How Do I Know?
Written by Jacquelyn Davis, National Intern Coordinator –
So, you’re graduating. Congratulations! I bet a few things you are sick of hearing are, “What are you doing with your life?” “Have you decided on a college?” “What do you plan to major in?” This time of your life is all about planning for the future and making big decisions. Few people tell you that these decisions are really like every other decision you will face in your life, and those decisions will just keep coming, the older you get. It can seem overwhelming, and slightly terrifying, this unknown territory of “the future.” How do you know where to go? What to do? What to pursue? How do you get this right? And is there only one right answer? If you are a young man or woman who loves the Lord, you are probably wondering the age-old question, “What is God’s will for your life?” Wow, what a large, heavily-packed question that is. I’ve been there and I understand the worry and apprehension of facing that question.
I don’t know you. You are someone on the other side of this screen, reading my blog post. However, if you love the Lord and are truly seeking His will for your life, I am talking to you. Yes, you. What authority do I have to speak to you on this subject? All I have is the Word of God and 20 years of walking with Christ. I don’t have all the answers but we serve a God who does. I want to encourage you today and remind you of some truths from God’s Word.
1. God doesn’t want you to play hide and seek with His will.
This should come as a great comfort! Although we see this truth again and again, all throughout Scripture, it is often overlooked as we desperately seek the will of the Lord. The commands God gives throughout Scripture are plain. Love God. Love others as yourself. Do not covet. Do not steal. The list goes on. They may not be easy things to do, especially when we try in our own strength. However, God doesn’t hide His will and ask us to jump through hoops to figure out what is right and wrong. All we have to do to figure out right and wrong is to look in His Word. As the Psalmist clearly states, “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11) And again, “Your Word is a light unto my feet and a lamp unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105) God’s Word is our map and our guide when it comes to life. No, it doesn’t say, “Johnny go to college at such and such a school and get a degree in theology.” But it does tell us to honor our parents. It tells us to seek godly counsel and make wise choices with the company we hang out with. He also tells us to use our gifts and talents (the whole parable about the talents… remember that one? Look up Matthew 25:14-30). If you’re called to linguistics then you’re probably not called to go to a school that doesn’t have that major. Be in the Word. Know what it says and judge your decisions based on the Word of God.
2. To know His will, God desires a living sacrifice.
Romans 12:1-2 are some of my favorite verses. Maybe you remember hearing verse two, which says, “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.” But let’s look at verse one, which has to do a lot with “approving” or knowing the will of God. Verse one says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” God desires a living sacrifice. Many times when we come to the stage of life of making decisions and trying to determine the future, we look at it from a very “me” point of view. We consider our talents, our deep desires, and our ambitions, etc. to determine what our next step should be. One of the most misinterpreted Bible verses I hear among young men and women searching for God’s will is the verse Psalm 37:4, which says, “…He will give you the desires of your heart.” If you look at that whole Psalm, you will see that the Psalmist tells us to commit our ways to the Lord! (Psalm 37:5) The Lord takes our fleshly, selfish desires and exchanges them for His heavenly ones. But many of us skip that part and want to go straight to Him giving us our desires. Be aware and be ready and willing to sacrifice. All of us are called to sacrifice. I don’t know what God is calling you to sacrifice. I’m not telling you He will make you go to the one place you hate or make you do the one thing you don’t want to. But remember that He did call Jonah to Nineveh. Whatever it is that He calls you to do, He will never leave you or forsake you and you will be fulfilled in it if your eyes are fixed on Christ. So say, “YES!” The older you get the more you recognize that nothing really matters except Him anyway. The point is, if you really want to know the will of God for your life, then you have to give Him EVERYTHING. I mean literally EVERYTHING. You are to be a living sacrifice for Him.
3. Choices will always have to be made.
There are times when we come face to face with TWO good options! I know! It is crazy to think that sometimes there are two right answers. Especially when you are looking at ministry, this can be true. There were several times when I faced two good options for ministry opportunities. Was one better than the other? Neither was sinful. I could look at Scripture and see how both were good and pleasing to the Lord. It came down to a choice. Maybe it doesn’t matter which college you end up at. Maybe God is ok with either school. (GASP!) But, really, maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe He is allowing you to choose the one you prefer more. When you look at the story of Noah, there are so many details that the Lord gives Noah regarding the building of the Ark. But did you ever find the verse that told Noah where to get the gopher wood? Did he get it from the valley or on top of the mountain? Did it matter? No. What mattered was that it was gopher wood. Maybe that is where you are at. Maybe there are two or three good options. None of these options go against the Word of God. You have approval from your parents on each option and, yet, you still must face a decision. That can be a scary place to be. Let me remind you, though, of our God’s sovereignty. Our God is almighty and He has everything under control. If there is a reason He doesn’t want you going here or there, or making this decision or that, and you are seeking His face, don’t you think He would close the door? When we are walking with the Lord, we do not need to be in fear of the decisions we make. God gives us the courage to make good, wise, and godly decisions! His Word tells us that He has given us everything we need for godliness!
Therefore, you young people, boldly step out in faith! As you face these decisions in your life, continue to read the Word and seek godly counsel. Then, take that step of faith, whether that means joining an internship, moving away to school, or taking that job. Ultimately, let your pursuit be for the furtherance of the gospel and the glory of the Lord. Congrats on your graduation and may God bless you as you head out into the world to shine His light.