When people decide that they want to follow Jesus, there is often a genuine heart felt desire for God to ‘take their lives’ and ‘use it for his glory.’ But what do we mean by that? And what do we expect? Will the Bible, like some crystal ball, tell us our future occuptation, location and chief relations?
More often than not, we don’t find easy answers to these questions. In reality, for most people it is a sometimes confusing journey trying to discern what to do with their lives, realising that God rarely speaks through lighting in the sky or writing on the wall. So where are we to look for guidance in life? I’m not entirely sure, but let’s look to God, each other and our common sense as we enter this SoulFood with an open mind, and heart. Lord, lead us.
Words for the Week
For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements.
A Living Sacrifice
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
1. A Blank cheque
When Paul experienced a conversion of the heart, his first response was, like many of us, to say ‘What should I do lord?’ (Acts 22:10). At this point in his journey, he clearly didn’t know what his future would or could look like, but he took his first step in offering his body ‘as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God’ (Romans 12:1). C.S Lewis, reflecting on this concluded that being a practicing Christian “means that every single act and feeling, every experience, whether pleasant or unpleasant, must be referred to God.” For him, it was a matter of learning to live not for himself but for someone else. When unsure what to do with your life, firstly offer it back to God.
In my own recent period of questioning a mentor advised me to regularly present my life and dreams to God as a blank cheque for him to spend. How? Simply by saying, sometimes in the presence of another, God I lay down this part of my life. May it be set apart and pleasing to you. Please show me how to continue.. We may need to repeat this exercise regularly, but when we do acknowledge God in all our ways, I do believe he help us make sense of our paths!
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
2. Step out
God has always given humans free will to consult Him, each other and our common sense. We see the enactment of this free will all the way through the scriptures, with an early example being when Adam was given the fun job of naming the animals (Genesis 2:20). Perhaps some people feel God has given them crystal clear vocations, locations and relationships, but for most of us we have the privilege of going on an adventure to find out! This should be a joy, and something we do completely subjectively but bearing in mind Jesus’ encouragement to seek first the kingdom! (Matthew 6:33)
For those of us who live in a perpetual state of anxiety about whether we are doing ‘the right thing’ I believe God gives us his spirit, our community, our common sense and even our gut instinct as good indicators, as to whether something is ‘right.’ In Paul’s journey, he often describes his decision as ‘seeming good to the Holy Spirit and us’ (Acts 15:28). For those stressing over what to do with their life, I normally encourage them to think about what to do with their next chapter.
For many among us, we feel overwhelmed by the options and just don’t know what to do. I enjoy Obama’s advice to his children; ‘be kind, and be useful.’ For a more comprehensive answer, I have included in this SoulFood (at the bottom of the page), a helpful document with some questions that might help you figure out what your passions, and gifts may be. I can unequivocally say this document has shaped my life!
Own it personally…
- Consider filling out the word document I have attached below, if not consider answering these questions;
– What aspects of God’s kingdom excites you?
– What are your values?
– What are your gifts
– What do you want to be the fruit of your life?
- Offer God a blank cheque with your life
- Step out and have a go at some stuff. Join a team. Apply for jobs. Go on holiday. Try dating.
Pray it out
Open my eyes to see where you would lead me.
Awaken my ears that I would hear your voice guiding me.
Inspire my mind that I may comprehend your love for me.
Soften my heart that I would offer grace to those I meet.
Watch my feet that I would tread upon your kingdom paths.
Guard my heart from selfishness that I would give freely.
Inspire my words that I may speak of hope and healing.
O Lord, I follow you.