Where do you fit?
As a little boy raised in the church, I was often confused by the words of certain songs. For instance, whenever the song 'Bringing in the Sheaves' was sung, I thought we were singing about bringing in the 'sheeps.' I always wondered where we would get these 'sheeps' and why we wanted to bring them in anyway. Spiritual themes, whether spoken or sung, can easily confuse the simple mind of a child, and while I learned quite early that 'sheeps' is not even a word, the topic of God's will continued to be a point of confusion for a long time. I remember another song we used to sing, usually after a missionary had told depressing stories about the hardships and toils of the mission field:
Jesus, use me. Oh Lord, don't refuse me;
Surely there's a work that I must do.
And even though it's humble, help my will to crumble,
Though the cost be great, I'll work for You.
As wonderful as those words are in and of themselves, there was something about the combination of the lyrics, the music, and the context that made me afraid of God's will for my life. I thought He must have something simply dreadful for me to do. I just knew He was going to send me deep into the jungle where I would live in a mud hut, survive on a diet of grubs, and wind up being eaten by cannibals. Looking back, my naÃ¯veté is quite amusing now, but the reality is that many people really are afraid to discover God's will for their lives, even if subconsciously. They think, 'What if God wants me to do something I don't want to do?' 'What if God wants me to do something I'm not good at?' 'What if doing God's will means I have to give up my hopes and dreams?' I think sometimes people haven't discovered God's will simply because they are afraid to.
Where do you fit? What do you enjoy? What brings you delight and satisfaction?
After I preached at a certain Bible college, one of the students approached me. He was nearing graduation and had been seeking God's will for many years but still had no direction. He said to me, 'How can I figure out what God wants me to do with my life?'
We were standing next to a lamp, and I noticed that it had been unplugged. I pointed to the plug lying on the ground and said to him, 'How do you know what that three-pronged contraption is for? Should I stick it in my ear or use it to comb my hair?' He replied, 'Of course not. It goes into the electric socket.' How did he know that? Because of its shape. That plug fits so perfectly into that electric socket that there is no question that it was made for it. Even a child who had never seen a plug or socket before could figure out that they were made for each other.
When we are in God's will, there is an unexplainable grace that accompanies us.
This is one way you can know what God wants from you. Where do you fit? What do you enjoy? What brings you delight and satisfaction? I have heard people teach that God's will is always difficult and requires great sacrifice. But I have seen that the most effective people in any ministry, occupation, or just life in general are not the ones forcing themselves to do some dreadful task because they feel it is God's will. Rather it is the ones who are doing something they enjoy so much, they feel guilty taking a salary for it.
When you find something that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning, when you find something that challenges and thrills you, when you find something that you sense you were made to do, chances are you are getting close to discovering God's will for your life. This does not mean that obedience, death to self, and sacrifice are never required or necessary. But when a person is doing what he was created to do, there is a taste of sweetness in the sacrifice, a sense of fulfilment in the obedience, and an enduring hope in the suffering.
If anyone ever knew what it was to suffer it was Paul the Apostle. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 he says he had suffered 'in far more labours, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labour and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches' (nas).
Yet it was Paul who said, 'I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us' (Rom. 8:18, nas). And James even goes so far as to say, 'Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds' (James 1:2, niv). How is it possible to have joy in the face of difficulties, trials, and suffering? It is possible because when we are in God's will, there is an unexplainable grace that accompanies us.
Encourage others who are seeking the will of God by sharing your story of finding God's will in your life. Still looking for God's will what spoke to you most about this study? Leave your comments below.
God has a plan for everyone.
Do you know yours?
This Bible Study has been taken from Chapter 4 of Daniel Kolenda's book, LIVE BEFORE YOU DIE, which is not only a 'wake up call' for you but also offers practical and scriptural insights on how you can discover and fulfil God's will for your life.