The king's subjectS
Reflections by the People of TKA
A Message to TKA Students and Alumni “God’s Will for Your Life”
As you leave TKA and move into young adulthood, you may inevitably find yourselves faced with more and more increasingly significant major life decisions. If you were raised in the Christian faith, you might have grown up with Jeremiah 29 being (over) quoted to you:“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).
An accidentally narrow misinterpretation of this verse can make it sound like there’s only one right Will of God for your life. This may lead to fear and apprehension about “missing God’s will for your life” or making a misstep and then somehow having blessings withheld or, worse, curses and disaster brought down upon yourself. You may fear that if you “get it wrong” you’ll somehow make a shipwreck of your life.
This fear can cause you to lose heart and to balk at moving forward; it can cause you to allow anxiety and indecision to overwhelm and then paralyze you regarding pulling the trigger on any major life decisions. Or, it may make you vulnerable to abdicating responsibility for your decisions and mistakenly letting others make them for you. Even worse, out of fear and confusion and shame, you might back away from your relationship with the Lord. But “doing the will of the Lord,” finding success in life as a human being, is all about actively cultivating your relationship with God.
How you face into major life decisions sheds light on your faith and how you understand God. It may even reveal what’s at the heart of what you truly believe about the Lord and how He relates to you. When you fear missing “God’s Perfect Will,” it may be coming from a place of viewing Him as a cruel taskmaster, or someone who is critical and quick to pass a harsh judgment on you and your choices. Sometimes you feel like He’s playing hide-and-seek, but He’s not. And He is not a harsh taskmaster.
But, He’s not a dictator either. Part of growing up into a mature faith and “adulting” well involves making wise decisions and then owning them. You are not a slave and you are not a victim. You are an agent, and you have been given the ability and the opportunity to bathe your decisions in prayer and to “co-create your destiny with your Creator.” You have the capacity to make wise and good decisions that will truly set you up to thrive, and God expects you to exercise godly judgment and your God-given free will to do exactly that.
“Doing God’s Will” or “Living Out God’s Will For Your Life” is not reflected in your resume; it’s reflected in your character. It’s expressed in your ongoing lifestyle choices, in both your big life decisions as well as the small daily lifestyle decisions you make.
Regarding your big life decisions, are you pursuing whatever you are pursuing for the right reasons, the godly reasons? And by godly, I mean “Kingdom first.” What are your motivations? Are you keeping God’s priorities first in your life? Are His values your values? Do you trust Him? Are you doing your best to figure out your design, to discover and define who you truly are, and then with courage and compassion, are you living it out? Or are your grand pursuits “misoriented”? Do you have a tendency towards people-pleasing? Is there fear? Are you possibly striving to be someone you are not, someone you think you should be, or who someone (be it parent, professor, or culture) tells you that you should be? Are you seeking wealth or status or importance rather than success as a human being, as a child of God? Or are you relatively unconcerned with “Doing God’s Will” because you have left Him out of the equation?
The good news is that your anxiety about making good decisions and living a life pleasing in God’s sight is proof that you care about what God thinks and wants. It’s evidence of your love for the Lord, and of your deep desire to work with His Holy Spirit and not against it.
So, are you “living out God’s will for your life”? Well, do you live with a conscious need for the Lord? Do you deliberately choose to live your days in a loving partnership with Him? Do you trust that He is Who He says He is, and that His expressions of love towards you are unconditional and everlasting? Are you living within His loving limits, not to earn His favor but so that you will truly thrive? Are you allowing His words to instill in you a sense of peace and courage that “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well”? Are you learning to relax in His arms and to stop trying so desperately to perform, to “get it right,” to essentially rely on yourself to be your own salvation?
God’s will for your life is for you to love God and to love your neighbor, and the truly good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that He expects you to do all these things imperfectly. But you must do it in the context of the affectionate personal relationship that only you can have with the Lord. His will is for you to trust in His love that will never let you go, and in His grace that is sufficient in every way.
Even if you fear you are “on the wrong track” or that “you’ve sinned” or that “you’ve made a terrible mistake,” please remember that God is not only merciful and forgiving, but He is also infinitely creative, and He is making all things new. He will work all things together for your good. I teach my Bible 7 students to repeat to themselves, “No matter what happens, no matter what I do, God’s heart towards me is always good.” Do you believe that?
Finally, no matter how closely you walk with God, in certain seasons you may not know exactly what He is doing in your life. Remember the intimacy with God that Moses enjoyed: “The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Exodus 33:11). Moses boldly asks to see God, but sometimes even Moses only gets to see where God has been, not what He is doing in real-time. God tells Moses, “And it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.” (Exodus 33:22). Sometimes we feel like we can’t see what God is doing; He may purposefully “cover us” so we don’t see Him as He’s working. That’s when we must choose to walk by faith, and to be still and know that He is God. In due season, and as the mysterious ways in which the Lord works are often most clearly understood in retrospect, we will be able to see where He has been.
Seeing where God has been builds our faith, and that faith leads us into the hope and that future that Jeremiah speaks of. Keep walking with God over time, the best you can, so that you can look back to see where He’s been at work. Keep God in your life, “for it is God who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases Him” (Philippians 2:13).
Therefore, in these words, may you find rest for your souls. You are finding your way, and we (the TKA teachers and staff) are so proud. We love you, the Lord delights in you, and He will be with you all your days.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)
Brenda Rosé, Spiritual Life Department
Bible 7 Teacher
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