How to Make Life Decisions as a Young Christian

Back in my day as a teen in the 80s and 90s, the evangelical church’s one-liner was, “God loves you, and He has a wonderful plan for your life.” There is certainly truth in this statement; however, this eventually evolved into a heresy that made its way into the farthest corners of Christendom.

It is dangerous to assume that God is waiting to uncover a specific plan for your life, with specific ends, and specific destinations, and specific roles for you to play along the way. That was the message I was given as a young person. I was told that if I just sought God long and hard enough, He would either reveal His plan to me, or I would be so close to Him that I would just naturally walk in it. The problem is, I was always questioning whether I had heard from God about His plan for me or whether I was close enough to Him to be living it out. What that led to what just a lot of frustration and indecision; ultimately, it led to some poor personal decisions.

I don’t think I’m alone in this. My generation was inundated with this idea with countless citations of Jeremiah 29:11. Notice in this verse how general the blessing is: “…to give you a future and a hope” (NASB). God knows the plans He has for us, but that is likely as specific as He is going to be when revealing that plan to us (i.e., “It’s good, okay?”).

So what should young people do if not pine away year after year striving to hear from God what He wants them to do with their lives and who he wants them to marry and where to live and where to go to college and (ad infinitum)? Simply know that God loves them, that He wants good things for them, and to make good, sound plans with the minds (rationality) and hearts (desires) He has given them. They are sufficient for life direction.

That being said, God is ultimately still in control: “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (NASB). The point is, you can trust God to work out your best laid plans to His glory and your benefit if you are submitted to Him. So why not go ahead and make those plans and see what happens? It sure is better than waiting to hear about specific instructions that never come and second-guessing every choice along the journey. He’ll take care of the details; just do your best to plot out a wonderful life.