How Can I Know God's Will?


Chris Lutes shares the story of how he chose his college and learned that God's will isn't simply about picking the right school.

My college choice was easy. At first. Because of my love for the environment, I'd decided to attend a school that had a strong environmental studies program. It seemed like the right place for me, but then something happened the summer before I left for college. I made a major decision that would affect all my other decisions. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. It's not like I suddenly lost my concern and love for the environment. I still cared about the ozone layer, endangered species of all kinds and South American rainforests. But I also developed a deeper concern—concern for the fate of individual souls.

But the problem: I had already been accepted at my once-favorite college and had even gone through a summer orientation to prepare for my first year there. I felt stuck and not at all sure going to this college was really, truly God's will for my life. So I did what most people in my don't-know-what-to-do shoes would do: Full of worry and anxiety, I headed off to my first-choice school in the fall. I soon discovered something during that first semester. I found out I really wasn't into biology—a pretty important area of study for someone in environmental studies. I even ended up with a D in freshman bio lab. Not good.

At the same time, I discovered plenty of opportunities to grow in my faith at the school that was no longer the college of my dreams. I got involved with a great church, learned a lot about the Bible, and also had many opportunities to serve Christ and share my faith. During that first difficult academic year, I realized I really needed to change my major. I also realized something else. God's will wasn't simply about picking the right school, the right area of study or the right career path.

As I dug deeper into God's Word—and into Christ-centered community and Christian service and outreach—I began to study some verses that really seemed to be God's will for my life, like: Do to others what you would like them to do to you. This is the meaning of the Law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets (Matthew 7:12, NCV). Jesus answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.' This is the first and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, 'Love others as much as you love yourself.' All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments" (Matthew 22:37-40, CEV).

As I struggled to find the right school, the right major and the right career path, I discovered something important. I learned that God's will largely revolved around a life of love for him and for others. This didn't mean God didn't care about what school or career I would eventually choose. But he had a larger concern: He wanted me to become more like Christ—no matter what school I ended up at. I eventually did switch schools and discovered a major (Christian communications) where I could use the gifts and talents God had given me. As a result, I enjoy sharing God's truth and love through the job I have as an editor and writer. I believe that what I'm doing pleases God. Even more, I must never forget that "doing," in God's way of thinking, involves more than doing my job. It's about doing God's will through loving him and loving people. It involves building a closer relationship with him through such practices as prayer, Bible study and telling others about Jesus. These are the important things I and all other Christ-followers have been called to do. And it's big —bigger than that first college choice, bigger than any other decision I will ever have to make.

Written by Chris Lutes

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