I think that, at one time or another, every Christian has asked, “How do I know what God wants me to do?” I like to answer that question with a question: “How do you know what kind of pizza your kid likes?” The answer is one of two things, either: 1. We have eaten enough pizza together that I just know what s/he likes, or 2. I ask them what they want.
God is no different. We cultivate our relationship with him by spending time with him, and when we don’t know something, we ask. We deepen our relationship through the study of Scripture, prayer, Biblical teachings and seeking wise counsel from other believers.
The first piece of that is the relationship. I think that sometimes we mix up doing “good things” of our own accord with being in the center of God’s plans and him using us for his purpose. There is nothing wrong with doing nice things for people, but when this is done apart from a relationship with God, it is of little value.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
— Hebrews 11:6
The good news is that knowing God is not hard. Romans 10:9 says: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
It is truly that simple. That’s just the introduction, though. Every relationship starts with an introduction. The way we get to know someone is to spend time with them. The cool thing about God is that he is ready and willing! He has plans and he wants us to be a part of those plans!
“I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…”
— Jeremiah 29:11–14
While he may not audibly communicate exactly what he wants us to do each day, God’s heart is clear throughout Scripture, and when we know his heart, his plans are much easier to decipher. He is not hiding, he wants us to know him!
I have an 18-month-old at home. His vocabulary is not extensive, but we communicate really well. I know which is his favorite sippy cup, I know when he is mad vs. injured, and I know when he is hungry or tired without him telling me that he needs food or a nap. He also reads me really well and can pick up on whether I am happy, frustrated, sad or in a playful mood. These things are true of our relationship because we know each other on an intimate level, the result of spending a lot of time together.
This is the level of intimacy God offers to us. He says, “seek me and find me…”
Job 42:2 serves as a reminder that God will achieve his purposes, whether we are part of it or not: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
I find this comforting because it serves as a reminder that God is much bigger than my sinfulness, but I also find myself encouraged by this verse to make myself available because if God is doing something, I want to be a part of it!