I was 17 years old, nearing the end of my senior year in high school, when I came to believe God was calling me to become a pastor. Since then I have been asked often, "How did you know that God was calling you?"
The funny thing is, prior to making this commitment, I asked the same question of a number of pastors.
It is a question that begs an answer. How can I know God’s will for my life?
There are some who say that this question cannot be answered. They say that God is not that interested in the lives of individuals, so we should not bother him with such questions. Still others say that seeking a specific will of God for myself is rather narcissistic.
God’s will for all of us is to obey him, and then to do what we want to do. As long as we are seeking to obey him, we cannot go wrong.
I think the truth of God’s will for individuals is a bit more complicated than that. Still, there are parts that are rather simple. I am convinced that the first step to knowing and doing God’s will is to obey what he has told us in scripture.
We live in a time when many seek to redefine what is right and wrong. The Lord has given us instruction in the Bible, and we do well to do what it says.
A second step in doing God’s will is to seek good counsel. This can be from our parents, our spouses, our parents or just a trusted friend. But it is true that wisdom is found in counsel. This is one of the roles of the church. A Sunday school teacher or small group leader can guide us in the right way. Certainly we should seek the advice of others.
Obviously we need to pray and read the Bible as we seek the Lord’s direction. He is not in the business of leading us astray. He wants us to follow him.
Finally, we need to make a decision, based on the best information we can gather, and go with it. Jesus was a man of action, and we need never be paralyzed by fear when it comes to doing God’s will.
I am confident I heard correctly from the Lord 40 years ago this month. I have served as a pastor for almost 35 years now, and the Lord has been so good to me. I trust you can discover and do his will in your life. It is the best road for peace and happiness you can find.