Having a general idea that God wants to be in relationship and that he wants me to be fruitful doesn’t help me with specific decisions, like a career path or a spouse. I make choices every day, and most don’t seem to have anything to do with God. What does “choosing God’s will” mean in my daily life and work?
This post rounds up four steps based on what Jesus taught about God’s will that answer this question in a very personal way. No two people will come to the same conclusions after taking these steps.
Step One: Examine Gifts
We are not given equal abilities or identical opportunities. The unique combination of opportunities and talents that God gave singularly to you is your cosa nostra with God. It’s something only the two of you share. The first step for discerning God’s will on an intimate basis is to acknowledge those gifts given uniquely to you.
Step Two: Examine Boldness
If scripture is any indication, God doesn’t intend for us to play it safe. God called an old man to uproot his family with no clear destination, an unwed teen to get pregnant, and his own son to death by torture. On the other hand, he doesn’t expect us to face life’s challenges alone under our own power. Those who trust in him receive awesome grace. “Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.” (Matthew 7:7) The second step is to put your gifts to use in a manner so bold that you are sure to need God’s help. It glorifies God when we collaborate with him in this way.
Step Three: Examine Compassion
We can use our gifts boldly to lift others up or to cut them down. Jesus’ ministry of free healing and open table radically challenged cultural norms, and if we dare to follow his example, he leads us to relate to God through relationships with others, including the despised and outcast. Ask yourself: Am I going about my daily life and work in a way that promotes egalitarianism or in a way that excludes? Does my daily life and work contribute primarily to the well-being of others or to my bank account? Do I focus on safety for my inner circle or security for all? Step three is to exchange attitudes and actions that leave people out or drag them down for attitudes and actions that embrace all and lift people up.
Step Four: Examine Motive
Many of us take right actions without the right frame of mind. We want credit for going through the right motions, but we stop short of looking at the true motive in our hearts. Are we driven by unquenchable love and a desire to work in partnership with God? Or are we racking up credits, paying our dues while banking on a future reward? Step four is to look on all your daily tasks, important and tedious, as your very personal and unique offering God.
A career in ministry is not the only way to do God’s will or to put talents to a bold and compassionate use. When we find joy in serving God, even in the small things, and that joy becomes our motive in all we do, we have found new intimacy with God in our daily life and work.
Join the conversation. Where do you find intimacy with God?
Copyright 2011 Stephanie Walker All rights reserved. Visit www.AcrossTraditions.com.