We wish people a happy New Year, but will it be?
Many people (even believers, sadly), are not confident about the future. They have far more questions than answers. What’s up ahead? What is going to happen to me? Will I be OK? What about my family? And the most common question of all . . . drum roll, please . . . .
What is God’s will for me?
I remember asking questions about God’s will as a college student — persistent, distracting questions about ministry and direction and even a lifetime partner. I was confused about what to do and where to get answers. I sincerely wanted to do God’s will, but I was not sure how to discover it. People often gave conflicting answers and pious platitudes. “Pray and wait, brother; God will show you,” as if God’s will could only be found by putting my motor in neutral. “Let go and let God, young man,” as if God’s will could only be found by abandoning my search for it. I became very discouraged in my attempts to locate this elusive thing called “THE WILL OF GOD.”
Are you at a place like that? Maybe you want to move out of state, but you’re not sure if it’s God’s will. Perhaps you have been offered a new position but don’t want to make a career move until you are certain that God is behind it. Are you struggling with a difficult relationship and desperately need to know whether God wants you to walk away? Everywhere people are wrestling with the same kinds of questions, and often it comes down to this: “How can I know God’s will for my life?”
This may come as a surprise to you, but the Bible doesn’t spend a lot of time on that stuff. As I’ve said before, God’s will is 98% about who you are. God’s focus isn’t so much on the externals; He wants to change the inner you. He says, “If I can change you into the person I want you to be, you’ll know where you’re supposed to go, where you’re supposed to work, and who you’re supposed to marry.” Paul said it plainly: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
It is not God’s will for us to waste much time and energy trying to find God’s will. When Paul says, “do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17), he is not talking about the externals but rather the inner character that marks a child of God. We need to work on obeying the will of God as revealed in His Word before we can expect some kind of special guidance for our lives.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God would just give us a vision like He gave to Paul, “A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, ?Come over to Macedonia and help us'” (Acts 16:9)! But notice verses 6 and 7, where Paul wanted to preach in Asia and then again in Bithynia. In both cases the Holy Spirit shut the door and would not allow him to enter those lands. Paul was not sitting back waiting for direction; he was moving forward until God clearly intervened and led him in a different direction.
So as you look to the year ahead, are you filled with a sense of expectation about God’s desire to bless and prosper you at your point of greatest need? Or do you face a cloud of uncertainty? Let me encourage you to move forward with what information has been revealed to you in the Scriptures. In those pages you will find the vast majority of God’s will for your life.
Happy New Year!
Copyright 2003 – Walk in the Word. Used by permission. Dr. James
MacDonald is the Bible teacher on the daily national radio program Walk in the Word. If you enjoyed this devotional, visit us weekly at walkintheword.com