It's quite possibly the most commonly asked question in Christianity today: What is God's will for my life? We have questions and face decisions all the time, and we find ourselves constantly wondering about God’s will in them.
Some decisions are small and seem less significant. What book should I read this month? Do we want Mexican? Chinese? Burgers? Italian?
Other questions involve large, life-altering decisions. Should I date? If so, whom should I date? Should I go to college? If so, where? What should I major in? What career path should I choose? Should I marry? If so, whom should I marry? Should we have kids? If so, how many kids? Where should I live? How should I live?
We find ourselves buried under questions and decisions, and in the middle of it all we keep coming back to one question: What is God’s will for my life? What does God want me to do? How do I find God’s will for my life?
We operate as if God’s will were lost. And we’ve devised an assortment of methods for finding it.
There’s the “Random Finger Method.” Whenever you need to know God’s will, close your eyes, open your Bible at random, put your finger down on a verse and then open your eyes to discover His will for your life. Then there's “Astonishing Miracle Method.” Look for a burning bush like Moses found or a blinding light like Paul experienced, and there you will find the will of God. The list goes on. We have the “Cast the Fleece Method,” which requires testing God to see what he wants us to do. We have the “Still Small Voice Method,” which advocates waiting for God to speak in a still, small way. Then we have the “Open Door Method,” which says that if God opens up an opportunity, it is obviously His will for us to take it. Another version of this one is the “Closed Door Method”: if a decision seems difficult, it’s obviously not God’s will for us to make it (for He would never want us to do anything difficult).
With good intentions, we try hard to use various methods to find God’s will. But what if God’s will was never intended to be found? In fact, what if it was never hidden from us in the first place? What if God the Father has not sent his children on a cosmic Easter egg hunt to discover his will while he sits back in heaven saying, “You’re getting colder ... warmer ... colder ... ”? And what if searching for God’s will like this actually misses the entire point of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus?
Such questions lead us to realize that far more important than looking and searching for God’s will is simply knowing and trusting God. We yearn for mechanical formulas. We want to find shortcuts to the mind of God. But this is not God’s design—or should I say, this is not God’s will. His ultimate concern is not to get you or me from point A to point B along the quickest, easiest, smoothest, clearest route possible. Instead, His ultimate concern is that you and I would know Him more deeply as we trust Him more completely.
After writing Radical , I received all kinds of questions and comments about specific facets of the Christian life in America. People would ask me, “What does a radical lifestyle look like? What kind of car should I drive, or should I even drive a car? What kind of house should I live in? Am I supposed to adopt? Am I supposed to move overseas to a foreign mission field?”
I found these questions, though sincere and honest, to be a bit troubling. It felt like people were looking for a box to check or a criterion to follow that would ensure they were obeying God. But such questions, if we’re not careful, bypass the core of what it means to follow Jesus. Outside of the commands of Christ in Scripture, we have no specific set of rules or regulations regarding how the radical commands of Christ apply to our lives. Instead, we have a relationship with Jesus.
So we go to Him. We spend time with Him. We sincerely listen to His Word as we walk in obedience to it. As we do these things, God leads and guide us according to His will, and suddenly we realize that the will of God is not a road map just waiting to be unearthed somewhere. Instead, it’s a relationship that God wants us to experience every day. The goal of the disciple of Jesus, then, is not to answer the question, “What is God’s will for my life?” The goal, instead, is to walk in God’s will on a moment-by-moment, day-by-day basis.
The will of God is clear from cover to cover in Scripture.
From beginning to end, God wills to be worshiped. He wills for all people to hear, receive, embrace and respond to the gospel of His grace for the sake of His glory all over the globe.
Therefore, it’s not shocking for Jesus’ first words to His disciples in the book of Matthew to be, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” In the days that followed, He taught them that He “came to seek and to save what was lost,” and He told them that just as the Father had sent Him into the world, He would send them into the world. Subsequently, we are not surprised when the last words of Jesus to His disciples are, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.”
This is God’s will in the world: to create, call, save and bless His people for the spread of His grace and glory among all peoples. This will is not intended to be found; it is intended to be followed. We don’t have to wonder about God’s will when we’ve been created to walk in it. We have no need to ask God to reveal His will for our lives; instead, we each ask God to align our lives with the will He has already revealed.
God’s will for us as disciples of Jesus is to make disciples of Jesus in all nations. Therefore, the question every disciple asks is, “How can I best make disciples of all nations?” And once we ask this question, we realize that God wants us to experience His will so much that he actually live in us to accomplish it.
Taken from Follow Me: A Call to Die . A Call to Live by David Platt. © 2013 by David Platt. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This blog post first appeared at RelevantMagazine.com (February 28th, 2013). Used with permission.