A Call to a Life of Intentional Worship
God’s will for my life is... well, just what, exactly?
Don’t we all want to know what God’s intent and will for our life is, and what our purpose is for being left on this earth? Is there a specific path God wants each of us to follow?
The Bible teaches that long before Adam walked on the earth God determined the times and exact places where you would live (Acts 17:26). The Bible teaches that you were knit together with a specific, “intricate” design while you were still in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:14-16). You were not thrown together by chance circumstance. Sure, most of us know we are MADE, or manufactured, by God but do we really believe we were DESIGNED by God---designed not only with physical DNA that dictates our personality, appearance and talents, but a spiritual DNA as well—one that consists not only of a unique, spiritual gifting but a God-ordained, God-planned orchestration of every circumstance that has ever occurred in your life as well? It’s true. God designed you. Through His sovereignty, God appointed you to be born where you were born, to live where you live, to look the way you look, to have the opportunities you have, to possess the talents and gifts you have…and to be lacking in those you don’t have. Furthermore, he planned from the beginning of time for you to be where you are RIGHT NOW. And He has a path for you to follow once you’re finished reading this sentence.
So what is that path?
No, there is no cosmic vending machine that spits out 20 year life plans with the next 4,000,000 steps you need to take, identified from start to finish. There is not a needle in every haystack that you have to somehow miraculously find for every decision you make. But there is a God who says that if you seek and delight in Him, he will guide your steps one at a time, giving you the promptings and desires needed to go where He wants you to go, even though it may seem at the time that the road He has you on goes nowhere. And while finding that path is not as mystical as some make it out to be, neither is there a formulaic answer that fits neatly in a box with a bow on it. It comes as a result of understanding how you were wired and walking in a supernatural walk of fellowship with God.
I think we would all agree it would be safe to assume that what God has spoken in His Word is the first indicator of His will for our lives. And in the gospels, Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is. In other words, what is the greatest thing, first and foremost, that we can do to be in the will of God? You may remember the answer; to love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind….and to love your neighbor and his interests as much as you love your own.
All your heart? That’s everything in your deepest longings, passions and desires. All your soul? Everything in your being. All your mind? Everything you view, watch, read, think and meditate on. In essence, everything you have and everything you are. All your gifts. All your talents. All your abilities. All your treasure. All your passions. All your influence. Everything. And it all bursts forth into the world around us through what you do with your body…where you go, who you meet, and what you do. Every minute, every day, every week. All of it focused on serving God and serving others …offering everything in you—including your talents—as lifestyle reflective of an ongoing, living sacrifice to God.
That’s worship. That’s what you were born to do, if you are a child of God for whom Jesus suffered and died. Born to use your gifts, talents, passions and treasures to delight in advancing His kingdom, rather than yours. Born to use your abilities to spread the fame of His name, not yours. Born to live within the bounds of your personality and temperaments to serve other people, rather than hiding behind an artificial façade seeking to advance your own causes. Born empowered to move beyond your comfort zone and idolatry-fueled peaceful, easy feelings to instead spread the gospel through various dangers, toils and snares. Born to demonstrate a supernatural contentment and peace in the presence of God through both good times and bad, prosperity and poverty, times of abundance and times of need. You were born to worship. And in this life, the arena in which you offer this worship through the expression of your gifts, talents, passions and treasures is your calling.
What about you? Do you know your calling? Are you living life by consciously making God-centered, intentional decisions---small and large---to use the gifts, talents and God-breathed passions to serve others by delighting in God? Do you say yes to those options that line up with your calling and gifting and no to those that do not? Or do you continue to be bound by the opinions and expectations of others, drifting through life going wherever the wind blows, and finding a level of contentment with your life only when others voice their approval of you?
I believe Paul described this worship-oriented lifestyle in Romans 12:1-2. “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual act of worship.” From there Paul goes on in verse two to counsel that this act of worship is made possible by being transformed, not conformed, into the value system of another world—the everlasting world versus this temporary one—and that this transformation into a life of worship will enable you to discern the will of God. When you are worshiping God through your lifestyle, God gives you the desires that are necessary to point you in the direction God wants you to go. If we are children of God, we have a God who has given us life, and who has told us to enjoy life by delighting in Him…and when we do that, He promises to give us the desires he wishes us to have, and the power to use the gifts and treasures He has entrusted to us. We have the freedom to go where we have the highest passion and gifting for vocation and ministry, rather than either blindly plowing through every door that comes our way, or being paralyzed by a fear of making a mistake and dropping out of the view of God. When we delight in God, we can know that God is leading us through our desires, and provided we are not violating scripture or God-given authorities in our life, we can proceed with reasonable assurances the choices we are making are consistent with His will. We will have the wisdom and discernment to make decisions with confidence and intention. This is part of the joy of the Christian life and the peace that passes all other understanding, and it only comes when we are living a life consumed with a desire to display the glory of God. The primary reason we don’t follow the dreams God has put within us is because we value the approval of others more than we value the approval of God. We’d often rather worship other idols and delight in the desires and momentary pleasures they produce, than to worship God and delight in the desires and eternal pleasures He produces.
Absent a deep desire to delight in God as we live, and without an intentional approach to the decisions we make daily, we will live our lives as idolaters merely disguised as worshippers, inwardly longing to one day stand at a high school/college reunion, a corporate retirement party, or a concert arena and have mere mortals come up to us and say “nice house, nice car...well done” or “great career...well done” or “great CD...well done.” Let us all purpose instead to live as true worshipers who long to stand before the Creator of the Universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and hear Him say “great life...great worship...well done.”
Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.