by Charlotte O
What is God’s will for my life? Students ask me this all the time, and in a variety of ways. “Should I quit my job?” “Should I go overseas? Which country should I choose?” Sometimes, it seems as if they want me to just tell them what to do so they can be free from the pressure (and responsibility) of making a choice. But most often, the uncertainty is simply expressed as “how do I know?”
Why are they asking me? Perhaps it’s my perceived wisdom as their teacher? Or maybe it’s because I’ve shared with a thrilling certainty that I knew it was God’s will for me to come to Taiwan. But somehow, I know that more now looking back than I did at the moment that I said yes.
There are so many unanswerable questions when it comes to discussing God’s will. And many come down to what you believe about free will in general. But the more I think about it, the more I return to two scriptures where God has revealed the big picture. Perhaps living by these words will make it easier to accept both guidance and uncertainty in the details of our lives.
The first is a very well known verse from Romans:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
So here it is: You can know what he wants you to do when you know HIM.
When your mind has been transformed. If you are still looking for a God who acts like a good luck charm or heavenly slot machine, you’ll be very dissatisfied with his seeming lack of response to your requests. Everything God does in us is with the purpose of drawing us nearer to himself. And sometimes that includes being silent until we take a step of faith. The pattern of this world is to know, to control. The mantra: knowledge is power. God is not a crystal ball, but he is an artist creating an incredible picture of our lives as we live and move and have our being. When we know him, we truly will be able to test, or discern that his will for us is always good.
The other verse that I always come back to reminds me of the old chorus we used to sing in church:
He has shown you what he requires: "Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8)
Are you doing all of these things? If so, the question of direction may begin to fade as you find that walking with God always takes you in the right direction. If you are facing a choice, whether it is between jobs, mates or locations, again, you can ask yourself which of these will best enable me to work for justice, practice mercy, and most importantly, stay closely in relationship to God.
There is one more thing not to miss in this verse: We are told not just to walk with God, but the manner in which we should do so: with an attitude of humility, remembering that God is God and we are the creation. Master and slave. Potter and clay. You can choose your metaphor, as scripture is ripe with them. But what does it mean? And how does it connect to knowing his will? Humility is in large part acknowledging God's control and lordship. In terms of walking with God, humility means being willing to walk in his way instead of demanding what you want or getting angry when things don't go your way. Know him. Seek him. Be transformed to his character. And when you look back on the road you have been walking with him, you may just find you’ve been in his will all along.
I'm Charlotte O. I'm currently working with a non-profit organization in Taiwan where I teach, lead English Bible studies, write educational materials, train teachers, pose for pictures, and a bunch of other stuff too. I'm originally from Canada, spending significant amounts of time in all three westernmost provinces. I don't really know where to call home anymore, but that's ok, because I'm a citizen of heaven. I've learned that life overseas is not as exotic as people may think, but life with God is a daily adventure. I'm excited to join Bold Cup as a 'foreign correspondent.' I’ll try to keep my posts in English though.
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