This is Part 2 of “How Can I Know What God’s Will Is for My Life?” In this article we’ll look at this question as it pertains to career moves and transitions.
Before we ask, “what is God’s will for my life?” in any area, first we need to consider what is God’s will overall? This begins with being reconciled to God by accepting his gift of life through the payment Christ made on the cross.
God’s Will in the Workplace
The next step is to allow God to define your priorities as defined by Christ and the apostles, including the workplace. Have you submitted your career to God, including how you do your job? Do you ask God every day for his leadership and power to do your job while depending on him? There are several excellent teachings on this topic in our Study Center and on the Web.
Gary DeLashmutt taught on this topic from Colossians 3:21-4:1. In this teaching, you will learn God wants you to cultivate a respectful heart attitude toward work and your employer, and to do excellent work, as if you were reporting directly to God as your boss.
This means being willing to do what you’re asked to do. It also means not grumbling or disputing (Philippians 2:14), or working just when someone’s watching you. It means coming to work with a servant attitude toward not only your boss, but also toward your coworkers (including those not in your department), your customers, your suppliers, and your subordinates. By doing these things, you honor God as an exemplary employee.
As any diligent Christian manager in a secular business may come to know, it is dismaying when Christians earned the reputation of slackers. They can be eager to have others see them reading their Bibles in the workplace, or coming late or leaving early in the name of ministry... but sadly it is at the expense of the jobs they were supposed to be doing! If you are being paid for 40 hours of work, it’s wrong and also detrimental to the name of Christ to not give your company their money’s worth.
God’s Will in Career Choices
Career choices usually are not a moral issue, meaning we have a lot of freedom to follow our own judgment and consciences in making these decisions. And most of the time, these choices are not black and white.
When you go through career moves, God can teach you first-hand about applying key biblical principles, learned from personal experiences that we can then share with others. Some principles that may be helpful follow.
“Grow spiritually where you’re planted.” This is a general default guideline the apostle Paul gave to people who were restless in the church of Corinth. Especially if you are growing spiritually where you are, be wary of temptations to move away geographically.
Satan and the world system always promise more money and power somewhere else to try and lure a growing Christian away from where they are making an impact. Don’t fall into this trap! Have you prioritized your ministry and God’s will above your career?
If you work for a business that actively promotes immoral activity or unethical business practices, consider making a change for conscience sake. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should only work for a Christian business.
Don’t run away from problems where you have unfinished business such as a conflict to resolve or a challenge that appears too tough. God twice shut the door on my making a career change until I dealt with spiritual character issues he had his finger on in the workplace.
The workplace is a fantastic arena for developing our character and spiritual maturity.
Pray about your opportunity and ask God for wisdom with a willing heart to do what he shows you. Do you get the sense you’re bucking against his leading?
Are there signs suggesting you’re forcing or manipulating a situation versus moving toward an open door? If you’re married, are you and your spouse on the same page after you’ve prayed about it?
Consult mature Christians who know you well enough to ask you questions, pray with you and help you lean against your tendencies. For example, one extreme is to lunge ahead; the other extreme is to never take a calculated risk.
Your home group leaders can be a valuable resource. My home group leaders gave me some useful tools for walking through my decision, without trying to make the decision for me.
Finally, if you have an opportunity to improve your situation, and you’ve considered these principles without finding any red flags, go ahead and make the move (1 Corinthians 7:17-24; James 4:13-15).