I previously wrote that Christians aim to live a life that is centered on God, but you can also avoid one. I want to discuss this by looking at the life of Jonah so that you won’t avoid a God-centered life but cultivate one. You can avoid it for a...
Many of us are desperate to know the will of God for our lives. There are so many decisions to make and none of the answers seem clear. Where should I go to college? What kind of career should I pursue? Should I keep the job that I have? Should I be a missionary? Should I get married? Should I have kids? Where should I go to church? With so many questions to face in the coming weeks and years, it is no wonder that many of us are desperate to know the will of God for our lives.
Why is it that we seek God for big or small decisions in life? Why do we call upon him when asking what we should do in the future? Well, for one, we know that he is sovereign over all things. He is in control. God’s Word tells us he has a plan for our lives, so naturally, we want to know what that plan is. We do not want to make the wrong decision and be miserable. We do not want to “mess up” God’s plan, in a sense.
Kevin DeYoung says this, “I’d like us to consider that maybe we have difficulty discovering God’s wonderful plan for our lives because, if truth be told, he doesn’t really intend to tell us what it is. And, maybe we’re wrong to expect him to.”
Matthew 6 gives us two main commands: (1) Do not be anxious about your life and (2) seek righteousness.
Do Not Be Anxious about Your Life
Matthew 6 is actually Jesus himself preaching the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus just finished preaching on laying up treasures in heaven instead of treasures on earth and now he says, “Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on.”
Anxiety has a paralyzing affect. In the lives of Christians, many times, anxiety over the choices we have to make can be a double whammy of bad news. When you do nothing, waiting on God to speak, you get nothing done and feel holy…while doing nothing.
In this passage, Jesus tells us four times to not be anxious about food, clothing, or about tomorrow. This is difficult to do, isn’t it? I can think of plenty of times when I was in seminary when I looked at our bank account and thought, “How are we going to eat?! How are we going to pay our bills?!”
The point Jesus is making here is that God is in control! Yes, he does have a plan for you. No, he is not going to tell you every single intricate detail of that plan…that is not how he works. You know that God is in control. You love to honor him. God has given you logic, reason, and desire. Sure, you should make big decisions in life with much prayer, but you do not wait around to hear a still, small voice from the Lord.
Do not wait for a miraculous sign from God to make life choices.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
For this is the will of God, your sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
This is the will of God for your life, that you seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. God’s will for your life is that you live for him! That you follow and serve him. That you be righteous. That you grow to know and love him more and more each day. That you become more like him.
You see how freeing that is? You don’t have to wait for God to tell you where to get lunch after church. You don’t have to wait for God to tell you what job you should take, or where you should live. Stop worrying about what choices you should make and live for him:
- Spend less time worrying about God’s will and spend more time becoming like Jesus Christ.
- Spend time worrying about sin in your life and kill it!
- Spend time in God’s Word, which tells us over and over again what God’s will is.
- Spend time in prayer, talking to God.
That is his will! That you know and love him more. That you become more like him, righteous and holy.
Be Freed to Make Decisions
But you may be asking, “What about the times where God has literally spoken to people with an audible voice, and it has completely changed their lives?” Yes, God has spoken to many people throughout Scripture. In fact, all Scripture is God breathed, so the entire Word of God is him speaking to people and telling them what to do. I have no doubt that God still speaks today. His Holy Spirit guides us and illuminates Scripture for us.
But, when God speaks to individuals in Scripture, it has to do with God’s work in saving humanity. Graham Goldsworthy in his book Gospel and Wisdom writes,
There are no instances in the Bible in which God gives special and specific guidance to the ordinary believing Israelite or Christian in the details of their personal existence.
Every time God has spoken to his people in an audible voice or through a sign it has been for his work of redemption. It has never been about some random life choice they have had to make.
God didn’t tell Abraham to move to Israel because the view was better and the property taxes weren’t as bad. He was creating a people for himself. From those people came the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. When Jesus knocked Paul off his donkey on the way to Damascus, blinded him, and told him to stop persecuting his church, he didn’t do that just to make Paul change his career. He did it because was grooming him to be the apostle to the Gentiles, to travel the known world and start churches, and to write 13 books in the New Testament. It was always about the gospel! About salvation!
Christians, if you are sitting around waiting for God to tell you if you should move into a different house, or find a new job, or get married, you will be waiting for a long time. First and foremost, live for Jesus Christ. Then use the logic, reason, and desires he has given you. Be freed from waiting for a sign and know that, whatever you choose, God is in control, and he is taking care of you. You have freedom in Christ to make decisions.