How many times have you heard someone say, “I just wish I knew God’s will for my life”? I know I’ve longed for this before. But now I see it as a misguided way of thinking and talking.
There are very few people in the Scriptures who received their life plan from God in advance (or even a five-year plan, for that matter!). Consider Abraham, who was told to pack up his family and all his possessions and start walking. He didn’t know where he was going. He didn’t know if he would ever be back. He didn’t know any of the details we consider vital (e.g., his destination, how long the venture would take, what the costs/rewards would be, whether he’d receive a 401(k) or health insurance). God said to go and he went, and that’s pretty much all he knew.
I think a lot of us need to forget about God’s will for my life. God cares more about our response to His Spirit’s leading today, in this moment, than about what we intend to do next year. In fact, the decisions we make next year will be profoundly affected by the degree to which we submit to the Spirit right now, in today’s decisions.
It’s easy to use the phrase “God’s will for my life” as an excuse for inaction or even disobedience. It’s much less demanding to think about God’s will for your future than it is to ask Him what He wants you to do in the next ten minutes. It’s safer to commit to following Him someday instead of this day.…
Nowhere in Scripture do I see a “balanced life with a little bit of God added in” as an ideal for us to emulate. Yet when I look at our churches, this is exactly what I see: a lot of people who have added Jesus to their lives. People who have, in a sense, asked Him to join them on their life journey, to follow them wherever they feel they should go, rather than following Him as we are commanded. The God of the universe is not something we can just add to our lives and keep on as we did before. The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is not someone we can just call on when we want a little extra power in our lives. Jesus Christ did not die in order to follow us. He died and rose again so that we could forget everything else and follow Him to the cross, to true Life.
And to expose our hearts to truth and consistently
refuse or neglect to obey the impulses it arouses
is to stymie the motions of life within us and, if
persisted in, to grieve the Holy Spirit into silence.