What is God’s plan for my life? Such a common question asked by many of professed Christians, but yet many fail to find that answer staring right back at them in Scripture. It’s somewhat of a pet peeve of mine that some expect God to have a specific designated special plan for their life as if they’re destined to achieve some kind of grand self-fulfilling purpose especially made for them. Students of the Word, I challenge you to recognize that your purpose in life is not specific, but in actuality quite general. We’ve all been given a general purpose as followers of Christ to fulfill God’s will (which is to say his desire that we commit ourselves to obeying His instructions of us in Scripture) and to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let’s start from the Gospels. What did Jesus command the Apostles to do? Mat 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,”
Luke 24:46-47 “and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
What is the main purpose of why Jesus was here on earth for the time that he was? John 20:30-31 “Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”
And what did the Apostles do after receiving their commands from Jesus? Mark 16:20 “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.] [And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.]
So as we can see from these verses, the first and primary purpose and plan of utmost importance to Christ in all four gospels was the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that would make disciples and bring about eternal salvation. If you observe everything that the Apostles did in Acts, and everything they wrote about in their letters, it all goes back to the focus being the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Followers of Christ are instructed to entrust the teachings of the Apostles, which focused on salvation and fulfilling God’s will through obedience to His instructions, to others who will do the same. In 2 Tim 2:2 Paul states, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
These faithful teachings we read in Scripture today are the result of the continuance of entrustment to faithful men who went on to teach others as well. This is the first and primary plan that God intends for the follower of Christ to follow. There is no greater, no grander, and no more specific plan for the follower of Christ, than that of spreading the teachings we have received via the Apostles through the Holy Spirit, thus God Himself, whom inspired the Word we read through them. For anyone to instruct there is a more specific plan for each individual than this foremost would be nothing short of prideful. We need not look any further than the example given to us by the first converts of Christians in Acts 2:42 which states, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
So many question what specific direction would God have for them to go in, and to those who ask that I would respond with two questions. If you are abiding in Scripture in your choices and actions, are you not fulfilling God’s plan for your life regardless of what specific life decisions you make? And is it about God giving you some special life purpose for you, or is it really plainly about God’s will being fulfilled? I think if we reflect on both questions, the answers are yes, and it is plainly about God’s will being fulfilled. A person then might ask, well what if the specific choice I make turns out to lead to something bad, then doesn’t that prove we do need to listen to God beyond just Scripture for clear direction? Consider the fact that it can also be all a part of God’s general plan of His will being fulfilled and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be advanced that maybe you end up going through a trial.
People deceive people into believing that God’s general plan will always mean “great things will happen for me” when that’s not always the case, and thus the point is, it doesn’t matter what specific choices you make except that you don’t make any choices out of alignment with Scripture. All things that happen, good or bad, are ultimately a part of God’s plan (fulfillment of His will, advancement of His Gospel). Paul and Peter were beaten and jailed as a part of God’s plan, but they were content through it all, because they were doing something greater than whatever of their own desires may have been for self-fulfillment or personal happiness. They were living for the glory of God, and the ultimate hope emphasized over and over in Scripture was not in something greater happening to us as a result of our living for God necessarily in this life, but more so in the next life.
Friends, we know in this life good things will happen that may bring us joy, bad things will happen that will cause us difficulties, that sometimes things will get better and bring us more joy, and sometimes things will only get worse and bring us more hardship. The point is, that we persist to live to fulfill God’s will through it all, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is advanced, and we can remain content and firm in our faith until we reach that ultimate hope of eternity. As Paul stated in Acts 14, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” So no matter if something good or bad happens as result of your specific choices, the only way that it would be accurately “bad” as a result of you not clearly “hearing” God correctly, is if you didn’t follow His instructions in Scripture. But if something “bad” happens, regardless of the specific choice you made in living for God, everything that happens is ultimately all a part of God’s greater plan of maximum fulfillment of His will and maximum advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not your own self-fulfillment and personal happiness. Sometimes we do secondarily get fulfilled and we do secondarily get to enjoy some happiness, but sometimes we don’t, period.
Now some will go to the very commonly misinterpreted verse of Jeremiah 29:11 which states, ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Yes, a very pretty verse, but who is the “you” in this verse? It’s not the body of Christ, it’s the exiles. And when one accurately follows the verse in context by reading the rest of the verses after it, it’s about them going back to Jerusalem. To interpret it any other way through misapplying it out of its context is adding to God’s Word, which is a big no-no. As I’ve discussed in a previous post on eisegesis, we stick within what God’s Word states, and as many of the verses I pointed out in that Eisegesis post suggested, we do not go beyond it.
So many people are seeking to hear from God on what to do in life and they’re not even reading the most instructive guide to living which God has given us through Scripture. They idolize mystical experiences over God’s Word in desiring for a feeling of God audibly speaking to them, or as some of the popular mainstream Christian phrases of the day, desiring to get a super spiritual “confirmation” of what to do in life, or having felt God “lay something on their heart”. Followers, let us not fall into this trap of man-made phrases that have no Scriptural foundation. Let us seek after God’s direction through coming to know how we live for Him through His Word. Know that you don’t need to chase after what others yearn for out of pride in wanting to have God their way. To those others who do the yearning I would say to them, why not just consider, that what if God made things just as simple as opening and reading the Scripture?
As always, any questions, comments, or thoughts, feel free to leave a response for further understanding. Peace to all those who are in Christ.