“What is God’s will for my life?”
A common question, especially when you’re a teenager who’s crouching on the springboard to the rest of life: college. This is where the rubber hits the road—all those childhood dreams fall to the wayside when you consider that whatever you study in college might actually have to count for something. The dreams of being an ice cream truck driver or a princess are seen as they really are, either not a sustainable income or just highly improbable. Still, choices have to be made.
And, of course, as sensible Christian teens, God is brought into the equation. “Lord, show me what You want for me,” we pray. And sometimes, the answer just doesn’t come. Sometimes, we’re left wringing our hands over whether to pursue a biochemical engineering degree at University of Florida or a “Worship Music” degree at Wheaton in Illinois. Sometimes, colleges don’t work out, career paths don’t open up, and the future suddenly doesn’t look as exciting anymore.
I’ve heard people say “Find the will of God by doing the will of God.”
To which I reply, Yeah, sure, but how? If we don’t know the will of God, how can we ever do it in order to find it?
It is for moments like this that we are thankful that our loving God has provided us with a wonderful answer to our question: the Bible.
“Yes,” you say, “but the Bible can’t tell me God’s will for me, specifically, right now.”
And I say, “Oh yes it can.”
I did a little digging and found God’s will for my life right now, written clear as day in His Word. Here’s what I found:
God’s will for me is to be a loving sister.
I have four younger siblings who look up to me. I can see them as pests (sometimes they are…), or I can see them as my ministry. I can focus on myself at all times (which I do a lot), or I can realize that I have a unique opportunity to influence four lives like no one else can.
God’s will for me is to honor my parents.
And it always will be. But especially now as a teenager, I need to honor them. This takes different forms. Sometimes it means respecting my dad when I would like to say something rude, and sometimes it means obeying the rules they set in place. Sometimes it means taking correction without a fight, and sometimes it means just having fun together. Whatever my relationship with my parents entails, God calls me to honor them.
God’s will for me is to be an encouraging friend.
Have you ever seen a friend exhibit the gospel to you? Maybe it’s by bringing you coffee on a hard day, or writing a kind note, or supporting you in a tough time. Friendships are prime opportunities for showing the love of Jesus. Sometimes people are hard to love (even wonderfully sweet people). But loving them, encouraging them, and spurring them on to love and good deeds is something that I’m called to do right now. That also means no gossiping, back-stabbing, fighting—none of that. We are called to love one another!
God’s will for me is to use my talents to glorify Him.
God has gifted me in many ways. (That sounds vain, but it really wasn’t mean to…) One of them is writing, and another is any form of editing. (For example, I’m just cringing that I ended that last parenthetical sentence with “to”.) God didn’t give me these gifts so that I could make myself feel better or hide them away (both of which I do too often). He gave them to me so I could give them back to Him. That looks different for everyone. It doesn’t always mean having a large platform to share your gift. Look at this blog—I only have a handful of (lovely, encouraging, wonderful) readers, but it is my way of using my gift to glorify God… and I think He approves.
God’s will for me is to abide in Him.
This one’s hard for me. I have such a hard time reading my Bible faithfully, and praying is a constant struggle. But it is God’s will that I abide in His Word, for my own satisfaction and growth, and for His ultimate glory.
God’s will for me is that I be joyful always and give thanks.
It says it right in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17—this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus!
God’s will for me is that I produce the fruit of the Spirit.
This is what will happen as I abide and grow in my faith—the Spirit will work sanctification and spiritual growth in my life, and I will become more and more like Jesus.
God’s will is that I do the good works He prepared for me to do.
This is a sort of summation of all the rest. God, knowing and predestining me, planned a bunch of ways that He is going to use me, specifically. And it’s His will that I do those things. Which brings us back to the original question of the article: Just what has God willed for me to do? What “good works” was I created to do? What should I do with my life?
The answer: Obey the revealed will of God, and the rest will come. Look at this list. Learning to be faithful in all of this (and more…) is no small task! It’s no small accomplishment! And it’s only possible through the work of God in you, which is ultimately what gives God the most glory—His being strong where you are weak.
So, this is my answer to the age-old question: “What should I do with my life?”
You don’t have to stress about every detail of your college, major, career path, future family (and let’s not forget retirement plan!) right this second. Obey what you know to be God’s will for you today, and God will direct your path tomorrow. Trust in the Lord with all your heart… and He will make your path straight. He will! Do you believe Him?
One more note (sorry, I know this is already too long): God’s love and involvement in our lives is not dependent on our performance or our obedience to His will. In other words, I’m not setting this up as a big list of all the things you must do to be a “good Christian.” As God’s beloved child, your worth, value, and standing in heaven is literally untouched by what you do. Disobey God? He loves you the exact same. Obey God? Great, but He doesn’t love you one tiny bit more than if you were sinning all over the place. God’s love for us was bought by Jesus’ blood on the cross. We cannot earn it, cannot deserve it, and cannot ever repay the debt we owe—not by following God’s will or doing something amazing for God. This is how we, as Christians, can glorify God, which is the reason for our salvation anyway…
Just so we’re all clear. 😊