7 Factors to Determine Your Direction

April 24, 2010

I run into a lot of young people who are pretty committed to following Christ with their lives and yet they sort of live in this fog about exactly what that looks like for them. We tend to over-spiritualize God’s Will as if it is some hazy, foggy, wispy thing when it is really not that hard to discern.

Here are some biblical guidelines for pursuing, finding, and obeying God’s direction for your life.

1) God is not the author of confusion. (1 Corinthians 14:33) Honestly, we way over-spiritualize God’s will. It is Satan’s plan to confuse us, not God’s. Satan would love for us to talk endlessly about how committed we are, how much we love and want to serve God, but never actually get about to doing it. Steel this thought in your mind. God wants you to move forward, to stop your wandering and navel-gazing, and to do something.

2) Most of God’s Will is already revealed. (Psalm 119:105). God has given us this neat little book called “The Bible.” God’s written instructions on how to live life. The problem with us is that we’d rather dwell on the 10% of gray direction stuff rather than focus on the 90% we’re ignoring that’s concrete.

3) If you’re walking in obedience with God, you’re desires will be meshed with His (Psalm 37:4). We have this crazy idea that on one hand is God’s will, hard, angry and tough and on the other hand is what we enjoy and love to do. They can’t possibly be one and the same, right? Wrong. If you’re a believer and you’re in tune with God, then He’ll implant desires in you. He has promised to fulfill those (Phillippians 1:6). Furthermore, we know that each person was uniquely assigned a set of talents and spiritual gifts, wired with a unique personality, and fashioned in a particular physical and emotional way so as to fulfill that purpose. So, here’s the way to find out God’s Will. Ask yourself, What do I enjoy doing? What work gives me satisfaction and joy. What am I good at? What talent do people recognize in me? What spiritual gifts do I have?

4) God really wants us to act and not sit around. (Philippians 4:9). I’m not saying to act knee jerk or to be selfish or to just impulsively do stuff. But, on the other hand, God can’t really use us if we just sit around. Do something. Act. Follow your gifts and talents. Are you a gifted singer? How do you maximize that gift for the body of Christ? What education do you need to pursue? Are you a speaker, a hands-on builder, a creative type? Take it and do something.

5) God works through open doors and opportunities. This is the biggest no-brainer. What open doors are available? What opportunities can you walk through? If you never take an opportunity, you can’t really blame God for not revealing his will. That open position, that internship, that scholarship offer—those are not accidental. Those may be God-ordained opportunities. Yes, they may actually be God’s will.

6) Know that you were born and created to serve the church and be a light in the world (Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 2:9). You’re gifts, talents, and treasure were given you by God for the benefit of the body of Christ. You were intended to live out your calling in community. How can you maximize your life so as to best serve others?

7) Know that you’ll make mistakes and know that God only chooses sinners and that God is in the grace-giving business. Look at the people in Scripture. Look closely. Jacob, Abraham, David, Gideon, Saul, Peter, Jonah, Samson, Esther, Job.  The only thing they have in common is that they were common. They were everyday sinners like you and like me, who followed God, but along the way made poor choices and sinned greatly. But the arc of their life is that they had just enough faith to keep going and as a result, God used them in a mighty way. Don’t let fear of failure keep you from moving forward and doing something. You will make mistakes. You will disappoint. And God’s grace will cover your humanness.

Adapted from Crash Course, Forming a Faith Foundation for Life, copyright, 2010 by Daniel Darling, published by New Hope Publishers.