What is God’s Will for You?

by | Feb 3, 2023

What is God’s will for your life? The Lord has told us some amazing things: He wills our happiness. He wills our salvation. He wills eternal life for us. He wills to bring us back to the Father’s house. He wills to open the gates of paradise for us. He wills to help us get there. He gives us clear indications of how we can conduct ourselves on our way before we’re there, where there’s still suffering, pain, mistakes, failure, sin, confusion, opposition, hostility, challenges, and tests.

Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing” (Lk 12:22-24). Then He talks about how God cares so deeply about human life and for things of much less significance than human life. Jesus continues, “If God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O men of little faith!” (Lk 12:28)

The Lord wants us to have faith in his care for us. He says, do not seek what you are to eat or drink—don’t make it the center of your life—nor be of anxious mind (Lk 12:29). “For all the nations of the world always seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them” (Lk 12:30). God knows what we need in this life to fulfill the purpose for which He created us and to bring us home for salvation. “Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well” (Lk 12:31). There is a condition here: Put the first things first. Seek first the kingdom of God and these other things that you need for life—not just the physical needs but the spiritual needs, including everything we need to persevere on the way to salvation—will be provided by God the Father. The next passage says, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:32). The Lord wants to give us the kingdom. The Lord is going to give us everything we need to pass the necessary tests and trials of life.

Let’s look at another important text from Philippians 4:4-7: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance”—your trust, your patience, your faith. “The Lord is at hand”—He’s very near to us. “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This is a clear command: Rejoice. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. The peace of God will keep you in Christ Jesus. You’ll have peace of heart and clarity of mind.

Notice how Saint Paul says to make all your needs known to God with prayer and supplications, and how he connects this with not having any anxiety. How do we not have any anxiety? We bring our needs to the Lord. We remember that He cares about us and only lets those things happen in our lives that He has a plan to bring good out of. This is not just about big events in the world or church; this is about our own lives. It’s normal for anxiety to rise up in our hearts at different times, but the Lord gives us clear direction about what to do about it: Bring it to Him with thanksgiving.

This is important: We not only have needs that we bring to the Lord; we have an amazing number of things for which to be thankful. Thank You, God, for creating me. Thank You for holy baptism. Thank You for making me your son or daughter. Thank You that I belong to you—that I’m not an orphan, that I’m not lost, that You’ve found me and I belong to You. Thank You for caring for me amid the pain, challenge, test, illness, sadness, or disappointment. We have so much to be grateful for right now. We are temples of the Holy Spirit. God is dwelling in us right now. We are being changed a little bit at a time, getting ready to see the Lord face-to-face.

First Thessalonians 4:3 contains another clear statement about God’s will for us:

“This is the will of God, your sanctification.” God wills your holiness and purification. The verse continues, “Abstain from immorality.” It’s particularly talking about sexual immorality—about chastity. The battle for chastity can be a struggle, but it’s clear that in this area, God wills our holiness and chastity according to our state of life. He’s going to give us the grace to accomplish whatever He wills for us. If you’re fighting a battle with purity, don’t give up. Get the help you need. Jesus said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out . . . if your right hand causes to sin, cut it off” (Mt 5:29-30). Jesus is not asking us to literally do those things, but He’s saying to do whatever it takes to get free from serious sin: join a twelve-step group, go to confession, get an accountability partner, stop drinking, avoid hanging out with certain people, put filters on your computer, or cancel certain channels. St. Augustine got free of serious sin through a long struggle, and he is interceding for us. This is God’s will, and we know He’s going to give us the grace for our sanctification and holiness, little by little over the course of a lifetime, in all areas of our lives.

Finally, regardless of what we are praying about—medical treatments, how to talk to our children, fasting, almsgiving, or finances—there is something important to remember. First Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” That’s really clear! Whatever happens regarding those secondary issues we are praying about, this is what we should be doing in the meantime. This is how we keep our heads clear and our hearts at peace amid not knowing certain things right now but trusting that God will help us to know when we need to know. It’s really important that this is what we do in the meantime and that this is what we do all the time: Rejoice! How can we rejoice? We have been saved. We are loved. We are being little-by-little changed into the image of Christ. We are being made ready to see the Lord face to face! Rejoice, because we have been given the gift of eternal life!

Paul tells us to pray always. To pray always, we must pray sometimes. If you don’t have a daily time for personal prayer and meditation on God’s Word, start making one. I sit in my home office and look at an icon of Jesus, and every day I read my Magnificat, just the readings from the daily Mass. Often, the Lord speaks to me through Sacred Scripture and simply by the fact that I am in his presence. All day, we need to remember the Lord. All day, we need to remember He’s at our side. St. Teresa of Avila said Jesus is at our side, and all we have to do is pay attention to Him.

“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thes 5:16-18). This is hard sometimes—what if you have a bad circumstance? All of us have bad circumstances from time to time—give thanks because you’re not alone; give thanks because for those who love God even as imperfectly as we all do, everything works for the good. Even the pain, the suffering, the disappointment, the injustice, the rejection, and the illness—He’s working all that for our good. He’s getting us ready for an eternal weight of glory, and that’s why Scripture says the sorrows and suffering of the present age are not worth comparing to what’s coming to us when Christ Jesus appears.

This is God’s will for you! You may be wondering about any number of things. You may have questions about what to do, but in the meantime, “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thes 5:16-18).

This article is condensed from a YouTube video by Ralph Martin called What is God’s Will for You? It can be viewed here. The article originally appeared in the Renewal Ministries’ February 2023 newsletter.

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About the Author

<a href="https://www.renewalministries.net/author/martinnick/" target="_self">Ralph Martin</a>

Ralph Martin

Ralph Martin is president of Renewal Ministries. He also hosts The Choices We Face, a widely viewed weekly Catholic television and radio program distributed throughout the world. Ralph holds a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (Angelicum) in Rome and is a professor and the director of Graduate Theology Programs in the New Evangelization at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit. He was named by Pope Benedict XVI as a Consultor to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization and was also appointed as a “peritus” to the Synod on the New Evangelization. Ralph is the author of a number of books, the most recent of which are A Church in Crisis: Pathways ForwardThe Fulfillment of All DesireThe Urgency of the New Evangelization, and Will Many Be Saved? He and his wife Anne have six children and nineteen grandchildren and reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


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