If you are like me, I’ve heard the question many times, “How do you get to know God’s will for your life?” And I rarely had heard an answer that didn’t come across as overly theological or academic…none of them seemed to resonate with me.
Yet years ago, when my 13-year old son, Taylor, and I were on our way home from his soccer game, I stumbled (aka was led by the Holy Spirit, albeit I still wasn’t too coordinated) into an answer that seemed to make sense. As we were driving home, talking about the game that he had just played, out of the blue he asked, “Dad, how does a person get to know God’s will for their life?” I immediately froze, my mind racing. After all the years I had asked that question, and with all the unfulfilling answers I had received…how should I answer that question? And what in the world had even prompted that question at this particular time??
But, as any parent of a teenager knows, you don’t get to pick and choose when questions come up that demand an answer…certainly ones like this! So, after a brief pause, I dove in.
“Taylor, do you remember when you scored that beautiful goal in the second period, after the through ball came to open space that you just happened to have moved into? And how you deftly received the ball in full stride and blasted past the first defender? And how you then outran. while dribbling, a second defender who was using a closing angle to pursue you? And how you feinted one way and then went another to get the charging goalie to be out of position, so you could nicely line the ball into the far corner of the net?”
Taylor smiled as he remembered. But then his brow furrowed a bit as he probably wondered, “What does that have to do with the will of God?”
I continued, “Think how many things had to come together for that goal to have been scored. You were in shape and fast enough to outrun some people. Think how many practice shots on goal in various situations we’ve practiced. Think how many drills we’ve had with through balls being kicked to open space over the past several weeks. Think about the dribbling exercises you’ve done on your own to be able to stay in full stride and see the whole field as you dribbled. Think about the coordination with teammates, so you knew what was unfolding to allow you to ease into position for the through ball without getting into an offside position.
Taylor nodded his agreement…a lot of practice time had been invested for the unfolding of that split second sequence of events. But his brow remained furrowed.
“So to me, Taylor,” I pressed on, “Knowing God’s will only comes about when we practice good spiritual disciplines to prepare us to hear what the Holy Spirit has to tell us. Similar to the preparation and practice for the soccer game. If we’re not reading God’s Word each day, where He’s giving fantastic instructions for us…If we’re not constantly in prayer and dependence on God for everything…if we’re not getting wise, Godly counsel from others who may have experienced some of the road we’re traveling before…if we’re not journaling to capture our thoughts to allow God to shape what’s in our minds…if we’re not in worship to him in everything we do…. I believe a lot of prep time goes into us getting to know God’s will for our lives.”
Taylor brow was unfurrowed. He got it. And, guess what? Importantly, so did I!!
That brings us to the 11 Ways to Go With God outlined below, which are from Step #1 in our Crossroads Career workbook, “You Are Created for Good Works.” I’d encourage you to try a couple you haven’t done before, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you establish some good spiritual disciplines, so you can hear God calling. (You can download a PDF of this list here.) Throughout the rest of June, we’ll be discussing some other ways you can strengthen your relationship with God and hear Him more clearly.
There is no calling without The Caller. Take dedicated time to praise and thank Him. Then as you live and work every day, do everything to glorify Him.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship…in the splendor of His holiness. Psalm 29:2 NIV
Study the Bible
The Bible is God’s written authority and our manual for living. Consider it like bread, and feed on it every day. If the Bible is new to you, start with the book of Psalms, John or Ephesians.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 NIV
Be in conversation with God every day. You can even confidentially pray with others online at crossroadscareer.org/prayer. Start with a prayer for guidance from Psalm 143:8 NIV: Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
Listen to God
Prayer is two-way communication. In a journal or notebook, write thoughts that come to your mind.
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 NIV
Spend time with Christians who are like-minded and like-valued. Study the Bible and pray together. Encourage one another. Follow the ABCs of Accountability, Belonging and Care.
And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds…Hebrews 10:24 NASB
Seek Wise Counsel
Seek first wisdom from above and then from people. Some may be friends. Others might be strangers. All should be of good reputation.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17
Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. Proverbs 1:5 NIV
Consider Your Circumstances
Be a good steward of opportunities God gives you. Consider unfolding circumstances in prayer, with counsel and in light of the truth of the Bible.
Be very careful, then, how you live…making the most of every opportunity. Ephesians 5:15-16 NIV
Confess to Clear Your Head
It is easy to get confused when sin is getting in your way. Confess and clear your mind every day.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NASB
Receive God’s Peace
As you consider various choices, be alert for the peace of God, even in the midst of the most chaotic of times.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds, in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 NIV
Keep a Journal
Keep track of thoughts you have during Bible study, prayer, fellowship, counsel, confession and unfolding circumstances.
Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book.” Jeremiah 30:2 NASB
Trust & Obey
There is no other way! If you hear Him, follow Him.
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them. John 14:21 NIV
Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.