I am the youngest of four children. My eldest brother, Aaron, is a tech guru. He loves computers and works in computer engineering as a vocation, but how he got his start is so telling to his personality and hard-wiring of his brain. Anytime we would get a new piece of technology in the house, my parents gave him free reign to take apart the old piece of technology. He would take it apart and marvel at the inner workings of the dated gadgets. We got a CD player-he took apart the tape player. We got a DVD player- and he took apart the VHS player. He loved to tinker with things. He always had about four different things taken apart and different projects going at one time.
I think that is a danger of the current college-aged generation. We are tinkerers. We tinker with our relationships. We tinker with where we go to school. We tinker with our major. We tinker with our doctrine.
Post-high school is normally the time to make most of the big decisions in a person's life: marriage, vocation, college, relocation. So some indecision is to be expected. And youthfulness lends itself to some indecision.
The main fallback for this Christian generation's tinkering is the term "finding God's Will" in their lives. We want God’s Will because we genuinely want to please our Savior. However, we end up looking in the wrong direction for God’s will; we view it as a treasure map to be found and lost. Something to follow at each turn.
I see college students deal with big decisions all the time. Should I date this girl? Should I change my major? Should I live at home? Get an apartment? Is he the right roommate? Should I drop this class? I just want to follow God’s will for my life! But God did not want us to worry, doubt, and turmoil about the decision making seasons of our lives.
God's Word is very clear about what God's will is for every Christian's life. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 is the lens that we are to view God’s will with and will guide our process of decision making.
1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification
God’s will for our lives is our sanctification.
Sanctification is to set a person or thing apart for the use intended by its designer.
This is the becoming more like Christ, more holy, every day, hour, minute, and moment. That’s what he wants from us as His children.
It’s not a predetermined set of choices that God has a preference for that he is simply not showing us. Yes, God does have an idea for what he wants in our lives. And that is to simply walk with him every day.
How does this apply to our decision making process? How does the idea of becoming more like our God change a decision about what major? Or who should I marry? Or if I should take the job in the new town?
A closer walk with Christ will give us clarity in decision making in two ways:
1. Our increased association with Christ will lead us to know his heart better.
This is a simple principle of friendship and association. The more time you spend with someone, the more you learn about their choice preferences. You know that your closest friend prefers root beer to coke. So the more time we spend with our savior, the more clearly we can see his preference in a decision.
2. All decisions will be looked at under the lens of “is it going to make me more Christ-like?”
This makes non-moral decisions like where to live or what job to take (assuming it’s not a job that would force you to sin) much easier. We can stop looking at two choices and start evaluating which one is going to make me more like Christ.
This may seem like good, practical advice, but when I was faced with two equally good choices, I was crippled. All of high school and my first few years of college were defined by my misconception of God’s Will. Every time I would go talk to God, I would ask Him, “What is your Will for my life?” with no clear cut answer. It created a complex within my heart about a God that had a plan for me and refused to show it to me for whatever reason. So when I realized that God wanted to walk with me, not wait for me to find a plan, it was liberating!
I hope that more college-aged people would realize that God doesn’t want to hide a plan from you, that he wants to walk with you. That a growing relationship with Christ would define their college years, not confusion and misdirection.
- Jared Bone
Jared is the College & Outreach Pastor at High Street Baptist Church in Springfield, MO. In addition to teaching and discipling college-aged students, he also oversees City Project initiatives that help members love on and encourage the people of Springfield.