How Do I Know God's Will?

  • by Shane Sebastian

My family and I moved to Puerto Rico because of the need to launch ministries on university campuses.  

We saw God do some very cool things as we helped students – future Puerto Rican leaders – see how God is working around them. Students put their faith in Jesus and were growing in Him. As a family we were learning a new culture and language (or at least trying to). It had not been an easy year, but we knew God was right in the middle of it.

As we headed into the second half of the year, my wife, Laura, and I asked ourselves, “Okay, do we stay for another year or do we move back to California?”

I just finished reading a book called Missional Renaissance. I loved this quote on who we are as the church, as followers of Jesus:

“The church is wherever followers of Jesus are. People don’t go to church; they are the church. They don’t bring people to church; they bring the church to people.”

I love how we are able to bring the church to people and help them understand how they can have a personal and forgiving relationship with their creator. A total privilege.

But should we stay here another year? What is God’s will?

It’s the most common question I’ve been asked in my 24 years of being a missionary/minister with Cru.

How do I know which choice is God’s will?

I found myself looking in the mirror and asking the same question.

We are all constantly thinking of our futures. We have relationships, families, careers, and expectations that are in front of us as we consider various decisions throughout life. I’m reminded of my favorite book on understanding the will of God, Just Do Something, by Kevin DeYoung:

“Too often God’s people tinker around with churches, jobs, and relationships, worrying that they haven’t found God’s perfect will for their lives. Or – even worse – they do absolutely nothing, stuck in a frustrated state of paralyzed indecision, waiting…waiting…waiting for clear, direct, unmistakable direction.”

“But God doesn’t need to tell us what to do at each fork in the road. He’s already revealed His plan for our lives: to love Him with our whole hearts, to obey His Word, and after that, do what we like.”

My family and I were at a fork in the road. I don’t like forks. I would prefer a straight line, thank you very much.

My wife and I thought of our junior high and high school daughters who miss their friends, cheerleading and other activities. Our boys missed their buddies, too. We thought of our families that we love so much. We thought of our role with Cru in California, and the people who were serving for us in that role until we returned.

We also thought of the small yet growing movement of students in Puerto Rico. When we arrived their were 0 students involved. A year later there were more than 30 involved with a presence on 4 campuses. We moved to reach students with the good news of Jesus and see God raise up these students to reach the campus themselves. Should we stay another year to help give that traction?

In the middle of deciding, we were reminded of one simple truth as we considered our future: God wants us to walk with Him in whatever we decide to do, in wherever we decide to go. I think of Paul’s words to the church in Colossians 1:9:

“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…”

Sure, God is concerned with what decision we make as we come to these forks in the road. But most of all we sensed God saying, “Continue to walk with me, abide in me, love me. Then you guys make a decision and keep going.”

If you are at a fork in the road, perhaps the above words, especially those from God’s word, will encourage you.

As you make decisions remember this simple phrase that helps us: Walk with Jesus and keep going.

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Shane has written a book, This Change Is Everything: The Hope and Future of Gospel Mission. Find out more on Facebook and Amazon.