Expect God to do the Unexpected in your Lives
How do we choose what path to take?
We have more opportunities than any generation before us. Technology, material wealth, and a global interconnectedness presents the average Millennial with more potential than our parents could have ever imagined. In this cacophony, we routinely wonder and worry what direction our lives will take.
For the believer, we are told to trust God and know that his will is perfect. Pulpit axioms and best-selling books echo themes to the effect of the Lord’s words to Jeremiah: “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).
God desires good for his children (Romans 8:28). This theme is repeated throughout his word and is true. But Paul has more specificity to add to God’s will for our lives. Paul states it in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “For this is the will of God — your holiness.”
When I think about God’s good plans for me, I pictured getting married and raising a family as soon as possible, becoming a Airline CEO by 30, and retiring comfortably at 60. In other words, my way of viewing God’s plan for me looked oddly like the dream of many. But it did not happen that way. God had a purpose and plan and it all happened at his chosen time.
These things are all good gifts, and there’s nothing immoral about wishing for a comfortable life in the right context. In fact, we should pray that God blesses us and his people. The problem arises when we wish for such temporary things more than the ultimate joy received through sanctification.
The reality is that for most of church history and in most of the world today Christians have been severely oppressed, marginalised, and killed for their beliefs. Observe the lives of the early apostles; almost all of them were martyred. For most Christians, seeking God’s will doesn’t look like fretting over career decisions, but learning how to live for God’s glory when the stakes are high and the costs steep.
We often want God to be our life coach rather than our Lord. We want a priest to give us three to five helpful tips on how to live an easier life, all the while forgetting that our mission is to exalt God. Instead of letting his glory to shape our desires and ambitions, we too often expect him to reveal his minute-by-minute instructions for our lives. We expect him to spell out everything. We crave the personal comfort of knowing our destined five-year plan over faithfully trusting him the next five years.
Slowly, we forget that faith might look messy, and that we might not have our entire life plan unveiled to us immediately. Sometimes, we must step forward with both confidence and uncertainty. We forget that, while God has conquered death through his Son on the cross, we still live in a fallen world and are amid a spiritual war between good and evil. We forget that he’s sovereign over us.
God’s plan is that he may be most glorified in us through us being satisfied in him. As Christians we know that true happiness, the truly wonderful life comes from true surrender.
So, what would it look like to reconstruct how we, as believers, view God’s will? His word says that “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6), and to, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). How ought we make decisions in this light? In the here-and-now, it can be difficult to decipher what he’s telling us. In times when God seems to be speaking to us in a faint whisper, we must realise his primary will for us: holiness.
This realisation is tremendously freeing. Instead of being stuck in paralysis of deliberation, we can take the next step forward. We begin to recognise that what is on this earth is fleeting. We don’t have to fret in indecision, futilely trying to interpret God’s will as if it were a complex puzzle. When we have the choice between good options concerning careers, jobs, places to live, and the like, we can decide confidently knowing that God wants our holiness regardless of our context.
We don’t know what the future will hold, but we know that he is good and will bring what he began to completion (Philippians 1:6). If we pursue holiness first, wherever we may end up will be of some importance, yet ultimately trivial.
Before every big decision, surrender to God and pursue holiness. Trust the Lord and his promises to make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5–6).
If we want to climb the unclimbable mountains of God’s majesty and begin to discern his will, we must break free from our illusions about the pleasures and acceptance of our small world, and fix the eyes of our hearts on the bigness and beauty of our God.
Found: God's Will - John F. MacArthur
God Will Use This for Good - Surviving the Mess of Life - Max Lucado
God's Will - Finding Guidance for Everyday Decisions- Packer J I & Nystrom Carolyn