What Does God Want Me To Do?
Understanding Your Role in God's Will and Answering the Question,
"What Does God Want Me To Do?"
Many Christians, especially young Christians, go through soul-searching to find out what God wants them to do with their lives from now on. They ask such questions as: Should I be a missionary to the Philippines? Should I move to New York? Should I be a minister? Should I stay home? Do I have to give up my personal ambitions? Do I have to stop being gay and become straight? Do I have to become something I'm not? What does God want me to do? Where does he want me to go? How does he want me to live? They are plagued with questions that seem never to be answered. These sincere Christian seekers are waiting for the Voice. Whether it thunders or is a still, small voice, they want God active in their decision of where to go, what to do, and who to be.
Adding to their confusion are stories of people – some of whom they know – who actually did hear a "still, small voice" that did answer their very question. Now the sincere seekers have to decide whether they really are saved and whether God really does consider them one of his own. They wonder if their commitment to God is good enough, strong enough, and enduring enough to merit God's attention.
That's what I'm here to tell you. What's it all about? I'll tell you right now up front, it's not all about you. It's not about whether you're gay or straight, missionary or not, live in New York or Los Angeles, or even in Podunk, Vermont. It's about God and his Kingdom.
Let's start at the beginning. I'll use an analogy of a fetus to help explain what's going on in your life.
A fetus – the child before birth – knows only his own world, not what is to come later. His whole world is that little, dark area we call a womb. He has spent his entire life there; that's all he knows. If he leaves there, as far as he knows, he will die. This fetus has hands that do not grasp. He has a nose that does not smell. He has feet that does not walk. He has ears but only hears muffled noises. He has a tongue that does not talk and eyes that can only see vague light and dark.
The fetus knows only his own world. He has never been anywhere else, but he has hints of a world to come. He hears muffled noises and sometimes perhaps can see a little lumination. That's not enough to give him courage of what is to come. He can only consider to be "death" what we call birth.
Why does the fetus have feet if it cannot walk? Why does it have a tongue that cannot speak? Why hands that do not grasp? All these things and more are not for the fetus. They are for the person who is to come. God is preparing the fetus not to be a fetus but to be a person living outside the womb. That which terrifies the fetus and is feared as "death" – leaving the womb – we contemplate with great joy and rejoicing. As the scriptures say,
"rejoicing will be in heaven over one sinner who repents"
What is the one job of the fetus? What does God want from the fetus? What do we want from the fetus? God wants and we want one thing only: that it grows. The responsibility of the fetus is to live and grow. The fetus does not decide where to live or which womb would be "right" for him. The fetus does not decide who his parents will be, or who is mother is. All that is required of him is to grow. That should be his focus.
Can we not learn from the fetus? Why do the we think the purpose of this life is this life? Haven't we got mountains of evidence that something more, greater and grander is to come? Haven't we got evidence of a Greater Intellect, of angels, of spirits and of life after death? Yet we consider the end of our lives to be "death." What we fear with trepidation the angels anticipate with rejocing.
Why do we have faith but cannot move mountains? Why do the scriptures tell us to forgive our enemies when killing them seems so much safer – and satisfying? Why are we taught to love our neighbor as ourselves? These are for the same reason that a fetus have feet but cannot walk? Every one of our spiritual disciplines, faith, forgiveness, love, patience, joy, and more – although of great value here and now – is for greater use in what is to come later.
What benefit is it to God if we obtain in this life great patience or wisdom or faith or love? Is God enriched? Is he more powerful? Is he wiser? Of couse not. When we "die," God is still God and is not diminshed. Then why should we obtain great spiritual qualities? We obtain patience not because it enriches God but because it is a tool that will empower us later, after this life. This is a tool that God can use in his own world, that is, in our world to come. It will empower us to serve God. Remember – it's all about God.
All these things, although good and strong for us now, were not made for "now." They were made for "then." After all, that which is "now" will pass away. It will be consumed and be no more. What good can a temporal quality that is destined to perish do for an eternal God? Only eternal strength can benefit an eternal God.
Why, then, are we told to develop faith, love, joy, patience and other qualities? We develop these things now (and they do help us now) for the same reason a fetus develops legs, arms, tongue, eyes and others parts. What a tragedy it is for a fetus to be born without the parts necessary to him in the world to come. And what a tragedy it would be for us not to develop all that God wants us to develop in preparation for our world to come. Just as the one job of the fetus is to grow, the one job for us is to grow.
The scriptures tell us of two vessels, one for honor and another for dishonor (Romans 9:21). In some versions of the Bible, that word "vessel" is translated "pottery." Think of it as a vase or basin. Picture in your mind two vessels made by the same potter. One is a beautiful, jewel-encrusted vase that is put on a display case and admired by all who visit the owner. This is a vessel made for honor. Now think of the other vessel, a basin made as a chamber pot. It is stored under the bed and used during the night by the owner to relieve himself from bodily waste. Which vessel would you rather be?
Wait a minute before you decide which vessel you would rather be. Take away both vessels from the owner. What will he think if he loses the vessel of honor? He may be distressed and sorry. But what will he think if he loses the chamber pot? He will be more than distressed. Relieving himself is a matter of living; it is a life-or-death situation. If both vessels have been lost, which will he go buy first? Which does he want most? He wants the chamber pot most and he will buy that first for he cannot live without it. What about the vessel of honor, the jewel-encrusted vase? He may or may not replace that.
Now decide which you would rather be. Would you be a vessel for honor that is a show piece but practically useless, or a vessel for dishonor but nevertheless is necessary, of great value and use? Do you want to be used by God to benefit God, or do you want to be something pretty but almost useless? There was a woman who lived recently and many people call her a saint. That was Mother Teresa of India. Was she a vessel for honor or for dishonor? Did she live in palaces or in garbage dumps? She lived in garbage dumps. Was she useful to God or useless?
What does the Bible say about John the Baptist? Jesus spoke to the crowds and said,
"What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings' palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."
John the Baptist lived in the desert, ate locusts, wore "rags" and was ultimately beheaded. Was he a vessel for honor in this life or for dishonor? What did he do that was valuable? Did he testify about Jesus? Yes he did, but to whom did he testify? He testified to all those people who are now dead. Even if he had never testifed, those people would still be dead. How does their life then benefit God now? But John did what God wanted him to do, and what does the Bible say? "He who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." It is the kingdom of heaven that is counted worthy, and it is for the kingdom of heaven that John lived, for he said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." John the Baptist was not preaching for then; he was preaching for later. That which was on earth then passed away. That which was to come is still existing with God in eternity.
Are you asking, "What does God want of me? Where should I live? What should I do?" The prophet Micah answered these questions long ago.
"He has shown you, O Man, what is good. And what does YHVH require of your but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?"
Throughout the Bible we are told to develop love, faith, patience, kindness, justice, mercy and other spiritual qualities. The thing we must do is to grow. That is our focus. The scriptures say,
"Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever!"
2 Peter 3:18
These are eternal qualities that will be useful more so then than now.
You are still wondering how best to serve God. Then let me tell you what the scriptures say.
"Delight yourself in YHVH and he will give you the desires of your heart"
(Wondering about "YHVH"? YHVH is the name of God. People who translate the Bible into English substitue God's description for his name. God is lord. That is his description. But the mistranslated word LORD actually is the name of God, YHVH.)
The scriptures say,
"Delight yourself in YHVH and he will give you the desires of your heart"
Be very careful about this. It does not say God will give you whatever your heart desires. What does it say? It says the desires of your heart are put there ("given") by God – if you delight in God. That implies if you don't delight in God, then the desires of your heart are put there by someone else. So here you are, a man or woman, who delights in God. Where do the desires of your heart come from? They come from God.
Do you delight in God and seek to please him? Do you desire to be a missionary to the Congo? Guess who put that in you. But what if you desire to be a sailor? Do you remember the vessels for honor and dishonor? Here is where that comes in.
Suppose God sends a missionary to the Congo. How will she get there? Will she go by airplane? But somebody has to build that airplane and somebody has to fly that airplane. These people, the mechanics and pilots, are doing the will of God, for they are taking the missionary to her appointed place. Does the missionary eat? Who grows the food? Who sells the food? Who cooks the food? Somebody has to do all that, or else the missionary would die. All these people, the farmer, the merchant and the chef, are doing the will of God. Maybe the vessel of honor, the missionary, gets the glory, but that can come to pass only if the vessels of dishonor do their duties, too.
Is the desire of your heart to be a businessman or entrepreneur? The people in your employ need employment. The laborers bring home money from your business to raise their families. In one family is a girl whom God calls to preach the gospel in Congo. You doing the desires of your heart put a missionary in the Congo, who is doing the desire of her heart. And both of you are doing the desires of God's heart.
We all fit together and God puts into our hearts – we who delight in God – what he wants us to desire, to do his good will.
I call myself a cog. Think of a mill that grinds grain or of a clock. In this mill (or clock) are wheels that turn. These wheels have "teeth" (tenons). Those teeth are projections that fit into the holes (mortises) of another wheel and causes the other wheel to turn. The whole working of the mill (or clock) performs a function. If one of those tenons (teeth) are missing, the whole mill comes to a halt. Every tenon has to be there for the whole to work. Each of these tenons are called a "cog." I am nothing more than a cog.
God puts me where he wants me to be. If he wants me to be a sailor, he puts in me the desire to be a sailor. If he wants me to be a missionary, he puts in me the desire of a missionary. Whatever task he gives me to do, he puts that desire in me – if I delight in God and love him.
How do I know whether my desire is from God? That is, how do I know I "delight" in him enough? There is a test for that. The scripture says,
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself"
Does your desire lead you to patience, kindness, justice, love, goodness, mercy faith, perseverence and industry? Or does it lead you to anger, revenge, hatred, selfishness, and godlessness? After all,
"He has shown you, O Man, what is good. And what does YHVH desire of you but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?"
Sometimes people test God by saying, "What about children born deformed or with Downs Syndrome?" Do you remember the analogies of the fetus and the vessels? We humans – including those children born with less than us – are not born to live in this life just as the fetus is not created to live in the womb. The fetus is created to develop in the womb until it can live outside the womb. You are I are not created to live here; we are created to develop here until we can live outside of here. The vessels of dishonor here have a special function, and the disabled children here have a special function. Theirs is to teach us how to use the mercy, grace, kindness and goodness of God. After all, compared to the angels, we are just as disabled to them as we consider "special" children are to us. The angels learn about the love of God by the way he treats us, and we learn the love of God for us by seeing and developing our own love in the way we treat disabled children.
The vessels of dishonor, these deformed and underdeveloped children, are only vessels of dishonor for now. But we are not created to live "for now." We are created to live "for then." This will all pass away. Presently we are vessels and cogs. All this is to make the machinery run now in order to benefit us "then," to make us perfect ("fit") then.
What about people who die too soon? What about people who die by accident, by illness or by design? What about people who are just now getting to know God and have not developed to the point where they are really ready for what is to come next? You realize, of course, that I have not been to heaven and come back to tell you what's going on. Cases like that is God's business and not mine. My business is to grow here and now. Nevertheless I have an opinion, as everybody does. I'm guessing that a person who dies prematurely is like a fetus born prematurely. What happens when the fetus is born too soon? The fetus doesn't do anything; we do it all. We take special care of the baby and put it in an incubator until it can in fact grow to the point where it survives on its own. I would suppose, as my own guess, that if we enter the next life too soon, we do nothing; it's the responsible of those in charge of us to take care of us until we're ready. And besides, even babies born full-term cannot take care of themselves. They need care and feeding by others. I suppose we'll still need guidance and help as we entere the next life. But that's only a guess, and it's not my business to know.
Don't forget, living on earth is not exactly like living in a womb; there are differences. In the same way, the life to come is not exactly like this life. I don't know if we'll need special care at first when we get there. The point here is, that's not our business. That's God's business. Our business here and now is to grow. We are to do now what God wants us to do now. What is to come might be just as incomprehensive to us now as our life now might be to a fetus.
And that, my dear friend, is what God wants of you.