Many of us have at some point in our lives struggled to know what God’s will for us is, both generally and specifically when needing to make some kind of a decision. We hum and haw, and list pros and cons, and agonize in prayer, all the while fearful of making a wrong decision. (As an aside, usually our assessment of a “wrong” decision is based on a human perspective of success not on what God sees as success.)
In John 6:28-29 Jesus was asked what needed to be done to do God’s work, and his reply was to simply believe in the one God sent; Jesus himself. If you want to know God’s direction for you, then know Jesus. That may sound simplistic so I think an analogy may be in order here.
My wife, Wendy, is a wonderful gift giver. She gets great satisfaction in finding a gift for someone that perfectly fits that person. It is very hard for her to find a gift for someone she doesn’t know well because she doesn’t know what that person values or is important and significant to them. It takes far more effort and struggle and she usually isn’t satisfied with what she has found. The gifts that bring her the most joy and satisfaction are the ones where she may not even be looking for a gift and finds something that she immediately knows in her heart just perfectly matches a particular person. Why? Because she knows that person so well.
If we picture doing God’s will in our lives as those gifts you can begin to understand what Jesus was getting at. Rather than focusing so much on what to do, focus on Jesus. Get to know him so intimately that when you come to make a decision, even just the little ones during the day, you will know in your heart “ah, this is him.”
But it goes even deeper than that, because as Christ followers we have the spirit of Jesus making his residence within us and speaking to us, guiding and directing us. The more we focus on him, the more we get to know him and identify with what is valuable and significant to him then the more clearly we will recognize the “voice behind you saying ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” (Isaiah 30:21)