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I was having a conversation with a university student recently and he was trying to discern God’s will for His life. I can’t tell you how often I’ve struggled with this question in my own life as well. God’s purpose for me. What is it? Can I know it? How can I follow it?
Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear the word “purpose” I immediately connect it to “plan”. If God’s got a purpose for the world, then He has a plan for me. And if God has a specific plan for my life, how do I discover that plan? I use to be so convinced that trying to find God’s will for my life was an end result and once found, that I would follow that plan for the rest of my life. But what if God intended our purpose to just be and not to do? What if God intended your purpose to simply be a walking witness of his love instead completing a task, accomplishing a goal, or finishing project.
I don’t believe that God has scripted ever detail of every day into a cosmic play in which I’m one of the actors. Given, there is ambiguity here since Psalm 16 and other Biblical narratives show God is ultimately in control. But to know the steps in the pathway of my day is impossible for me to discern. I know that God knows what’s going to happen because He’s not bound by time. He knows what’s going to happen to you 10 minutes from now as well as 10 years from now. He sees it all. But living the detail by detail – that’s up to us.
God’s purpose for our lives is simply to love Him and love others. Anything past that, God gives us freedom to choose. Remember, He knows what that choice will be. So it doesn’t matter if you want to be an electrician, a church-worker, a musician, an accountant or whatever else you want to do. Here is the key thought: What you choose to spend your time doing is not your Purpose, that is your life’s work. Purpose is bigger and simpler than what choose to do.
I ended up telling this student to cut the question in half. Don’t ask, “What is God’s will for my life” but ask, “What is God’s will?” After that we have freedom to do whatever we want! (As long as it’s not sin). God simply wants us to be His children; to love other people the way He loves us.
Until next time, go and lead an extra-ordinary life.