On Sunday morning, Jurie and Karin did something pretty scary – they opened up a conversation with the congregation and told us to ask anything. I was one of the people pulling questions from our various online platforms and sending them to Jurie and Karin, and there were some amazing questions! Unfortunately, in a 30-minute timeframe, there was no way that they could answer everything.
One question they didn’t make it to was this, “How do I live out God’s desire for my life if I don’t see how the desires He has given me have anything to do with Christianity?”
Of course, the easiest answer to this question is, “If you’re a Christian, then God’s will applies to everything in your life.” But let’s look at some of the things the Bible says about God’s will – His desires for His children.
All these verses are from the ESV (emphases added):
I could go on and on… there are hundreds of passages where God inspires the Biblical writers to tell us of His will. I want you to notice something in these verses. Does God say in the Bible, “I want people to be physicians, lawyers, chemists, teachers, and librarians?” Does He say, “I want my followers all to be pastors, worship leaders, Life Group members, and servants on the Hospitality Team?” No, the passages above demonstrate that God’s will for us generally has to do with our relationships with Him, with others, and with ourselves. When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39, ESV).
Don’t get me wrong – I think God does work with us regarding our desires for professions, service opportunities, hobbies, social lives, etc. If we ask Him for wisdom and guidance, He will guide us and grow us in all of those situations. He loves you and knows what’s best for you. But sometimes I think we expect Him to have preferences about our decisions that He doesn’t have. If we pray, “Lord, should I move to neighborhood A or neighborhood B?”, sometimes I think He says, “Go wherever you like, but wherever you go, be My hands and feet while you’re there.”
In contrast, there are times when God has very obvious desires about where you live, work, and play. After 9 years at one company, where I cried on my way to and from work as often as not, I prayed, “God, lead me somewhere. My heart is breaking.” His answer wasn’t just clear, it was LOUD. The following Sunday morning, He opened up an opportunity I’d been seeking for years. On Monday afternoon, He guided two of His people to tell me (independently, without discussing it with one another, and without having seen the announced opportunity) that they thought I should pursue that kind of work. On Monday evening, He guided my husband to say, “I think you should put in your two-week notice tomorrow morning. I’ve been squirreling away money so that you can be unemployed for six months without us taking a hit, and I think you should pursue this opportunity.” I applied for the job that week, interviewed the following week, and had the job a week later.
God saw that my misery was causing me to despair, and in that state I was neither a good servant nor a good leader for Him. I cast my anxieties on Him, and He cared for me. In my new job, I became closer to Him, developed lasting Godly relationships, and had an impact for His Kingdom.
The question I mentioned above was, “How do I live out God’s desire for my life if I don’t see how the desires He has given me have anything to do with Christianity?” My answer is that the desires He has given you have everything to do with you and Him. He is concerned about you – your faith, your joy, your friendships and romances, and your hope. His desire is that wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you’re HIS. If your work, your living situation, your relationships, or your volunteering interfere with the health of your soul and its relationship with Him, He will lead you to a new place. But if your desires lead you to a place where you can love Him and influence the world for His Kingdom, He’s happy to say, “Yes! Go and be fruitful!”
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