How do I know God’s will for my life?
Can I know God’s will for my life?
Whats God’s will for my life?
Hang around a church for a short period of time and you will hear this question in some form or fashion. “Whats God’s will for my life?” And this is a good question, a question we should think about and seek after. That Creator God has formed us in His image (Genesis 1:26) and has even formed for us the very days we will live before there was anything (Psalm 139:16); He has made us for a purpose, and we find our ultimate joy and peace when we are walking in that. In the place of walking in His will is where we find true life (John 10:10). Everything else simply won’t satisfy. But I have been dwelling on another question, I think sometimes we have this idea that if being in God’s will is the ultimate place for life, joy, and peace then being in God’s will must also be easy, comfortable, and possibly prosperous. But the question I have been chewing on is how bad do we want to know His will, if it isn’t easy, isn’t going to be comfortable, and won’t lead to the worlds definition of being prosperous? Do we still want to know it and seek after it then? Or do we only want to know His will when it lines up with what we really want to do anyways?
A little of two weeks ago, Monday, April 9th marked the 67th anniversary of the death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer (have also written about him here ). He was hanged for his part in trying to assassinate Hitler, what has stuck with me since that Monday two weeks ago is a quote I read in Bonhoeffer’s Biography, from a doctor over seeing the killings. He said that:
“I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.” (BONHOEFFER: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy; by: Eric Metaxas; page: 237).
As I read the biography, and as I thought about this two weeks ago, my thought has been that he knew he was right in the middle of God’s will for his life, and he knew it where it was leading and he was still submissive to it. That’s obedience! That’s faith. Day before his death he told a fellow prisoner:
“This is the end. But for me, the beginning of life.”
If that was me, would I still want God’s will for me then?
A few years ago I listened to a sermon from Francis Chan at his first Passion, in 2007, where he asked:
“Do you want to know God’s will for your life? Do you really want to know that? Honestly, think about this, would you really want to know what God in heaven, would want with your body if He had complete control over it tonight? To send your body wherever He wanted it to go? To say whatever He wanted it to say? Would you really want to know where God would want you to go tonight? Would you really want to know His desire of what time He wants you to wake up tomorrow morning? Would you really want to know, if it was totally up to Him, where He would want you to go after the Passion Conference? You really want to know that? Or isn’t there a side of you that really doesn’t want to know?
Do we really want to know God’s will for our lives? Even if it cost us everything? Even if it’s a complete 180 from what we want to do? As I have thought on this, and thought through scripture on this it appears over and over that people in the bible when in the middle of God’s will it cost them a lot, if not all.
- Prophet Isaiah: Sees God on Hs throne hears the question, “Whom shall we send?” Says here I am, and his reward! I’m sending you to a group of people who hearing won’t hear and seeing won’t see (Isaiah 6). Basically I’m sending you to say what I tell you to say, but they aren’t going to listen. Isaiah was asked not to have a fruitful ministry but a faithful one (Chandler, The Explicit Gospel, pg. 74).
- Joseph: Genesis 37-41, we know that Joseph was sold by his brothers, and found favor, then falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, and thrown into jail, and forgotten, before finding favor again with Pharaoh by interpreting his dreams and being placed in charge of all of Egypt. If asked if you wanted to be second in control over an entire country would you want it? Would you still want it, if you had to endure all that Joseph had to in the midst of it?
- Mary: Found favor with God (Luke 1:26-38). Finding favor with God is good right? Mary understood that this meant that she was going to become pregnant while unmarried in a society that could legally stone her to death for it. She knew that in a few months she would start showing she was pregnant and wouldn’t be able to hide it, and that would bring whispers and gossip about her. And even if she tried to say what was happening, no one would believe her. But yet she found favor with God.
- Paul: List out all his hardships in 2 Corinthians 11:21-33 Beaten, stoned, ship wrecked, hungry and thirsty, etc. He endured all of this, even one point ship wrecks onto an island, get to the shore and is shortly after bitten by a snake, but yet starts out his letter to the Colossians that he is an apostle by the will of God! Why did he live his life the way he did? Even after everything that happened to him, because he was living out God’s will for his life
- All the Apostles, except for John, were martyred, and they tried to martyr John and he survived so they sent him to an island to be alone and die.
- And there’s more, but I’ll stop here.
And I’m sure we can come up with a list of people in history and in the bible where they were in the middle of God’s will and appears their life was one of ease. But the question I’m asking is do we want God’s will for our life, even if it cost us everything? If this side of heaven life isn’t easy, comfortable or prosperous? What if the good He is working for us (Romans 8:28) is to simply call us home, to be with Him?
Do we want God’s will for our life, only if He _______(does this or that); or do we want it even if ______ (it cost us everything)?