It’s important to define our terms when talking about not missing “God’s will” or “God’s plan” because these phrases have varying uses.
For example, in one sense it’s impossible to miss God’s will or plan because he is all powerful and causes his will to happen (Ephesians 1:11). But in another sense, God has commissioned each one of us to steward the life he’s given us, thus allowing us to make both good and bad decisions (Matthew 25:14-30). This is what I refer to as “God’s personal will” or “God’s personal plan” for us.
This individual will that God allows us to participate in is what we will be referring to in this article.
So here are 3 biblical things you can do to avoid missing God’s plan for you in your life and relationships.
1. Follow God’s Plan By Starting Theologically Big and Applying that Theology in Small, Practical Ways
There’s two main ways to look at a plan. First there’s the overarching end goal of the plan that involves big decisions. And then second, there are many little plans that are needed to support the overarching goal.
For example, when the countries in the Allied forces were creating a plan to defeat Nazi Germany, they knew they had to invade the lands that Germany occupied, they knew they had to kill Hitler, and they knew they would have to join together as one fighting force.
But to win such a massive war, there were millions of tiny decisions too. Yes, they knew they had to invade those lands occupied by German forces, but on what date(?), would America invade German-occupied France or would the English do that(?), who would invade Germany itself(?), should they use tanks or should they use small squads of men(?), how would they feed the soldiers, and how would they get fuel to the tanks once there were in a new country?
As you see, to be successful, you need to have an overarching goal (win the war) that helps govern what small plans need to be made and followed every day to eventually accomplish that goal.
This is why, as Christians, if you want to follow God’s will, you have to get a big, overarching theological goal and then learn to apply that in small ways every day. For example:
- Everything we do we must do for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31b), and this must govern even the smallest choices you make every day like what foods you decide to eat (1 Corinthians 10:31a).
- We know we must love God and people (Ephesians 5:1-2), and one way to do this is by not sinning sexually (Ephesians 5:3)
- We are to have a pure and true religion (James 1:27a), and one way we do this is by caring for orphans and widows (James 1:27b).
So start theologically big (e.g. glorify God, love God, love people), and then work on living that out in very small, practical ways every day (e.g. speak encouraging words when you notice someone struggling, help someone at work when they need it, forgive someone when they wrong you).
2. Find and Follow God’s Plan By Creating Daily Bubbles Where You Slow Down and Listen to the Holy Spirit in His Word and in Prayer
One issue we run into is that we think finding and following the will of God is a one-time process. We imagine it like plugging a destination into our GPS. Once it’s set, all you need to do is follow it until you arrive at your destination. If you think like this, you will miss God’s plan for you.
Rather than “finding God’s path,” it’s better to think of it as “staying on God’s path.” God’s personal will for us is less about making a perfectly sequenced set of steps and more about heading in the correct direction that he wants for you. You may take Main Street or you may take Old Country Road 33, but if they are both headed North, you are still on God’s path for you.
Therefore, to stay on the Lord’s path, you have to create daily times where you are constantly checking in with him, making sure you are still headed in the right direction. If you turn this process into a holy habit that you do every day, you are far less likely to get off track (Psalm 1:1-3).
3. Avoid Missing the Will of God By Taking the Next Small Step in the Right Direction
Sometimes it’s not as helpful to ask, “What is God’s will for my life?” compared to asking, “What is the next right choice God wants me to make this very moment?”
When you can make that next small step, it created moment in the right direction. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, your life will keep moving in the right direction if you focus more on the daily right choices rather than merely the “big right choices.”
How you spend your days will be how you spent your life. Small daily steps make up the journey of life. If you want to avoid missing the will of God for your whole life, work on obeying God in the minute details of life (James 1:25).