Sunday, May 11, 2014


How to work out God’s will for your lifeby Nils von Kalm Have you ever been confused about what God’s will for your life is? Have you ever wondered why there seem to be all these other Christians who seem to have discovered their calling, are happy “in the Lord’s service”, while you are stuck in a dead-end job wondering what you have done wrong that God doesn’t seem to be giving you the opportunities He has given others?I used to struggle with all of the above. I always wondered what God’s will for my life might be. Many people who wonder this also have a deep-seated fear that God’s will for their life is to send them to Africa to be a missionary who nobody will ever hear of again. I used to struggle with that too.There has been a lot of talk in Christian circles in recent years about calling, and what it is that God would have us do with our lives. The latest Regent World newsletter from Regent College in Vancouver has some excellent stories about the change in thinking that is going on with regards to vocation and what God’s will is for our lives in this area.Rod Wilson’s article in the newsletter, on Working out God’s Will, discusses issues that I can relate to. Different generations have different ideas of what a good vocation is. When I was in college, I chose to do an accounting major. I did it mainly because it paid well and because my friends in high school had chosen it. It also would have pleased my mother no end had I gone to become a good businessman.But my heart was never in it, and it is only in recent years that I am discovering what it is that I really love and am finding opportunities to do it.People’s idea of work is changing. More and more people are rejecting the idea of a career to give them financial security, a house and nice car. The American dream is not enough anymore. Their dream job is what young people want today. Meaning is what they are searching for.More and more people in the West are seeing the emptiness and futility of a life where we know how to make a living but fail miserably at making a life. They are asking what the point is of making $150,000 a year if you spend most of your waking hours in a job you don’t love.John Smith made the profound comment years ago that we have nothing in life that has not been given to us. All of us have been given certain gifts and, as Andy Crouch says, they are not necessarily limited to the spiritual gifts Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 12.I wrote recently about another article I read which talks about the fact that using your gifts is heroic. In fact I would see it as a responsibility. The world needs what you are able to give to it. The world is crying out for gifts exactly like yours. If you’re one of those people who are thinking “yeah, but how on earth do I find out what my gift is?!”, don’t stress. Here’s some of the best advice I have ever read on finding out what your gift is:1.       Your gift is not something that you hate doing and fear that God will make you do if you are really serious about following Him. God won’t send you to deepest Africa if you dread the thought of going there.2.       Having said that, it is about living a life of following Jesus regardless of the cost. We seem to have lost that in many of our churches these days.In all the talk of God wanting us to do what we love, we have forgotten that Jesus says that if we are to come after him, we mustdeny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. So, surrender your life totally to Christ, ask for His will to be done in your life regardless of the cost, and find yourself on the road to joy and real life.3.       Remember the words of Frederick Buechner: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” What makes you come alive? For me it is writing. I loooove writing about how Jesus is relevant to all of life. I really do feel alive when I do it. I have also been told many times that I’m good at it. That’s not bragging; it’s acknowledging an affirmation that gives me more confidence in what I do. It’s true that what you are good at is what you will generally enjoy doing most. Your task is then to find out how you can best use your gift in service to the world. Doing that will be doing God’s work and will give you the meaning in life you have always craved. As a forty-something, I am very much encouraged by how many young people, both inside and outside the church, are choosing to reject the rat-race of making your fortune but losing your soul (and I don’t mean losing your soul in the sense of ending up in a fiery place called hell when you die. That’s a topic for another time. What I mean is living against your values, against what you know to be true, and therefore ending up less human and less happy).In the Western world, we have opportunities our parents never had. My parents lived through a world war in Germany. They know what it is to be in hardship, to not know if members of your family are alive, to come home wondering whether or not your home has been bombed. Pursuing our calling in terms of vocation is easier for a lot of us today.Despite this though, the idea of pursuing God’s calling on your life has never changed. In the end it is about being prepared to follow Jesus wherever He went, to live for others, loving God and loving our neighbour. These two greatest commandments of Jesus are two thousand years old and they are inseparable one from the other. If you love God and love your neighbour, you will find God’s will for your life. It will take you on adventures you may never have dreamed of. 


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