We ask “God, what should I do?” but is there a better question we should be asking?
Often clients whom I counsel come to me with their questions regarding a decision they must make. Usually they are seeking counseling or spiritual guidance according to what Scripture says, which is a good practice.
What I have noticed, over the years, is that though we often ask good questions, there is a better question to ask, one that God is interested in helping us answer more than the question on our lips.
Remember the most common question people asked you the last year of high school? “So where are you going to college?” Then about four years later the top question people asked was “What are you going to do after you graduate?”
Many of us may still remember the knot we felt in our stomachs when we did not have a clear or immediate answer, or we worried our answer was not impressive enough. We live in a world that values doing and achieving in a way that then assigns identity and worth. This pressure often leads many of us to feel deep anxiety that somehow, if we make the wrong choices, we are going to be ‘less than,’ miss God’s will for our lives or even get left behind in some way.
When I face a particular decision in my life, I want a SPECIFIC ANSWER.
That means that I treat the Bible as if it is primarily about me, whereas it is actually about God. After becoming a Christian twenty-five years ago, I knew I wanted God’s direction in my life. So, I found myself approaching my Bible almost as a magic book, hoping it would tell me what to do in any given situation.
The problem with this approach is that the Bible was never meant to be used this way. It is not a magic book you shake, open and point to a verse that gives you instant direction. Coming to the Word of God this way misunderstands how the Bible is organized and intended to be read, misconstrues the way the Holy Spirit works in and through Scripture, and puts the Bible under our authority rather than putting us under its authority.
We come to Scripture wanting an answer, but we are meant to come to Scripture wanting an encounter with a person — the living God, the Lord Jesus. Jesus is far more interested in revealing himself to us in our given circumstances, than He is in being treated like our spiritual GPS.
If the Bible is not meant to magically give us answers to daily or life decisions, what IS it meant to tell us? Rather than tell us what to do, God fills the pages of scripture telling us who to become.
God’s will for us is all throughout the Bible and we will not miss it as we seek to know Him through scripture. His will comes to us on His terms because His terms are always good and always for our very best. He tells us that primarily His will is for us to become like Jesus.
In 1 Thessalonians 4 Paul says, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified.” Sanctified simply means “holy, set apart.” Once we receive Christ by faith we are ‘sanctified’ or ‘made holy’ because now we are “in Christ” and have His record of perfection. Paul here is telling the Thessalonians (and us today) that now that we belong to Christ we must allow the Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out, the goal being to come to resemble and act more like Jesus than like our old selves (Ephesians 4:22).
In other words, Paul is teaching us that the same grace that saves us and makes us free from the sentence of His justice is the same grace that will progressively change us to become the image-bearers we are meant to be. Moreover, Romans 12:1-2 tells us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. As we do this “spiritual act of worship” and are transformed by the renewing of our minds, we now can discern what is the will of God (v2).
What does this mean practically? As followers of Christ we no longer mold ourselves to look like everyone around us in the world but now — with changed hearts — we allow our minds to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit so that again, we start to resemble our beautiful Savior. So, by God’s grace we spend a lifetime (actually) growing into the people we (already) are in Christ.
God cares deeply about seeing us transformed into a holy people who reflect His grace and mercy to a world in desperate need of Him. We come to him with felt needs (give me answers) and He meets our REAL need (to become the people we are meant to be — not perfect, but a people saved and changed by the grace of a good and merciful God).
As we grow to know, trust and become like the One who gave up everything for our greatest need — to rescue us from our sin — we can rely on Him to lovingly guide and direct our lives for His glory and our good, no matter what the decision or circumstance.
So maybe we will not hear that audible whisper we so desperately want that says, “go to this school, take this job, marry this person, or make this choice, not that one.” We can, however, be confident that when we ask perhaps the better question “Lord, will you make me more like you?” His answer is already “Yes!”
Sandi Taylor (MA) is a former counselor at Redeemer Counseling Services and is currently a student at RTS-NYC
Thank you for subscribing to the Redeemer Report. If you would like to support the work of Redeemer in NYC, please use the button below to make a gift.