Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Vocation

What Is the Will of the Lord?

‘Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is’ (Ephesians 5.17)

Paul is not messing around when he speaks to the Ephesians. They are to know that ‘the days are evil’; in other words, time is short. Once they realize that, there is only one appropriate response: Figure out what really matters.

That’s why Paul says, ‘Understand what the will of the Lord is.’ Because, really, there’s not a lot of time to mess around with things that don’t matter.

But can we talk about ‘the will of the Lord’ for a minute? Because typically in North American evangelical contexts, we refer to ‘the will of God’ like it’s some existential, mystical path for our lives that we need to discover. It’s behind door number three… or two… whichever I choose, I just hope I get to ‘live in God’s will.’

We think it has something to do with what job we take, where we buy a house, whom we marry; this determines if we’re ‘in God’s will.’ Sometimes we talk about it like it’s a secret for unlocking the good life where there is nothing but ease and blessing, as if it’s some kind of fortune-cookie sweet-spot with the Divine.

But do you know what Paul is getting at by the phrase ‘the will of the Lord’ here? He’s talked about it earlier in the letter. In the working of his plan to forgive sinners, through the redemption of Christ, he has made ‘known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth‘ (Ephesians 1:9-10).

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What if God Blessed You?

One of the many questions Christians face (especially young Christians) is, ‘What career path should I take?’ Or, ‘What kind of work should I get into?’

There are lots of good ways to think about that and lots has already been written. One of the more helpful thoughts is an old one from St Augustine: ‘Love God and do as you please.’ Surely, if true love for God is the root, he argues, whatever comes as fruit cannot be evil.

There is one more consideration, however, that I think should be a part of the conversation. And it is this: What if God really blessed your work?

I mean, what if God actually did abundantly beyond what you could ask or imagine and your work prospered wildly? If everything you started finished well and everything attempted was successful, what would it look like?

If God blessed your labour beyond your wildest dreams with fruit a hundredfold, what would be the benefit to the world? What would the blessing be? Would the world be better off? How so?

As God’s children, we’re called to be his agents of blessing. We’re called to be salt and light. We should be leaving the world a better place than we found it. So why not let that be part of the conversation when we’re considering our career choice?

If we are going to be doing something five days a week (or more!) for the rest of our lives, why not at least ask if the end result we’re labouring for actually blesses God’s world?

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