for a variety of reasons.
We may be facing a big life decision and truly want to follow God’s plan.
Or we may be searching for God and believe that there are steps to follow or rules to keep in order to find Him. Or we may ask, “What does God want me to do?” because we can’t find purpose or meaning in our lives and suspect that God is keeping it from us. Whatever motivates the question, the Bible has answers when we are wondering what God wants us to do.
When asking what God wants me to do, remember that we are not human doings. We were created in God’s image as human beings to communicate and walk in harmony with Him (Genesis 1:27).
Doing is the result of being.
Birds sing because they are birds; they do not sing in order to become birds. They sing, fly, and feather their nests because of who they are.
So what God really wants is for all our doings to emanate from our being.
He has no interest in grudging actions that have no connection with our hearts (Psalm 51:16–17; 1 Samuel 15:22; Micah 6:6–8).
Whatever we do for God must come from a place of overflowing love, worship, and surrender (Hosea 6:6; 12:6).
The first thing God wants us to do
is to accept His offer of salvation.
We are hopeless in our sin and cannot be good enough to overcome our sin and enter His presence. That’s why Jesus came into the world to take the punishment we deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21). When we put our faith in Christ’s death and resurrection, we can fulfill our purpose of knowing and glorifying God (Romans 6:1–6). God takes on the job of transforming us so that we become more like Jesus (Romans 8:29). So the first answer to the question what does God want me to do? is to receive His Son, Jesus, as Lord and begin the journey of faith.
After we are saved, what God wants us to do is “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). When God adopts us into His family (Romans 8:15), we begin a new relationship with Him that affects every aspect of our lives. Rather than making decisions to please ourselves, we make decisions that will please the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:31). Those decisions will be supported by the Bible, affirmed through godly counsel, and acted on through the power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25).
A quick checklist of things God wants us to do is found in Micah 6:8, which says, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Acting justly requires that we live with a sense of right and wrong and deal honestly and fairly with those around us. Jesus said we should not judge by appearances, “but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24). To do what God wants us to do, we must give everyone what is due them, we must live truthfully, and we must never oppress or exploit anyone. We should treat other people as fairly as we like to be treated (Matthew 7:12).
Loving mercy means we offer another chance to someone who does not deserve it. To do what God wants us to do, we must follow Jesus’ example in mercy; He was eager to show mercy toward anyone who repented (John 8:10–11; Luke 23:42–43). Like Jesus, we must forgive those who sin against us (Matthew 18:23–35). We should rejoice when someone is shown mercy, remembering how much mercy God has shown us (Luke 6:35–36).
We walk humbly with our God by seeking His blessing and approval on our life decisions. God does not become merely a part of our lives, He IS our life (Galatians 2:20). To do what God wants us to do, we grow in our faith, continuing to surrender more and more areas of our lives to His control. We daily deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Only when we keep our sins confessed (1 John 1:9) and our lives free from idolatry, worldliness, and compromise (1 John 5:21) can we walk humbly with our God.
God wants us to impact our world with His message, the gospel. Jesus answered the question what does God want me to do? just before He ascended back into heaven. We call His words the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20). We make disciples by investing all that God has given us in the lives of other people so that they, too, become all they were created to be. When we focus on who we are in Christ and study the Scriptures, we will know what God wants us to do.
Here are 5 important things we may have missed.
1. It was birthed from doubt.
In a moment of doubt Jesus gave us the Great Commission. It was in the midst of worshipping Jesus that doubt came over the 11 disciples. We don’t know what they doubted. Their doubt lead Jesus to make a clear and clarifying mission statement. Throughout the book of Acts we see how they lived this out. They had doubt, they got clarity, the got on with it. Matthew’s final words bring clarity and remove any doubt for the disciples.
2. It doesn’t begin with a command but a position
In dispelling their doubt, Jesus doesn’t begin with a command but a position. Who he is and who we are come before what we do. ‘BEING’ comes before ‘DOING’. Try and make disciples without being in the right relationship with Jesus is like to trying to fill a cup while it’s upside down. The cup doesn’t get filled and you stay thirsty. So, be careful. When you begin with doing the ministry you run the risk of moving the focus away from Jesus and onto yourself.
In the busyness of ministry it’s easy to make it about you. It’s not about you. It’s about Jesus. Jesus is the one to whom all authority, on heaven has been given. You access that authority through him. It is liberating when Jesus it is the heart of the Great Commission and not your effort alone. Keep Jesus at the centre of it all.
3. Baptism is more than getting people wet
It took me a while (years in fact) to realise this simple truth about baptism – baptised people baptise. At baptism we hand the baton of responsibility to the newly baptised person. Effectively we are saying to them, “You come under the authority of Jesus now. He has appointed you a minister of reconciliation, an Ambassador of good news. Go and make disciples ….”
The organisational chart of Jesus is very flat. There is Jesus at the top and then the rest of us. We are co-workers with each other. For sure, some carry specific roles and fill certain officers such as Elder or Pastor, but the responsibility for making disciples lies with all of us. If you want a disciple making movement the work needs to move from you to everyone.
4. The leadership role isn’t to make disciples (not directly anyway)
If we don’t pass the baton at baptism then a common error takes place in the church. The leadership take up responsibility for making disciples. That’s a HUGE mistake. When leadership bear the responsibility of making disciples the focus move from making disciples of all nations to making disciples in ‘my’ church.
A lot of time and resources go into helping the congregation be healthy disciples of Jesus. While that’s a noble cause it lacks the fullness of what Jesus is saying. Learning to follow Jesus involves actively living out the Great Commission.
There is a difference between seeking to help someone grow in their faith and teaching that person to help someone else to grow in their faith. The former helps those added to the church to be healthy. Yes, the church will grow at least until the leadership hits their capacity to care and teach. The later, however, leads to multiplication removing the capacity bottleneck of the leadership. Do you want addition or multiplication?
5. The promise of Jesus.
Jesus finishes with a promise.
He doesn’t promise that those you reach out to will welcome you. And he doesn’t promise they will appreciate you. He doesn’t even promise comfort or a successful ministry.
Jesus promises himself. The outcome of living out the Great Commission is the presence of Jesus in your life. And if you are looking for a sure way to be welcomed, appreciated, fulfilled and satisfied, then hanging with Jesus is the way to go.