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"What is God's will for my life? How do I know?"
As a Christian young person, would you like someone to detail what, exactly, God would like you to do for Him? Wouldn't that be great?
As I read the Bible, and learn more about the people who followed Him, I don't see that kind of 'roadmap' situation at all.
Take the "Wilderness Wanderings" of the children of Israel, for example. They were to set up camp, but watch for the cloud (by day) or the fire (by night) to lift. When it did, it was time to head 'em on up, move 'em on out. Swell. With cattle, and children and babies, and all the household possessions, I'm sure that was a fun way to live.
For forty years.
Nobody went ahead of them and put up ENORMOUS signs with big, easy-to-follow arrows: Moses and everybody: Turn left HERE.
If you read the books of Exodus through Numbers, God shows Himself to be plenty capable of giving very precise instructions, about everything from the construction of the tabernacle to dealing with mold in leather. Surely He could have laid out a map, clued Moses in on a plan, and made things much clearer...simpler...easier...
The mind jumps to "Why? Why didn't God take them to the Promised Land in a month, and make everything easy, especially after all they'd been through, you know, 400 years of slavery and all...?"
Well, keep reading. When they got to the edge of the Promised Land, what stood in their way?
Jericho, a walled city.
God's instructions? March around the city for seven days, then, when I tell you, blow trumpets and yell.
Only a patiently trained bunch of people, who lived through forty years of 'head 'em on up, move 'em on out,' would have obeyed without a peep.
The walls fell.
So, what's the lesson learned? It could very well be that when God expresses His will to you, quite clearly, it would sound absolutely nutty if you hadn't been properly trained ahead of time--patiently, lovingly, effectively trained.
Trust God with your life, and the training commences.
You're saying to yourself, "MM-kay, but I need another example."
I'll give you the Ultimate Example, Jesus Himself.
How did He approach doing God's will?
Doing God's will can sometimes be as simple as NOT doing what you know is wrong, and would displease Him.
When Jesus expected that temptation was coming His way, He prepared Himself. He chose fasting from food as His method, but the preparedness is what I want to emphasize. True, you might not always know when temptation is rushing toward you, silent and unseen, but moving at the speed of thought. But, as you get to know yourself and your world and your tendencies more and more, you'll have a surprisingly frequent ability to know the warning signs. BE PREPARED!
Side thought here: when Jesus faced temptation, He responded to the devil by quoting Scripture. It's hard to quote something you've never read, isn't it?
Anyhoo...Jesus also kept Himself in touch with the will of God by keeping in touch with God, aka prayer. Skim through the Gospels and pay special attention to all the passages about Jesus retreating by Himself to pray. He was a busy Man, with lots of people pulling on Him from many different directions, but He put communing with God at a high priority, high enough to get up early in the morning to carve out the time.
I can hear you talking to yourself again: "All righty, then. To do God's will, I will need to be trained. Got that.
"I should follow the example of how Jesus obeyed God's will. Got that, too.
"But we've circled back around to where we started: 'How do I know what God's will is for my life?' Is there a way to know what He wants of me?"
The Bible gives a simple answer to that--not easy, but simple. I Thessalonians 4:3 says It is God's will that you should be holy;... Take a quick look at any dictionary, and the word "holy" communicates these concepts: belonging to God, worthy of esteem, and set apart for a purpose.
God's will is that you would continuously grow to be more like Him. Pursue that, let Him train you, and follow the example of Jesus.
It's not the end-all, be-all, most profoundly spiritual of answers, but it's a start.
Scripture from the NIV.
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