and our capacity to enjoy things are from God because we are made in His image.
"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father" (Colossians 3:17).
This brings new meaning to our everyday chores, doesn't it?
Obeying in Little Things
We need to always remember that if we don't obey God in the small things then we can't obey Him in the larger things, either.
"He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much - and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much" (Luke 16:10).
We need to pray in faith for His guidance (James 1:5-6):
"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone" (NLT).
There is also wisdom in seeking counsel from other Christians. Proverbs 11:14 tells us that there is safety in a multitude of counselors. Psalm 1:1-2 warns us not to follow any counsel from ungodly people.
Even if we go through adversity and hardship Isaiah 30:20-21 tells us that God will talk to us as we turn to the right or the left - "This is the way, walk in it."
Doors, Hunches, and a Sense of Peace
Watch for doors that seem to open for you and doors that appear to slam shut. Paul notes,
"When I came to the city of Troas to preach the good News of Christ, the Lord opened a door of opportunity for me" (2 Corinthians 2:12).
Yet, the very next verse says, "but I had no peace of mind because my dear brother Titus hadn't yet arrived with a report from you. So I said good-bye and went on to Macedonia to find him" (2:13).
Acts 16:6 reaffirms this kind of guidance when we read…"the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time…but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there" (v. 7).
In other words, God leads us through circumstances we encounter in life, too.
The wise writer of Proverbs 3:5 says,
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take" (NLT).
Paraphrased this means we should quit trying to figure-out everything that happens to us: "Why did she say that? What did he mean? Why is this person rejecting me? Should I take this job even though it's secular work? I was laid-off. What should I do now?"
Instead, we need to learn to trust the Lord for everything that happens to us - disagreeable as that may sound. He will guide us in everything if we commit whatever happens to Him and His will for us.
Hearing the Lord
- We can "hear" the Lord by reading His Word (Psalm 32:8).
- We can listen to those placed in authority over us such as our pastors, teachers, elders and deacons (1 Peter 2:13).
- We know that the Lord directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9).
- We can engage in heartfelt prayer and know that our plans will work out if God desires it (Psalm 127:1).
- Finally, we need to feel a sense of peace…"whatever does not proceed from faith is sin" (Romans 14:23).
This last one takes a little practice. If something is gnawing and nagging away at you, take it to the Lord in prayer until you feel peace about it.
Now let's all go out there and be tentmaker-Christians in everything we do!
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