Wouldn’t it be nice if living the Christian life was as simple as following a road map? All you’d have to do is follow the directions. You’d know what turns to make and when to make them. You’d see exactly where you’ll end up at the final destination.
But life is nothing like this. It’s anything but like following a map. We not only don’t know what the future holds, we also have a lot of big decisions to make along the way.
Some young people who will be graduating in a few months might be wondering what’s next? What should I do with my life? (Don’t we all struggle with this questions from time to time.)
Maybe you’re in a position where you are wondering is the job or career I’m in the right one?
A single person might be wondering is the person I am dating the right person for me? Should I marry this person?
Any of us may wonder: How can I be a better friend? A better spouse? A better parent?
If only we had a map.
As Christians, regardless of what stage of life we are in, we know that God has a plan for us, and that all things work for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), but how are we supposed to know what that plan and purpose is? Too often we get all tied up in knots wondering about life’s challenges and problems. We wonder whether we went through the green door when God might have intended for us to go through the red door. If more bad things seem to be happening to us than good things we wonder what that might mean about God’s will? Or what happens if our circumstances in life suddenly change and we find ourselves in a wheelchair or in a nursing home or in the midst of a divorce?
But what if I were to tell you that God has already made His will for your life perfectly clear. What if I were to tell you that from His perspective, you can’t help but get things right in life. Would you buy that? Because actually, that is precisely what the Bible does give us.
It’s not as complicated as we tend to make it. The short and skinny version is this: God’s will is for you to be saved. God’s will is simply that “[He] desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” (1 Timothy 2:4 ESV). That’s His cause that He works to accomplish. He wants salvation for you! And He has made every provision for that salvation Himself. He has given you everything you need in Jesus’ perfect life, death, and resurrection. You don’t need to do ANYthing to please Him or find Him or discern His will. He is pleased with Jesus and sees you as one redeemed by Christ. [This is a pretty radical thought if you take it to heart… but it is so very true.]
In Christ, God has taken care of everything. Do you believe that? Do you really believe that all your worrying and stressing in life doesn’t count for a hill of beans? God already sees you as complete and perfect because of what Christ has done. Believe that and you will know the truth and that truth will set you free. But reject that truth–if you continue to gauge yourself based on the things of this world, your performance, your choices, your work–then true happiness will always seem like the piece of cheese the mouse gets if he can find his way through the maze. No one wants to live the proverbial rat race!
It is this freedom then that helps you and me answer all the big questions of life in a whole new and refreshing way. You see, since our need has already been perfectly met in Christ, God now positions us in this life to help meet the needs of others. This is called VOCATION. No matter your station in life. No matter what problems you are facing. No matter whether you have your act together or feel like things are falling apart–whether you are healthy or sick–you are His hands and feet at work in the world! You are a part of the body of Christ. All the time! 24/7!
That means all the things we do, we now get to do them for Jesus. And that alone is the greatest guiding principle for any situation in life where we feel like we have come to a fork in the road and we don’t know which path to take. In Christ, we know that whichever path we take, we are doing it to serve the Lord. But if our only goal in life is to be richer, have more stuff, or gain more influence, then we are always going to struggle with wondering if we made the right choice and are on the right path. But if our aim is to serve the Lord who has already served us, that makes things a lot less complicated.
And this doesn’t just apply to the big things of life. In fact, it may surprise you to know that our Lord sees your everyday, menial tasks as meaningful too. That meal you cooked yesterday for your family, even though you were dog-tired from a long day a work? Did you know that it was for Jesus, too?
Mom, those ten diapers you changed—a work as unto the Lord.
Men, that ten minutes or so you spent just listening to and encouraging your wife—that was God’s work, too.
The neighbor that you spent a Saturday afternoon helping because he has too much on his plate right now—a divine act in the grand opera of heaven.
You see, the more we live by faith in the truth that our need has been fully met in Christ, the more we start to see the world in a way that focuses less on our problems and frustrations and we see a whole world of needs around us that Jesus is literally dying to meet. And we get to be a part of it. That is your vocation… your calling… In other words, God’s will for your life.
What areas of life do you struggle most with wondering God’s will and God’s purpose? How can these areas be clarified if you apply the principle that everything we do in life we do for Jesus?
Gracious and loving Savior, You have encouraged me with the words: “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Grant me the Holy Spirit that I may cheerfully and confidently place my hand in Yours and follow Your safe guidance through life’s problems and pleasures. Help me more clearly to see You and Your love amid my joys and sorrows, pleasures and pains, triumphs and valleys on the path which You have chosen for me, a path which rises ever upward towards heaven.
Lead me to the assurance that You have overcome the world, so that with this confidence I, too, can be of good cheer, serving You with Christlike joy and spreading cheer to others. I will then be able to praise You in my troubles, knowing that “all things work together for good to them that love God. This grant me for Your own sake. Amen.