What Does God Want You to Do?
I was sitting on our bed last Wednesday night, in my floral print pajamas, half under the covers, having an argument with myself. Paul stepped into the room and start clearing off his side of the bed.
“Babe, I’m trying to sort this out. I really don’t want to over think it. Or make a contingency plan if we don’t really need one. Or try to make my thought process overly religious, or….”
My super-logical husband interrupted me, “Hun, I’m really tired. Can we skip to the end where you tell me what you want to talk about?” (He knows me too well. I would have continued with my disclaimers for the rest of the night.)
“Ok, I just… I don’t know what God wants us to do!”
Can anyone relate? We all reach this point, right? Where we so desperately want to do what God wants us to do, and we just need Him to tell us what that thing is.
I notice this in relationships frequently. The stress, or wounds, or miscommunication seem so large we want one big overarching answer to solve all the problems. And God has that answer, right? That’s part of His title as Supreme Ruler of the Universe. Knower of All the Things. But in His vastness, He knows that our finite minds and willful hearts could not hold and steward all that information well. So most of the time He tells us just the next thing. And lest our distracted minds not listen well to His Spirit inside us, He gave us a Book full of “just the next” steps. So when our relationships are messy and sticky and we feel overwhelmed by the weight of the need, what are the next steps we are to take?
In the AMP, Ephesians 4:3 reads “Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful.]” And verse 32, “Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you.”
Most of us know that working together as a team, working to “make the whole successful,” is a worthy goal. But how do we do that? With kindness, helpfulness, and forgiveness.
In relationships, kindness is always the next step. Merriam-Webster defines the act of being kind as “of a sympathetic or helpful nature.” Admittedly, there are moments when showing kindness is difficult to do, but it’s certainly not difficult to understand. Kindness is simply the act of considering another person, and behaving in a helpful manner.
Kindness is starting dinner when you get home, or not complaining that dinner was served later than normal. It’s pouring that extra cup of coffee, picking up the Legos, or wearing your helmet when you ride because you know she worries about you. It’s eating dinner quietly with his mom, or holding your tongue when she makes another sarcastic comment about your favorite movie.
Kindness is the mark of a believer. It’s a fruit of the Spirit, an evidence of His indwelling. Often, it’s how Jesus reaches out to our spouse through our physical actions and words.
It’s important to note that kindness is not about making our partner happy, but doing what is helpful, what is good for them. Sometimes, kindness means boundaries. Sometimes it means a tough conversation. Frequently it means being present, even when it’s painful. It is always what God wants His children to do. And it’s always what God wants us to do right now.
So often, I think, when we’re looking for an answer to the question, “What does God want me to do?” our gaze is cast too far forward. Not that God doesn’t care about our futures - on the contrary, He cares about them so deeply that He asks us to leave them up to Him:
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
“In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”
And, of course, the big one:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Our instruction from God is to keep our focus on the here and now. Who needs to see His love in our immediate vicinity? What is He calling me to do to advance His kingdom or to praise His name right now. Not tomorrow, not in six months, not next year, but today.
At first glance, I can see how that’d be less than helpful. “My fiance and I aren’t getting married for a year,” you say, “but we still have to plan the wedding. We can’t wait until the day of to decide whether we’re holding it in Chicago or Indianapolis.” And you’re right, but there are still ways to apply this principle. With any decision you face, take these two steps:
First, ask God whether He is asking you to make this decision right now, today, or whether there’s something else He would rather have you give your attention to in this moment.
Second, when the Spirit tells you it’s time to make a decision, ask Him to reveal to you which of the available options most glorifies Him, gives you the most opportunity to share and demonstrate the gospel, best moves you down the path He’s set out for you, etc.
Bottom line, here’s what God wants you to do: show His loving kindness to the world around you, and focus on who you can do that for right now.
Thanks so much for reading! We’ll keep these coming every week. You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & Pinterest with the buttons at the top of the page, or post this article to the platform of your choice with the buttons below. Also, please feel free to leave a comment! We’d love to hear your questions or receive any feedback you’d like to offer! Finally, if you’ve found this information helpful at all, you should know that we get to sit in person with couples like you every week and help them through their relationships. We’d love it and be so grateful if you would consider making a donation to support our work so that we can keep serving couples in our community and all over the world! Thank you!