What is God’s will for my life? We know this question can be asked a thousand different ways. It can apply to the next two minutes or to the rest of our lives.
In my own search for God’s will, I’ll admit this right off the bat: I’ve had many arguments with God over what was, or wasn’t, His will for my life. I’d plead with Him, “Why can’t I have this wife, college, job, house, friend, fun, or money? Could you give me a little direction, please?”
God patiently works with me—just as He’ll do with you. He shows me that His plan is much richer—and wiser—than any I might cook up on my own. It was difficult and challenging, yes, but His plan made me a much stronger instrument for His purposes and put me in a much better position to receive His blessings.
You may ask, “Who are you to tell me about how to find God’s will?” For starters, I earned a theology degree from an evangelical Bible college, preparing to go into the full-time ministry. Because my life wasn’t following a straight line, I became interested in the subject of God’s will. I’ve taken classes and spent many hours on mind-numbing analysis of theology, Greek grammar, historical context, church doctrine, and anything else I could find related to this topic. I have over forty books in my library on God’s will and have read many of them several times. Through all this research, I believe I’ve found a fresh perspective on how to find and follow God’s will. I hope you’ll find it helpful to your own search.
After Bible college, my life took a different turn into the business world where I’ve spent the past twenty-five years, much of that time as a senior manager in the highly competitive computer software industry. I couldn’t find much advice from my books on how to find God’s will there, so I had to sign up for the “school of hard knocks.” It was there I learned what God expected of me “in the world” as I went to work each day. At the same time, I’ve served with four branches of the military over the past three decades. In late 2006, I deployed to Iraq with the Marine Corps during what many consider the worst period of that war. These experiences forced the “head knowledge” of God’s will into my heart, providing a realistic sense of what works and what doesn’t.
I got married when I was thirty-six years old, well into the “confirmed bachelor for life” age bracket. For years I asked God if I’d ever find “the right one.” I knew in my heart that God had someone special in mind for me. I held out for years, praying and waiting, often in deep discouragement. Kathy, my wife, turned out to be completely worth the wait. But she did not come down the road where I was looking, at all. You wouldn’t believe the lessons about God’s will I learned here. Kathy is my other half, my soul mate, my partner in the adventures of life and in the missions God has placed before us. He obviously knew what He was doing.
For whatever reason, He made me wait a long time and go through some painful experiences before I met Kathy. Similarly, I went through some painful jobs to learn how to find God’s will for that big part of my life that was taking place outside the church building. I started out as a cook at McDonald’s. I then joined the army and flew helicopters for three years. Later, I taught math and physical education in a Christian high school—and worked as a janitor. I spent ten years in college, earning three degrees in completely different fields: theology, electrical engineering, and corporate finance.
Years later, I worked as a radar engineer and then moved into the computer software industry as a project manager leading engineering, sales, and marketing strategy teams. I spent fourteen years at one of the most ruthlessly competitive powerhouse software companies on the planet. I participated in a couple of Silicon Valley Internet startups, managed several global business initiatives, and served on several industry and non-profit boards of directors.
You may be thinking, Wow, did this guy have a clue what he wanted to be when he grew up?
More often than I care to admit, I had no clear sense at all whether I was in the right place or if I had missed something along the way. Few of the books I’d read about God’s will got to the heart of my questions about how to know if I were making the right decisions. I’d often get conflicting advice from well-meaning friends, family, and church leaders. More than once, the major life decisions I made did not look wise to others. Of course, all kinds of fear, guilt, and second-guessing cropped up along the way like part of some package deal. It was incredibly difficult and frustrating to try and follow God’s leading. But I found a way and I believe it can be of great help to “the rest of us” who are seeking God’s will. That’s why I wrote this book.
In the chapters ahead, I want to show you some promises God has made to Christians who do not work in a full-time ministry. I would like to show you the Bible’s answers to questions such as these:
How can a person be sure he or she is on the right track with God?
How does God actually lead us toward His plan and His blessings?
How can a Christian succeed in the business world and still keep his or her morality—and sanity?
How does a Christian make the right decisions when there is so much temptation to do wrong?
If the path we’re on is difficult, is it the wrong one?
How can we establish a close, intimate relationship with God that works all the time, inside and outside the church building?
How can I be sure God is leading me when my world is falling apart?
The answers to these questions not only help God’s people find inner peace and spiritual strength, they open up tremendous opportunities to help those around us who are in need. And they open the floodgates of heaven for us to receive the blessings of God. Here’s an obvious statement: Since we are still alive, God is not yet through with us. Even if you or I were lying in a bed with advanced Alzheimer’s disease, oblivious to the world around us, we would still be God’s instrument to work His will. Until we draw our last breath, He has a plan for our lives and missions for us to fulfill. Philippians 1:6 says, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Young person or old, brand-new Christian or war-weary believer of many years, this book is meant for you. God knows about your situation and wants you to know He cares deeply where you are headed.
God’s will is not just about us. It’s about the effect we have on others. Going back to the person with Alzheimer’s disease, he or she has a profound influence on those nearby, providing an opportunity for them to respond to a mission sent from God and as sacred as any full-time ministry. We’ll see why God’s will is a difficult and challenging training program that brings about great reward. It’s a vicious fight against a brutal and determined enemy. It is a beautiful relationship with the Creator of the entire universe. It is preparation for an even greater life with Him in eternity. And it is the promise of great reward to those who endure to the end and stay faithful to the One who gave it all for us on the cross.
God promises He will bless those who follow Him. If we let Him, He will lead us into a relationship with Him that trains and strengthens us to be victorious, champion Christians. As we gain maturity and strength in our faith we can, as Hebrews 12:10 says, “partake in His holiness” and fulfill the challenging missions He’s chosen specifically for us. In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”