Below is something I sent to a friend asking about a career decision and trying to figure out God’s will for their life. I posted it here (with their permission) for those that may be asking similar questions.
I know many people feel like if they make a wrong decision in life that it can ruin God’s plan for their entire life. The good news is that isn’t true. God’s will for our lives is actually rather simple, to love God and in turn love others. This can be done in any profession. Do we trust Jesus and live for him, and are we loving others how he has called us to love?
That is God’s will for us.
God’s will is not some sort of magical “do one thing and then another thing and hopefully you don’t screw up.” If someone simply lives for themselves and ignores God it doesn’t matter what they do with their life, they are living outside of God’s will for them. So when you are trying to decide on a career choice, or figuring out where to live, or if you should date a certain person, so long as you are honoring him with your life you won’t somehow make him mad for making one decision over another.
That being said, God certainly directs our paths and works in such a way that he can have specific things for us to do with our lives. For example, I strongly believe that God has for me to be a pastor. I have never heard God audibly speak that to me, but through spending time with him reading my Bible, in prayer, and in communication with other Christians I respect, I believe God has used these means to direct me toward this path.
But I would never have known this by simply allowing the circumstances of life to lead me down this road. It takes spending time with God and having a relationship with him. So now I am pursuing pastoring, but even in this career, if I’m not seeking to honor God with my life I can still be a pastor and not be living God’s will for my life.
The great thing about God too is that while he allows things to happen (including our bad decisions) he can still use them for good. So let’s say I stayed and worked at Verizon (my former place of employment) forever. While I wouldn’t be doing what I believe God has gifted me to do, I could still honor him by living out the Gospel there and being faithful in that job, and thus he could certainly use my career at Verizon for His good.
So here is a short way to help make decisions.
1) Does this decision dishonor God?
2) Do I feel God leading me in a particular direction?
3) What do other close Christian friends that I respect think?
Now there are times where these questions don’t necessarily answer whether you should do something or not, but it at least will stop you from making poor decisions.
So what happens, for example, if you are choosing between two jobs, both of which you can honor God in and your Christian community could see you doing either one? Well then either direction you go, God can use it for his glory and your good.
Now all of this doesn’t really tell you what you should do in this situation and I get that, But if it seems God is leading down this path for now then there will be an element of trust to it. If we knew everything would work out before we did it then we wouldn’t have to trust him, and that certainly is not God’s will for your life.