“Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business…” – 1 Thessalonians 4:11a
How many times have you said or heard someone say this?
“I’m just trying to figure out God’s will for my life.”
Obviously, it’s a good idea to seek God’s will, but sometimes I think Christians can overcomplicate it to the point of distress. Then it can become a vicious cycle: the more time we spend stressing about accomplishing God’s will, the less time we’re spending actually accomplishing it!
“Sorry, I can’t help with the food drive tonight. I’m busy figuring out what God wants me to be doing.”
Often, when we talk about “knowing God’s will” for our life, we’re thinking in terms of where we will go, what our career will be, or what our life’s ministry will be. When we become too focused on these things, it’s almost like we’re telling God, “Hey, there’s a lot you can accomplish through me, so you’d better get started and show me what my big contribution is going to be!”
“I’m not sure how to say this, but… I’m kind of a big deal.”
I believe part of the problem lies in the amount of detail we expect God to reveal about His will. The amount of detail in God’s will for us can increase or change based on where we are at in our relationship with Him, or even what season we’re in in our life. He starts out by only introducing us to His general will, and as we get to know Him better and build a relationship with Him, we begin to understand some of the more specific aspects and applications of His will. A brand-new, day-old believer doesn’t necessarily need to immediately understand God’s will as it pertains to the structure of the church, eschatology, or even modesty. They just need to understand God’s will for mercy, repentance, and salvation. As they develop in their relationship with God and allow God (and God’s people) to correct them, that’s when they can start to find out the more specific details.
Likewise, those of us who have been walking with God for a longer period of time do not need to be overly concerned with what God will
reveal to us. We should make sure we’re listening
to God so that if and when He does reveal more, we are ready to act upon it. Before asking what God’s big plan is for our life, we should start with a much simpler question:
Am I acting upon what I already know of God’s will?
In other words, am I being faithful in the responsibilities God has already given to me, or am I like an entry-level employee who can’t do his current job because he is so focused on what he’ll accomplish when he’s an executive?
“Welcome to Burger Palace. Would you like to see the new marketing strategy I’m developing that could boost our profit by 75% over a 5-year period?”
The fact is, God has already given you your homework. The Bible is chock-full of things that can and should keep you busy for a lifetime!
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. – Jesus
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James
Seriously, if these things are all that God ever told you to do during your life, it would be more than you could accomplish during your brief stint here on Earth. And the truth is, that might be all that God tells you to do during your life.
My job is not to speculate about what grandiose mission God will accomplish through me. My job is to make sure I’m thoroughly accomplishing the mission(s) He has already given to me, and not arrogantly demanding more details than I need!
“Yeah, but I sort of think God wants me to be the next Billy Graham. Except bigger.”
It’s good to work towards goals as God lays them on your heart, but let’s not neglect our primary purpose in order to pursue some “higher calling.” Choosing to accomplish God’s will daily is the only thing that will lead to accomplishing God’s will for my life.
Am I focused more on accomplishing some grand plan with my life, or am I satisfied to follow Jesus, step by step?
If I’m waiting for God to show me the next step, have I first made sure that I’m accomplishing what He has already shown me?
When I think of my plans and desires, are my motives out of self-importance or a desire to glorify God?