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Series 1 - The Bible and You: Practical Answers—Real Hope

Hi, friends! Welcome to this Bible study lesson on "What Is God's Will for Me?" In the last nine lessons we have covered a lot about how the Bible is relevant to your future and practical for today. This lesson focuses on biblical strategies for making good decisions—for understanding what God wants you to do in the challenging choices you face. The Bible offers help and great hope!

Lesson 10: What Is God's Will for Me?

Bible Study - What Is God's Will for Me?Every day, we have to make countless decisions. Many of them we make without thinking—but there are some big decisions in life that might make us stop and wonder, What does God want me to do here? Is there a way to understand what God's will is and how we can accomplish it?

A young adult in the United States wrote:

"I still feel like God hasn't answered me. My personal life is stuck in a rut and I can't get out of it. I've been praying and praying, but God is just not ready to answer me yet. I feel there is something more I need to learn before He will allow my life to move forward into the next phase. It is very frustrating, and it's times like this that I wish God would just send an angel with the answer, 'Jessica*, you need to...,' but it just doesn't happen that way." (*Not her real name.)

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What Does the Bible Say About God's Will for Me?

Nowhere in the Bible are any of us mentioned by name and told precisely what God expects of us in our lifetime—what job to take, who to marry, where to live and so on. But is there any place in the Bible where we can find out what God wants for us?

How does God want me to live?

Matthew 19:17
So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."

Much of mainstream Christianity claims that the commandments were done away with, that Christ nailed them to the cross. Not so. Christ here gives a very clear command: If we want to enter into eternal life, part of the requirements include keeping God's commandments. At their core, these commandments all stem from love—love toward God and our fellow man (Matthew 22:36-40).

With Christ as our example, we find that the true path to greatness lies not in wielding power, but in serving and loving others—just as Christ served and loved us (Matthew 20:25-28).

Does God want me to get married?

Proverbs 18:22
He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.

God created marriage because He knows that "it is not good that man should be alone" (Genesis 2:18). We were designed in such a way that marriage, lived according to God's laws, empowers a husband and a wife to live and work together as one cohesive, effective unit in a way that a single individual cannot. Marriage is an institution both encouraged and blessed by God.

The apostle Paul, however, recognized that for some situations and some people, remaining single is a better choice (1 Corinthians 7:26-27). For more on this big subject, see our booklet Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension.

What job does God want me to take?

Luke 19:11-23
Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.' But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.'
"And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.' And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.' And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.' Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.'
"Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.' And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?'"

Like the nobleman, God has delivered to each of us a certain number of minas—in our case, talents and abilities with which we are to do business till He comes. We need to discover, with God's help and guidance, how we can best put those talents to use, and then do so. But the Bible doesn't tell us which career or specific job to take.


How Can We Make Wise Choices That Are in Harmony With God's Will?

Rarely in life are we faced with only one bad choice and one good choice. Far more frequently, we will find many choices that lie within God's will for us, and many that don't. When we come to that fork in the road, how do we decide which path to travel?

Have you asked God for guidance?

Psalm 31:3
For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name's sake, lead me and guide me.

Psalm 37:4-5
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.

Our Creator knows best, so in all the major decisions we have to consider, it makes sense to ask Him for His guidance. He may not point specifically at one path, but He can provide us with the wisdom we need to choose a path that is pleasing to Him. As the Good News Bible renders Romans 12:2, "Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect."

Are the options you are considering in accordance with godly principles found in the Bible?

Deuteronomy 30:19
"I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live..."

If an option—however promising—requires disobeying God's instructions, it is out of the question. There are no exceptions, no loopholes, no compromises. If God says no, it means no.

Have you asked trusted experts and wise individuals for advice?

Proverbs 11:14
Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

Two heads are often better than one, since others may approach our dilemma from a different angle than we would, affording us new options and possibly a better solution than any we could come up with on our own.

What are the pros and cons?

Luke 14:28-30
"For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish'?"

Before choosing a direction, it is important to weigh the positives and negatives of that path. If we don't have a clear idea of what we're committing to, or what it will cost us, we may regret it—after it's too late to turn back.

Where are you trying to go?

Matthew 6:33
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

All of our plans should be made with the ultimate destination of God's Kingdom in mind. Then we must make specific plans for our education, career, family, etc. Where are you now, and what decisions will move you toward where you want to be in the future?

Will you take action?

Ecclesiastes 9:10
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.

After we settle on a direction to travel, it's time to act. It's impossible to see where we're going if we're always looking back.


What About Beyond the Here and Now?

The above scriptures deal with the present. But what does God have planned beyond the here and now?

What does God intend for us?

Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Though this scripture had a specific historical context for the Jews during the Babylonian captivity, it also reveals God's desire for each of us. God also has a future and a hope prepared for you—not just the world, not just the nations, not just those around you, but you—you specifically.

So what is that future and hope?

1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Not only has God called us out of darkness and given us mercy, He has also given us the chance to be His people, a royal priesthood. After Christ's return, His people will serve Him as "kings and priests" in His Kingdom (Revelation 1:6).

What will life in God's Kingdom be like?

1 Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

What God has planned for us is something so amazing, so awe inspiring, that our five human senses cannot even begin to grasp "the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." One of the few reference points we are given is in Romans 8:18, where the apostle Paul states that "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."


Apply Now

Using a concordance (see "How to Use Concordances and Other References" in Lesson 2), look up words related to a subject you are wrestling with (marriage, work, friends, etc.). Following the steps given in this lesson under the section "How Can We Make Wise Choices That Are in Harmony With God's Will?" and using your search results, map out a plan for taking action—and then act!

Next Lesson: Congratulations! You have now finished the required initial course. You are free to take any of the elective lessons or begin the upper level courses. See the lessons home page for details.

Questions about this lesson? Feedback about this lesson?

Related Resources:

Making Life Work

Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension

Learning Leadership Through Service

Wise Advice for Wise Decisions

The Question of the Ages