So the end of the matter is this: Live for God. Obey the Scriptures. Think of others before yourself. Be holy. Love Jesus. And as you do these things, do whatever else you like, with whomever you like, wherever you like, and you’ll be walking in the will of God.
Occasionally I like to read through the whole book of Ecclesiastes in one sitting. At first it’s pretty depressing as you read about how everything we do is all in vain, but at the very end of the book, the author brings it all around and leaves the reader with a very simple and somewhat inspiring (depending how you look at it) message. In Ecclesiastes I believe I have found an answer to the age old question of finding God’s will for our lives.
Life is pointless.
Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.
All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.
All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be
among those who come after.
(Ecclesiastes 1:2–11 ESV)
Your life situation is not unique.
Did you see that part in the previous passage where it says “there’s nothing new under the sun?” So often we like to think we’ve got a problem that no one else can relate to. The truth is, all problems can be categorized and boil down to a few things. Stop thinking your problem is this huge thing that can’t be solved. When you think your problem is unique, we tend to downplay the advice we receive, even of those who are much older and wiser.
The first step in finding God’s will is recognizing that His will is simple and so is your problem (in one sense). Don’t over think.
Do whatever you love.
So everything is pointless and nothing we do is new. We just keep reinventing the wheel and think we’re doing something novel when in reality we’re not. So, the author boils his conclusion of life down to this.
I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. (Ecc 3:12–13)
The author continues to say this:
There is a vanity that takes place on earth, that there are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous. I said that this also is vanity. (Ecc 8:14)
Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. (Ecc 11:9)
Basically it’s knocking the idea of karma. Good people sometimes suffer what we think bad people deserve and sometimes bad people enjoy the benefits that we think are befitting of good people. Therefore, the second quotes concludes that the whole matter is vanity and therefore we should just do whatever we enjoy doing. Whether it’s morally good or bad, it doesn’t humanly matter.
You will be held accountable.
Christians might freak a little bit at the thought the Bible would tell us we can do whatever we want. Don’t get too hung up on that. The point is that it’s all vanity. In reality, the author says in the very last sentence of the book, “For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Here on earth, what you do doesn’t hold much weight, but that’s not to say it doesn’t count for something in eternity.
The bottom line is to fear God and keep His commandments.
“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” That’s it, that’s all there is to say. You can share your story with me and make out your life situation to be as complex as you think it is, but my response will always conclude the same way. Are you fearing God and keeping his commandments?
What are the commandments?
Let me generally list off the commandments for our life.
- Live/pursue a life that mirrors God’s holiness (Look at Exodus 20 and Galatians 5)
- Be involved and actively serving in a local body of believers. (Hebrews 10:25)
- Evangelize and disciple people around you. (Matt 28:19)
Bringing it all together.
As an example, you may question if cosmetology is something you can justify doing as a Christian for a living and how that fits into God’s plan. Well, my first question is if you ‘re actively being faithful in keeping the 3 commandments above? If you are and your desire to do whatever it may be isn’t sinful, then that’s all I want to know. In fact, I encourage people to be interior designers or cosmetologist (often thought of as vain occupations when in reality everything is vain) because you have an opportunity to relate and therefore minister to other people in those occupations whereas it may not be as easy for me.
Fear God, keep his commandments, and do whatever you desire. This is the chief end of man. You don’t need a writing on the wall. God has given us the liberty to do what we love and it doesn’t have to be directly spiritual, we just have to be intentionally spiritual wherever we are, doing whatever we’re doing.