When I was a young man I often wondered what God’s will was for my life. When I got a little older, I wondered what God’s will was for my life. Now, that I’m probably well past halftime in my life, I think I’m starting to understand God’s will for my life. I think there are general truths that are applicable to everyone.
Love God. Love others.
Jesus said as much Himself, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
I experienced true life-change and a commitment to knowing and following Jesus when I was 17. On August 17, 1984, I decided I wanted to live my life for the purpose that God created me. That being said, I don’t think I had a clue what that purpose was in any specific sense. My dad, of whom I’ve written about extensively in two books (Woodlawn and Always Fall Forward), was a football coach. He pushed his players and me (I played for him) very hard. He made us work very diligently and I’m glad he did. Still, I can’t help but think that some of my thoughts of God are related to how I perceived my own earthly Dad…that somehow God’s plan for me would be extremely painful and not enjoyable in the moment.
So, I spent my college years “seeking God’s will” for my life. Then, I got out and started working, just a job though….probably not “God’s will.” I knew that “God’s will” would be something that He shared with me in a burning bush moment. I also kind of suspected that God’s will for me would probably be something really difficult, no fun, and almost like penance. I think my thoughts of God and His will were probably not too dissimilar from lots of folks' ideas about God these days. These thoughts are that God is some sort of Cosmic Killjoy who will let you into Heaven through faith in Jesus, but who wants you to prove that faith by living a life devoid of fun and enjoyment.
Today, I’d like to share what I believe is a Biblical view of God’s will.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
The mind of man plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Those three verses tell us things.
1. God does have plans for us and they are for our good, to prosper us, and to give us hope.
2. We should make plans and if we get off-track, God will re-direct us.
3. Trusting God above our own understanding will help keep us on the right path.
Some additional things about God that have helped me see more of Who He is and what His will is for me.
God invented fun.
God invented laughter.
God gave us tastebuds and mouths to eat instead of just having us plug into a wall or something for our needed nutrition.
God invented SEX! All these things should direct our gaze back at the one who gave them to us for our enjoyment within His boundaries. He wants you to enjoy Him through these things!
And, God made you. He made you unique. You are an exclusive blend of talents, temperament, gifting, likes, and dislikes.
In his best-selling book, “First Break All the Rules,” Marcus Buckingham shares with us that people are most satisfied, and enjoy their work the most, when they are doing what they are most uniquely gifted to do. Mr. Buckingham is on to something!
God designed you to do what you are most uniquely gifted to do. What do you love to do? What are you passionate about? Think about this line from Olympic Gold Medalist Eric Liddell from the 80’s classic movie “Chariots of Fire,” when he explained to his sister why he was delaying joining her on the mission field in China:
“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast!
And when I run I feel his pleasure.”
Have you found that thing that when you are doing it, you feel God’s pleasure? Explore your gifting. Explore your passions. What activity makes you happiest? Investigate that! You may have discovered God’s vocational will for your life. I have a deep desire to help people discover this for themselves. If you want to talk to someone about your own gifting or vocational ideas, just drop me a note.
Each day we go into the world with the opportunity to make an impact. Each person whose paths cross ours matters. Lives intersect for a reason. I believe there is One who directs our steps to these sometimes seemingly random meetings. My goal for these encounters is that I make a difference. That is my desire for those who venture across my blog. I hope you are blessed and it makes a difference for you.