What Is God’s Will for Me?
By Neil Hoffman
One of the hardest parts about being a Christian is the constant journey of finding God’s will for our lives. Wouldn’t it be nice if God posted on our Facebook or Instagram page what He wanted us to do that day, or in a particular situation? After all, we believe that the best life we could live is the one that is closest to His will for us. But often we find ourselves in an atmosphere of confusion and maybe even frustration. I imagine that one of our greatest frustrations is our inability to determine God’s will for our lives.
Thankfully, the Bible talks about this. A lot. But before we get into what the Bible says, let’s talk about what it doesn’t say – even though you’ve probably heard this a million times.
Open and Closed Doors
“I knew it was God’s will because we had an open door,” or “It must not have been God’s will because the door shut.” Have you ever thought this way before? Or maybe you’ve heard someone else talk like this. The problem is it’s a counterfeit philosophy that many people fall into. Ultimately, it doesn’t help us find God’s will very well.
The main problem with “Door Theology” is that it equates opportunity with God’s approval. Isn’t temptation an opportunity? Isn’t it an open door when you’re eight years old, with no allowance, and the mini-mart cashier turns his back on you and the rack of candy bars right next to the door?
It is true that God opens and closes doors – look at Revelation 3:7 or 1 Corinthians 16:8-9 for reference purposes – but if we want to know God’s will for our lives, we first need to understand that not every open door is from Him, and some closed doors need to be kicked down.
Look at an open door that appeared before the future King David in 1 Samuel:
Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel and went to seek David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. He came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of the cave. The men of David said to him, “Behold, this is the day of which the Lord said to you, ‘Behold; I am about to give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.’”
- 1 Samuel 24:2-4
That’s an open door, isn’t it? God had promised David that he would become king instead of Saul, and all of the sudden there’s Saul: Defenseless, unaware, and accessible.
But look at what David decides:
So he said to his men, “Far be it from me because of the Lord that I should do this thing to my lord, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the Lord’s anointed.”
- 1 Samuel 24:6
Don’t miss this: David knew that God’s specific will for his life did not trump God’s general will for all of us. Even though it looked like a big, open door that God put in front of David to take his throne and rid Israel of the sin that Saul brought on, David did not feel God lead him to do so. It was an open door… just not the right door.
The 90-10 Rule
So what does the Bible say about God’s will for me?
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
- Matthew 6:33
The truth is, most of us tend to overestimate the importance of God’s specific will for our life, while underestimating God’s universal will for all our lives. 90% of God’s will for my life is the same as 90% of His will for your life.
And [Jesus] said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
- Matthew 22:37-40
He has a general will that’s spelled out in the Bible for how He wants us to live: How to understand our families, how to treat friends, how to work and learn, etc.
10% of God’s will for my life will be specific, give or take, but here’s the thing: I won’t be able to see that 10% clearly until I’m doing the 90%. I’ve learned that as we focus on the 90%, the 10% follows as it should.
If you want to know what God’s will is for your life, don’t start with the smallest slice of the pie – who you’ll marry, what kind of job to get, etc. Start with learning His principles from His Word, with seeking His kingdom first. Then the rest will be added to you.