Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What Is God's Will For My Life?

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
As I read chapter 5 of 1 Thessalonians way too early on Monday morning (I guess that's what jet lag does to you =P), these 3 verses took hold of me and haven't yet let me go. And my heart leaped last night when, without even making reference to where they are in the Bible, my youth pastor chose these three verses to exhort the youth group with. That only confirmed for me that God is trying to drill these verses into my mind and heart.

What is God's will for my life? I don't know about you, but this is a question I have struggled with continually, especially over these past couple of years. What is the grand plan? What do you want me to do? Where do you want me to be? When? With who?

More often than not, this question and the ones that are spawned from it have done more to cripple me than to empower and enable me in fulfilling God's purposes for my life. They make me feel stuck more than they cause me to surge forward in any particular direction.

And the reason is because I sit there waiting for God to answer me when He has already done so. He's done so in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. This isn't the only place that He has done so (see 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 for another place where God answers this question), but I don't think I know of anywhere else in the Bible that more clearly, directly, and comprehensively answers this question.

Whether I am an engineer or a pastor/missionary, whether my ministry seems to bear much fruit or little, whether I am in California or in Kenya, whether I have alot of money or a little, whether I remain single or get married (and who I marry if I do), whether I have kids or not, whether I'm young or old, God's answer to my question (and yours) is the same: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Could it be any clearer? The circumstances aren't the point (even though that is usually what I am thinking about when I seek God's will for my life)! God's interested in the posture of my heart in the midst of my circumstances in the present moment, whatever they are.

Am I rejoicing? Am I praying? Am I thankful? If not, I should be. Why? Because, wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, whoever I'm with, whatever I have or don't have: God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him and He's paid an infinite cost to give me Himself now and forevermore through the person and work of His Son Jesus Christ (John 17:3, 1 Peter 3:18).

The way that this satisfaction is most clearly demonstrated (and, therefore, His glory in and through me) is when I'm continually rejoicing in Him, praying to Him, and giving thanks to Him in every circumstance that I find myself in, both painful and pleasant. Because every circumstance I find myself in is from His merciful hand and is part of His plan to fulfill His will for my life.
The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Psalm 138:8
So please help me, Father, to rest in and rejoice in your steadfast love and mercy, knowing that I cannot thwart Your plans for my life. Fill my heart with greater gratitude for every circumstance You bring into my life to fulfill Your purpose for me. And grant that I would continually be driven to my knees in humble dependence on You, praying as the psalmist did, "As the deer pants for living water, so my soul pants for You, oh Lord! My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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