Why are we on earth? What’s our purpose? What is the meaning of life? How do we know if this is where we’re supposed to be?
Though the Bible urges us to follow God’s plan for our lives (see Joshua 22:5), discovering God’s plan can seem insurmountable. At times we wish we had a detailed road map to follow that would outline every major decision of our lives. But such a map, if it existed, would stand in the way of faith and daily dependency on God.
So what is God’s plan for you? The Bible outlines several things that reveal his plan for all his children: God desires that you love him (see Deuteronomy 6:5), obey him (see Deuteronomy 6:24), grow in faith (see 1 Thessalonians 4:3), develop gifts to serve the church (see 1 Corinthians 12:4 – 7), do good works for others (see Ephesians 2:10), remain sexually pure (see 1 Thessalonians 4:3), remain free from the love of money (see Hebrews 13:5) and share the good news of Jesus with others (see Matthew 28:18 – 20). Though you may be seeking guidance on where the next step on your life journey should lead, you can be certain that God’s Word will never lead you away from these things.
You can discern more about God’s plan through the reading of the Bible, through the wise counsel of others and through stewardship and development of your God-given gifts. Above all else, be faithful in prayer as you present your questions to God and depend on him to direct you. He’s promised to lead you in the right direction: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’ ” (Isaiah 30:21).
Here are some additional thoughts about God’s Plan from the Bible.
Our Identity and Purpose in Life
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:18 – 21
In 2 Corinthians, Paul tells us what our role in the world is as Christians. We must be ambassadors for Christ on earth, showing his love for humanity as revealed in the gospel. Just as we were reconciled to God through faith in Christ, so too others can be reconciled to God as God uses us to share with them the message of reconciliation.
Following God’s plan for our lives means that we mirror the example of the apostles, sharing the Good News with others and showing them our good works by example. Just as Jesus commanded the apostles to trust in God as they became leaders of men and women, so too must we trust in God to help us do the right thing. Being Christians is about more than just going to church on Sundays — God’s plan requires Christians to be ambassadors for Christ, all seven days of the week and every day of the year. Our love for Christ should be evident in our hearts and be expressed through our words and deeds
We Were Born to Serve
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. – Galatians 6:10
When we think about God’s plan for our lives, we often end up wondering about a different question entirely: What about our own plans for our lives? We fantasize about who we’re supposed to marry, what job we’re supposed to take, where we’re supposed to live, or what other elements of life we should pursue for our happiness.
What we forget is that God’s plan for us is far greater than our own. God tells us throughout the Bible that we are born to serve him. This life of service means that we must love others and attend to their needs. God calls us to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving toward each other (see Ephesians 4:32). Part of God’s plan for us is serving others in the way he’s outlined for us. Just as the Good Samaritan helped the man in need in Jesus’ parable (see Luke 10:25 – 37), we too must follow Christ’s example and obediently help those who need us most.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
While we are called to the mission of being ambassadors for Christ in this world, God’s plan for us extends far beyond what we do here on earth. He has called us to come home to his kingdom to live with him in eternity. We learn in the Gospel of John that God’s plan for us is born out of love, a love so strong that he sacrificed his only Son — Jesus Christ — in order to redeem us. Though we may worry about tomorrow — whether we’ll get a job, whether we’ll meet that special someone — God’s concern for us is much greater. God’s love for us means that his plan for us is one of eternal salvation. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (see Romans 3:23), but the Holy Spirit calls us to receive God’s love and to share it with others.
Content from this article is drawn from study features in the NIV Essentials of the Christian Faith, New Testament.
NIV Essentials of the Christian Faith, New Testament
The NIV Essentials of the Christian Faith, New Testament is perfect for outreach and evangelism. It includes specially written articles that give an overview of fourteen key tenets of the Christian faith, such as Who Is God?, Why Go to Church?, What Is Faith? and What Is God’s Plan for Me? Learn More