Here are 3 signs God is telling you that he wants you to take a different path than the one you are currently on.
And on a quick side note, the easiest ways to know if you are on the wrong path in life is if you are doing something contrary to God’s commands. I’ve talked at length about how God’s word is the first place to go if you want to know God’s will in many other articles, so I won’t be reviewing that content here.
1. If You Know the Path You Are on Is Not Growing You Towards God’s Calling on Your Life, This Is a Sign God Wants You to Turn Around
Getting to where God wants you to be is usually a multi-step process. It is very rare that God will move you one time and then you settle in that place for the rest of your life. God’s ultimate calling on all of us is that we glorify him at all times. But throughout life God will have us glorify him in different ways, but usually there will be a progressive nature to the movements God has us take.
In other words, God will often have us travel down the roads that lead us to glorifying him more and more as we refine our specific callings more and more. If you are 20-years-old, for example, God will probably not make you the head pastor of the church. But if he wants you to be the head pastor when you turn 40, there will be many steps from now to then that will lead you to where he wants you.
If you are single now but God wants you to be married, it is unlikely God will have you take one step of faith and then instantly have you get married. Each step of faith will be a small step in the right direction that will eventually lead you to a marriage, perhaps years down the line if that is God’s will.
My point is that life is a journey and we have to make sure we are headed in the right general direction. You won’t always know what the specific calling on your life will be in 20 years, but you can often know whether or not you are headed in the correct general direction by assessing if you are growing or not. As 2 Peter 1:5-10 states:
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.”
This passage is about Christian growth being evidence for true salvation. But the principles here can help us determine God’s calling on us in other areas of our lives as well. When you are “increasing” in the ways God wants you to, this is confirmation that you are following God’s calling on your life.
So if you are on a path in life where you know you are denying your calling and not maturing towards what God wants you to do one day, this is a sign you are going the wrong direction.
2. If the Doubt Is Still There After a Wise Season of Trying This Path Out, God Is Probably Telling You that You Are Going the Wrong Way
God will not always put fluorescent lights all over the path he wants you to walk down while he labels all the other paths with skulls and crossbones to let you know that is the wrong way.
No, oftentimes God will speak to us through wisdom. He will have us make wise decisions, to try things out, and to reassess decisions we make once we have more facts to consider.
For example, you may not know if God does or does not want you to marry someone until you date them first. Perhaps God leads you to date someone but then tells you that he does not want you to marry them. God is speaking through the wise choice you made to date to give it a try; but to continue forward would not be God’s will in this instance.
Or perhaps you were unsure of what career God wanted you in, so you chose a wise career and for a few years it seemed like the right choice. But then later on you start to sense God wants you to go another direction. It is possible that God wanted you to make that wise career choice then but now he is telling you to go a different direction. As C.S. Lewis said:
Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”
As Ephesians 5:15-17 teaches us, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
Notice that the wise path involves walking with the Lord. By walking forward you will then be able to assess what is going on in the present so you can then make new decisions which will be used by God to shape your future.
Being wise does not mean standing still until you know exactly what the next 50 years looks like. You will have doubts and unanswered questions but God will lead you to make wise choices to proceed forward anyways; but when that doubt remains after you wisely gave that path a try, this usually means God wants you to turn around.
You have to walk with God. He will show you when to move forward, when to go left, when to go right, and when to turn around.
3. If the Path You Are on Is Pulling You Away from the People You Love the Most, This Is a Sign You Are on the Wrong Path
When you want to know what God desires for you specifically, it can help to take a step back and remember what God wants for you generally. There are big themes in life God always wants for us. One of those big themes is love.
Therefore, if you are on a path in life that is pulling you away from the people you know God is calling you to love, this means you are on the wrong path, for as 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 famously states:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”