One of the most common causes of consternation among Christians is trying to determine God’s will for their life. We’ve discussed this previously, but I was recently struck with a different take on the subject. Countless books and articles have tackled this subject, but I believe they have come at if from the wrong angle. Recently I’ve been reading Erwin McManus’ “Chasing Daylight” again, and it provided the framework for my thinking. The first thing that we need to recognize is that God doesn’t have some massive blueprint for each of our lives. Believing that God has every twist and turn in your life mapped out for you eliminates the Biblical concept of freewill. For an excellent discussion on this, I recommend “Decision Making and the Will of God” by Garry Friesen or “Divine Foreknowledge: Four Views” by Greg Boyd, William Lane Craig, Paul Eddy and James Beilby. With this as our starting point, I believe there are three steps to finding your purpose. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my passions? Remember when you were younger and had visions of grandeur? We all dreamed dreams that were far bigger than ourselves and had goals of someday becoming something of note in this world. In our imaginations, we could be anything we wanted to be. As we grew older we were told that dreams were for children and we needed to focus on what we were really going to do with our lives. It seems to be the mission of those who have failed to live their dreams to quash the dreams of others as well. The passions and dreams we used to feel are what God has instilled in us. Our dreams are what make us unique from everyone else. Each of us was created for a purpose, a purpose that God carefully planted inside of us. If time and money was no object, what is it that you would most want to do? In the deepest depths of your heart, what is it that drives you? Make a note of each of your passions.
- What are my skills? In addition to passions, God has given each of us a set of skills and gifts to be used for His Glory. People with low self esteem often disregard this question, assuming they are not good at anything and therefore have no skills. The fact is, we are indeed all gifted, we simply have not taken the time to reflect and discover all that we have to offer. Some are leaders, teachers, care-givers, good listeners, handy, a good cook or have a knack for dealing with certain age groups; the list could go on and on. Spiritual gifts and personal skills are very closely related. If you are aware of your spiritual gifts, I would encourage you to make a list of all the skills associated with that particular set of gifts. If you aren’t certain what your spiritual gifts are, there are several resources (many are free) available to help you discover your gifts. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a list.
- Finally, ask how you can use your passions and your skills to best allow you to fulfill God’s will. Instead of asking what His will is for our life, we need to be asking how we can use our lives to accomplish His will. We know what His will is; He wills that none would perish, that none would go hungry or be treated unjustly. This is the will of God; He longs for unity and justice among all people. He commands us to love Him with all of our heart, soul and mind. He commands us to love others as much as we love ourselves, to treat them as we wish to be treated (Matthew 22:35-38). His mission for all who would follow Him is to tell everyone about His love and to demonstrate that love through our own lives. Looking back over your passions and skills, how might you utilize those to tell others about Christ or demonstrate His love to them? How could you use your passions and gifts to bring peace to a situation or to alleviate injustice or serve the poor? This is what following Jesus is all about; again, it’s not asking what His will is for our life but rather discovering how we can use our life to bring about His will.
Each person’s combination of passions and skills is unique, so it is difficult to give concrete examples in this limited space. I’d love to help anyone who struggles with determining how they can use what they have to fulfill the will of God. Leave a comment below describing your unique blend of dreams and gifts and I’ll respond with some real world ideas of how you might use them for God’s glory. If you prefer privacy, email me at email@example.com. I’d love to help. Knowing the will of God is as simple as living out His Word and reflecting His love to others; we all have been uniquely gifted to do so. Stop stressing over what it is God wants you to do with your life, and start living in the freedom of using your life to accomplish His will.