Most kids have a great response – dreaming to be a firefighter, police officer, astronaut, doctor, veterinarian, farmer, or business owner.
Throughout elementary school, high school, and college, the same question often arises, but our answers become more diverse – social workers, programmers, actuaries, journalists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs.
Even after landing our first job, many of us tend to daydream of something better – something that will allow us to live to our full potential.
Career choice isn’t the only challenging question we face.
From the age of 8 to 108, we continually struggle with questions involving relationships, health, finances, and purpose.
The reality is, most of these questions are a part of something deeper – they’re part of our search for meaning.
Every human being, regardless of religion, race, or favorite TV show, longs to live the most meaningful life possible. The challenge is, where do we find this meaning? How can we be confident that our life will be purposeful and impactful?
As Christians, we are fortunate enough to know that God has a purpose and plan for our lives. Unlike much of the rest of the world, we have no need to wander around aimlessly, because we know what God desires of us.
Or do we? Often times, even for Christians, it can be difficult to know how to be confident in comprehending God’s will for our lives. Fortunately, we are not alone in our decision making. Here are a few steps to help us determine God’s will – in everything from career to marriage.
How to Discover’ God’s Will for Your Life When it Seems Unclear
When you find yourself at a crossroads, unsure of where to turn next, walk through the following questions to discover which option will align you closest with God’s plan for you.
Does one option very clearly oppose God’s Word?
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17
One very easy way to know God’s will is to follow what he commands us to do in the Scriptures. God will never contradict what He has said in the past.
Therefore, if the question you’re struggling with is whether or not to seek revenge on your neighbor or leave your wife for another woman – the answer is very clear. God’s will is black and white on many topics, including these two.
But don’t focus solely on the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 when determining how God wants you to live. Consider the life of Christ and how He made decisions. Ultimately, dwell on Luke 10:27 and make sure that your decision reveals a love for God and man.
If one of the choices would result in opposing God’s word – and failing to love others – it is certainly not the path God has ordained for your life.
Which choice will make you a better person – or be less likely to tempt you?
Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
God’s number one desire is for us to become perfect – just as He is perfect. What does this mean? God cares more about who we are than what we do.
Therefore, when making a serious life decision, ask yourself how you might be impacted – for better or for worse.
For example, if you’re offered a promotion that will require you to work 70 hours a week, will you grow in character? Sure, the paycheck may be great but how will it influence your family, spiritual life, and physical health?
Meanwhile, if a young Christian man discovers a beautiful woman is interested in him but she “doesn’t want anything serious,” is dating her the right choice? The idealist may think that he can convert this woman, but is that really the case? If this man allows lust to overcome his personal values and morals, not only can it result in a lousy relationship, but it can ruin the man’s spiritual life as well.
When one decision leads down a path that very clearly results in a more mature and God-focused character, that is the path to choose.
What option feels right to you?
If all of your potential options align with the Word of God, and none of them seem to lead down a spiritually healthier path, then the decision is ultimately up to you.
God desires us to love Him and others more than anything else – ultimately, this is God’s will for our lives. Whether you do that by becoming a teacher, preacher, doctor, or entrepreneur doesn’t matter. Whether you live in the city, the country, or outside of the country, makes no difference to God – He can use you in all of these locales. All that matters to God is that you maintain your relationship with him as your #1 focus.
And remember, never choose an option because it appears more spiritual or gains higher praise from others. Ultimately, we are responsible for our own life decisions – as we are the only people who have to live them out.
Therefore, if you’re an analytical introvert, becoming a pastor may not be the right choice for you – but using your analytical abilities to improve the safety of our highways as an engineer could add tremendous value to society.
God has given you a personality, skill sets, and a network that is unique to you – and you alone. By embracing your unique differences, you can discover a life of meaning and enjoyment – one that allows you to make a powerful impact in the world for him.
Next time you find yourself at a crossroads, honestly evaluate if one option will be more likely to improve your relationship with God and others. If one of the choices is clearly superior, then choose that one. Meanwhile, if there seems to be no clear answer, then pick the option that feels right to you. After all, God gave you a brain and personality for a reason.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
Keywords: Discover God's Will, Purpose in Life