How Do I Know What To Do?

What Does God Want Me To Do?

Most of us have asked that question, some of us many times.

Does God want me to take this job?

Does God want me to go on this trip?

Should I buy this car?

Does God want me to marry her?

Am I supposed to move?

While we need to be aware of God’s will and be in constant submission to Him, these questions presume two beliefs:

  1. God has decided what I should do in every circumstance—a specific job, living in a specific place, marrying the one right person, etc.
  2. God has a specific will for me in every circumstance, but he isn’t going to tell me what it is! I’m supposed to figure that out for myself, and if I don’t figure it out, my life will go south.

This leads to a lot of stress and anxiety. What if I do the wrong thing? What if I don’t hear God? Many are always trying to discover God’s will and living in fear of what might happen if we can’t figure it out.

I don’t believe this is how God works. Understanding God’s will is fairly simple if we first understand some principles from scripture.

  1. We have great freedom in Christ. Many believe that God has a specific and unchanging will for every person in every situation. This belief implies that God gives us no choice. He has decided we should do this or that, and that’s all there is to it.

But there is no evidence of this in scripture. In fact, we are told that Jesus came to give us freedom—a freedom Paul warns we are not to give up (Galatians 5:1).

  1. God is an excellent communicator! Throughout scripture, we see no examples of someone for whom God has a specific will or plan, where God does not make that plan very clear. When God has a specific will for us, He tells us in a way that we cannot misunderstand. Our job then is to obey.

Perhaps the greatest example of this is Jonah. Jonah is one of the few examples of people God wanted to do something very specific. God told Him this in a way that Jonah could not misunderstand. In fact, God did understand—so well that he decided he didn’t want what God wanted, so he did exactly the opposite.

But God not only communicates when He has a very specific will for us. He also communicates His general will—the way He wants all people to be. This is made clear throughout scripture, giving us principles and general guidelines to help us navigate the freedom we have. This is why it is so important for disciples of Jesus to constantly study the word of God. Studying God’s word is listening to His will!

The main reason we don’t understand His will is we just don’t listen!

  1. Our role is to listen to what God has told us and to obey. Because God is such a good communicator, there is no account in scripture of a person who wants to know God’s will for him or herself but doesn’t know.

God does not play games with us, as though He is saying
“I know what you need to do, but I’m not going to tell you!”

Instead, God reveals His will to us—specific or general—and then gives us a choice. Will we submit to His will or go back to being our own lord and do what we want to do. Jesus gave us the best example of how we should handle such situations—even if we really don’t want to do what He wants us to do.

In Gethsemane, Jesus prayed to God the Father. He made it clear in His prayer that He understood what the Father’s will was for Him. He also made it clear that He did not want to fulfill that will! But His response wasn’t “No”, even though He could have said that without sin! Instead, He was honest with the Father, and at the same time, obedient. In essence, “Please don’t make me do this, but please do what you want instead of what I want!:

  1. God’s will comes from perfect love. Maybe part of what gave Jesus the strength to say that to the Father was that He understood God’s nature. God is Love (1 John 4:16). Because of this, we can be certain that, even if it is not what we want—even if we are afraid of what He wants for us—God’s will is the best thing for us!
  2. When we do not do God’s will, our life is not over! He is big enough to handle it. The story of Jonah makes it clear that, if God wants us to be in a certain place or to do a certain thing, that will happen.

God used a large fish to bring His will about in Jonah’s life,
and God still has plenty of large fish left.

And if we disobey God’s general will? What if we say “No” to what God wants in one of those many situations where He gives us freedom to choose? Make no mistake, when we disobey God, we pay a price because God commands us to do what is best for us. But even when we disobey, God acts in love. He stands ready to not only forgive us for our disobedience but to clean us from the stain of sin and give us another chance (1 John 1:9).

Know Jesus and Be Faithful!

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