Dr. Phil – At one point or another, we have all wrestled with the question: What is God’s will for my life? For most of us our life path is anything but a straight line, with our fair share of stones along the way. I am sure you can relate. As we mentor young leaders, it is clear that the topic of God’s leading is of particularly interest at their stage of life. Even small changes can make a significant difference in the trajectory in their life at that age. It is a time when many of the big decisions of life are made.
Yet, regardless of our stage in life’s journey, we are all in need of continual direction and leading from the Lord. Usually our specific question is, “What is God’s will for MY life?” But I would like to suggest that there is an even more fundamental question before asking that question. Perhaps the more appropriate question should be “What is God’s will? Period. I would submit that the answer to this question will directly answer the more specific one related to our own lives.
Our western culture has become increasingly narcissistic and, even in the church, there can be a tendency to make God’s will all about us. God’s will is always seen through the prism of My life, My goals, My needs, my, my, my. But what if we were first to ask, What is God’s will? What is his goal? What is he all about? Maybe we have trouble understanding our fit on this earth because we have not fully settled what God’s overall will is for his creation. It is only once we figure that out, that we can truly begin to determine our role in his purposes.
It is clear from Scripture that the theme from Genesis to Revelation is that humanity was ultimately created for his purposes (not the other way around). With the Fall, God came in the form of his Son to redeem us so that we can reclaim his ultimate purpose, which will only be fully realized one day when he redeems all of creation. While most of us are just trying to make ends meet and have a meaningful “three score and ten,” seeing the big picture has a way of putting the mundane of what we all experience in our lives into perspective.
Now God does have specific purposes for our lives, but they only makes sense within the eternal context of his ultimate will. Now, to fulfill this I do not believe that we all can, or should, become foreign missionaries or limit our ministry to within the walls of the church. It is much bigger than that. He has given each of us talents, gifts, unique relationships, and all sorts of resources in order that we may be that salt and light within the very context he has placed us. We are to live out that big plan in the routine of our everyday lives.
While we all may have different roles and functions in our lives, God has a purpose for each life and we all have the opportunity to partner with him in some way to accomplish his purposes. It is like the story of the two stone masons. When asked what they were doing, one said, “I am just chiseling these stones to make them smooth.” The other laborer said, “I am building a magnificent palace!” Though we are not always aware of our part in his plan, understanding his big plan, to bless all peoples, gives us the perspective we need to partner with God in something much bigger than just ourselves. Only by understanding his will does his particular purpose for our lives have meaning.