One of the oldest questions in Christendom is “How can I know God’s Will for my life?” Another question that is not quite so popular but may be just as important is “How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie-Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?” (Young Reader Alert: If you are less than 30 years old, you may need a little history to follow this one…click and enjoy!)
Old Mr. Owl offers the controversial answer of “theree” and yet every time I try to conduct my own ‘lick test’ and get close to an answer, I cut my tongue on the dissolving edge of a Tootsie Pop and, in frustration, bite clean through to the stick. So now I am left with the mystery still unsolved…the answer somewhere between 3 and 3000 – maybe.
For me, this scenario sounds all too similar to the “Will of God” question. Is it possible to ask God to reveal His will and get a quick, accurate answer – 3 licks? Or do we have to plead and pray for years for God to slowly share His plan with us – 3000 licks? I am coming to believe that the answer is Yes & Yes.
3 Licks – Knowing God’s Purpose Now
God’s purpose for our life is not always defined by the big title or vocation…being a missionary, a teacher, a homeless-outreach-coordinator. It isn’t less than these things but it is not only these either. God gives very clear instruction on what He expects of us and this is were we begin to know His purpose. Here is the short list:
- Love your God – Mark 12:30
- Love your Neighbor – Mark 12:31
- Hide God’s Word in your heart – Psalm 119:11
- 10 Commandments – Exodus 20
- Don’t be a hypocrite, Hate evil, Love good – Romans 12:9
- Pray continuously – I Thessalonians 5:17
- Don’t be full of anxiety but pray – Philippians 4:6
“These are just verses. They don’t give me God’s purpose for my life!” Do we really think that God will trust us with the Grand Plan if we are not preparing our hearts every day with the things that make us more like Him? It is God’s intention that we grow spiritually and growth comes in the little steps of faith that define our daily experiences. If we want to know God’s Purpose for our life today, start with the ‘easy‘ stuff and do the thing you KNOW that God wants you to do…Be patient with your spouse or child…Choose a kind answer rather than the ‘smart-Alec‘ one that first came to mind…Find ways to demonstrate the Fruit of the Spirit. We can know God’s Purpose in just 3 Licks!
3000 Licks – Knowing God’s Plan for your future
There is always a process to follow. Whether you want to be a doctor or a computer programmer, you must follow a process to get you to the point of “doing” what you want. You cannot hope or wish your way there. The same is true for a Christ follower. Here are some things to consider about the process of finding God’s Purpose for your life [the following is adapted from S.H.A.P.E by Erik Rees]:
- Use your Talent– We are all born with certain abilities that are unique to us. If God gave it to you, maybe its important to include it as part of the Plan.
- Know your Gift– Spiritual gifts are widely talked about within Christian communities these days. If you don’t know your gift, get some education about it. If your gift is service, you will be frustrated trying to pursue plans that involve administration or teaching.
- Understand your Personality– Introverts don’t always make the best Greeters. This is not to say we can’t grow and expand our comfort zone, but using the strengths of our personality can be more effective in Kingdom (any) work. [Type “Personality” in the ChristianBook.com Search box to the top/right for resources.]
- Leverage your Passion– There is a yearning to be doing something specific that burns within each of us…and a fulfillment when we are doing that thing. When God says He wants to give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4), maybe this includes the things that bring us the most joy when we do them…i.e. working with children; helping the elderly; teaching a class; writing poetry. Use this passion as part of the guide to finding God’s purpose for you.
- Pray for Opportunity– After examining the previous four areas and seeing the kind of things God’s purpose may be leading you towards, begin praying that God will reveal the opportunities that will allow you to use all of these things to His greatest glory.
The process takes time, but remember, God’s Will is about doing & being; not hoping & wishing. There are many other aspects of knowing God’s Purpose for our lives – open/closed doors; counsel from wise friends; a Peace from the Holy Spirit – but taking daily steps to prepare ourselves and understanding the areas of our lives that God uses to direct us, can help relieve the stress of knowing how many licks it takes to get to the center of God’s Will.
Open Mic: Share your thoughts
- What have you done to know more about God’s purpose for your life?
- Who has been helpful in your life in this matter?