Chances are that it may be a lot easier to find than we think.
We spend so much of our lives searching for God’s will. We listen for it. We look for signs in the world around us sometimes. (I once heard the story of a guy who believed he needed to propose to his girlfriend if he hit all green lights on the way home. I’m not recommending that, but just one example of how we look for signs in our circumstances. And for all you smart alecks out there, no, it wasn’t me.)
The will of God is a big deal to us. And I can respect where that comes from. I think for most of us, it’s a reflection of our faith that what God chooses for us is always the best path for us, even if it sometimes seems difficult or unconventional or scary. There’s also just a pragmatic viewpoint; if we are looking for something in our life that works, why not God’s will? Following that potentially saves us a lot of hassle in the end.
Here’s the inherent problem, though: Most of the issues where we are seeking God’s will aren’t things addressed in the Bible as right or wrong choices. The Bible won’t give you the answer to if you should major in economics or biology. God’s Word won’t tell you what you should do for retirement. God’s Word won’t tell you who to marry, what job to take, or where to move. It can certainly provide some insight and understanding regarding issues surrounding these questions, but it’s not going to directly answer them for you. And because of that, we just get paralyzed sometimes looking for the “smoking gun” on God’s will.
I believe that God speaks, and I believe that God has a will for our lives surrounding many of these questions (and other big ones like it). In fact, I could share some stories on this blog about how I’ve heard God speak into some issues in my life through prayer that gave guidance to me through the sometimes murky waters of my existence. But overall, I think when we want to talk about God’s will, we need to start here:
In other words, Paul is saying, it’s God’s hope that we would become more like Jesus (and if you read the context, he’s speaking here specifically on our sexuality). But that’s not all. A chapter later, Paul writes:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
And if that’s not enough, in Romans 12, Paul writes:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing, and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
Ultimately, I think God’s will for us is to become like Christ. It’s for us to be formed into his image. It’s for us to become “mini Jesuses” that go around reflecting God’s glory to our world, transforming lives through God’s power as we ourselves are transformed. Do I think God has a will for your life? You bet. And if you’ve got some consternation or worry surrounding your life, by all means, please pray about it! Keep asking and seeking and knocking. But ultimately, when the day is done, I think God’s will for us has little to do with jobs or 401k’s or colleges. I think God’s will for us is to do the things, go to the places, and become the people that look like Christ.
I’m still wrestling through this in my life, but I think the filter Jesus is wanting me to look at my life through is the simple question of, “Will this help make me more like Christ?” If so, great! If not, maybe I need to reconsider.
For those of you wrestling today, I hope that provides some clarity or help in a time of confusion.