I have found that this extends into real life relationships as well. This isn’t to say that every relationship and interaction we have is based on what we want from the other person, but there are certain things that we generally expect from people who play certain roles in our lives.
You expect your parents to take care of you.
You expect your best friend to make you laugh and have a good time with you.
You expect your teach to make the test open book. Well, you may not expect it, but you certainly want it.
And so today I want to ask (and hopefully answer) (or better yet start a conversation about)
what does God want from us?
First, I want to say that this is not a post about what we need to do in order to be saved. It’s clear from scripture (Ephesians 2:10) that we cannot earn salvation, but that grace is a gift given to us by God. So, please don’t get all over me in the comments about that. Seriously. I’m watching you.
This is a post about what God wants or expects, or requires of us after we are saved. This is a question that we all ask, even if we phrase it in different ways. What’s my calling? What’s God’s will for my life? Lead me, LORD! LEAD ME!
I think the answer to these questions is actually a lot more simple that we make it out to be.
But before I talk about the answer, I first want to talk about what I believe to be the 3 biggest hang ups we have when trying to answer the question of what God wants from us.
Firstly, we get hung up on WHERE. This happens a lot when we’re in the midst of a major life transition, like going to college, or a changing careers. We find ourselves saying things like, “I just don’t know if that school or that job is where God wants me right now.” Eventually, we get so tired of receiving no clear answer, that we just give up and don’t go anywhere.
Second, we get hung up on WHEN. This often happens when we’re about to make a big decision in our lives, like proposing to a girlfriend, or starting a new project like a small group or a company. We find ourselves saying things like, “I’m afraid that it’s just not the Lord’s timing.” And again, we’re so concerned with the right timing, that we eventually miss the opportunity altogether.
Lastly, we get hung up on HOW. This one is perhaps most dangerous because it often happens with our biggest hopes and dreams for the future. We have a dream for what we want our career to look like, or what we want our ministry to look like, but then we get bogged down by doubts saying, ”How could I ever do that?” Pretty soon, those doubts overcome us and we aren’t even able to start.
Now, I’m not saying that God doesn’t call people this way. There are many places in the scriptures where God calls someone and tells them exactly where to go, when to go there, and how to do it. But those are specific callings given to specific people, at a very specific time. I’m not saying that God doesn’t have that type of specific calling for you in your life. But we cannot allow the uncertainty of details distract us from the certainty of God’s commands. We cannot allow the where, the when, or the how, distract us from the most important thing, the WHAT!
What does God want from us?
To answer this question, I want to pull our focus to a few times in scripture where there is an overarching calling given to all of us.
In Micah 6:8, we read:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
In Matthew 22:36-40 when the disciples ask Jesus which is the greatest commandment, Jesus replies
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Now, these are just a few examples. There are many other overarching commands for what God wants us to do that can be found in the scriptures. In fact, feel free to search for some yourself, and share them in the comments below.
What I want us to take notice of, is that these callings aren’t concerned with where or when or how. These callings start with a simple “what?” These commands can be done anywhere at any time. They’re very simple actions we can take every single day.
In fact, I have found that in my life, when I am most committed to these simple “what’s” that God is calling me to do, that is when I receive the most clarity on where, when, and how he wants me to do it.
So today, may you not get hung up on complicating God’s calling for your life.
May you commit to the simple things that God requires of us each and every day.
Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly, love God, and love people.