Heaven is a place of order where angels have definite assignments prepared and given to them by God Himself. However, Lucifer convinced one third of the angels that if they sided with him in the revolt, they could have freedom to do as they pleased. This rebellion caused a war in heaven which resulted in the rebels being thrown out.
God has a definite plan for the life of every person in this world and the sooner that plan is realized the better it will be for all. There is no time to waste by giving half of your life to the devil. Of course, God accepts genuine repentance after years of disobedience, but think of the wasted years and what could have been accomplished by surrendering your whole life from your youth.
In order to be motivated to look and find the Lord’s plan for one’s life, a person has to be convinced that God’s plan is better than any he could develop himself. After all, God knows better than you or me, He made us and knows what we are capable of and has been around much longer. He sees the big picture of what He wants to accomplish and where we fit in His plan.
“Not without a purpose does God send trial to His children. He never leads them otherwise than they would choose to be led if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as workers together with Him. He subjects them to discipline to humble them, to lead them, through trial and affliction, to see their weakness and draw near to Him.” In Heavenly Places, 267. Regarding the mystery of the martyrdom of John the Baptist, a mystery so dark that we cannot comprehend or explain it, Ellen White wrote a similar statement. (See The Desire of Ages, 224.)
After the fall, loyal angels continued to perform their assignments and today our lives are dependent on the faithful completion of those assignments. We are told in The Great Controversy, 512 and 513 that “A guardian angel is appointed to every follower of Christ. These heavenly watchers shield the righteous from the power of the wicked one.” This shield is crucial for our protection from the enemy who would destroy every one of God’s children if he could.
Remember the story of Job. Satan accused him of serving God only because of the protection and benefits Job had received. He knew that God had put a hedge of protection around Job. The same is true of all God’s children.
“Today as in the past, all heaven is watching to see the church develop in the true science of salvation. The Lord Jesus is among men. His angels walk among us unrecognized and unacknowledged. … His angels, thousands upon thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand, are commissioned to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. They guard us against temporal evil and press back the powers of darkness, else we should be destroyed. …
“Every believer who constantly realizes his dependence on God has his appointed angel, sent from heaven to minister to him. The ministry of these angels is especially essential now, for Satan is making his last desperate effort to secure the world.” In Heavenly Places, 101.
What a comfort to know that we are never alone. Ellen White wrote, “I have seen the tender love that God has for His people, and it is very great. I saw angels over the saints with their wings spread about them. Each saint had an attending angel. If the saints wept through discouragement, or were in danger, the angels that ever attended them would fly quickly upward to carry the tidings, and the angels in the city would cease to sing. … But if the saints fixed their eyes upon the prize before them and glorified God by praising Him, then the angels would bear the glad tidings to the city, and the angels in the city would touch their golden harps and sing with a loud voice, ’Alleluia!’ and the heavenly arches would ring with their lovely songs.” Early Writings, 39.
The protection of God’s children by the angels of heaven is real. “His [God’s] angels are appointed to watch over us, and if we put ourselves under their guardianship, then in every time of danger they will be at our right hand. When unconsciously we are in danger of exerting a wrong influence, the angels will be by our side, prompting us to a better course, choosing words for us, and influencing our actions.” My Life Today, 302.
As God’s children we have a right to ask to be under their direction and guardianship. Paul says in Hebrews 1:14, “Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” When in trouble, your guardian angels will choose the words and impress you what to speak. “Today … heavenly messengers are passing through the length and breadth of the land, seeking to comfort the sorrowing, to protect the impenitent, to win the hearts of men to Christ. …
“Angels are ever present where they are most needed. They are with those who have the hardest battles to fight, with those who must battle against inclination and hereditary tendencies, whose home surroundings are the most discouraging.
“Heavenly beings are appointed to do their work of ministry—to guide, guard, and control those who shall be heirs of salvation.” My Life Today, 303.
Again we read, “Every redeemed one will understand the ministry of angels in his own life. The angel who was his guardian from his earliest moment; the angel who watched his steps, and covered his head in the day of peril; the angel who was with him in the valley of the shadow of death; who marked his resting place, who was the first to greet him in the resurrection morning—what will it be to hold converse with him, and to learn the history of divine interposition in the individual life, of heavenly cooperation in every work for humanity?
“All the perplexities of life’s experience will then be made plain. Where to us have appeared only confusion and disappointment, broken purposes and thwarted plans, will be seen a grand, overruling, victorious purpose, a divine harmony.” Ibid., 367.
How exciting to know that one day we will meet the representative of Jesus, the ministering spirit who was assigned to be our constant life companion, the one who has seen all, yet still loves us, encouraged us in our disappointments to remain faithful and then to explain to us every “Why” that has ever perplexed us.
How Can I Find Out God’s Plan for My Life?
When I was a young minister, I was privileged to work with Harold William who was a very godly evangelist. Ellen White visited his father’s home when his father was just a boy and told his parents that God had selected the boy to be a minister. He grew up with this knowledge.
God sometimes will select people to do things when they are very young. Jeremiah 1:4, 5 states: “Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.’ ”
God knew all about what His plan was for Jeremiah before he was born. We do not know how old Jeremiah was before God told him, but in verse 6 it says, “Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
Jeremiah considered himself not old enough and without enough training for the task. But the Lord told him not to think that way. Verses 7 and 8 say, “ ‘You shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord.”
The Bible records the story of Hannah who was barren and desperately wanted to have a child. So, she prayed to the Lord. In 1 Samuel 1:11, it says, “Then she made a vow and said, ‘O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.’ ” He was to live by the Nazarite vow and God heard her prayer. In 1 Samuel 1:20, it says, “So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, ‘Because I have asked for him from the Lord.’ ”
In verse 22, it says, “But Hannah did not go up to the temple, for she said to her husband, ‘I will not go up until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever’ ” (literal translation).
So, when the child had been weaned, about three years old, she brought him to the Lord, and “lent him to the Lord; as long as he should live” (verse 28, literal translation). I think this is one of the youngest children on record who was removed from his parental home while he was still a very young child and dedicated to the Lord.
Samuel is spoken of in the Bible as one of the most illustrious men that has ever lived. God had planned a special work for Samuel.
Before the fall of Lucifer, God had a plan for him. His assignment was to be the covering cherub. God had plans for all of the angels. He had a plan for Jeremiah before he was born and a plan for Samuel. God has a plan for every single person. If you are wise you will want to find out what God’s plan is for you, but how are you going to find it?
Elder William’s father was constantly told by his parents as he was growing up that God had selected him to be a minister. When Elder William got to be a young man, he decided he didn’t want to be a minister. We human beings are a stubborn lot. He was very intelligent and wanted to be a physician. He went to Loma Linda and took a medical course and became a physician. After graduation, before you can actually practice medicine, you are required to take a state board examination to become licensed to practice. So a time was scheduled to take the examination so he could practice in California.
He wasn’t worried about the exam having breezed through medical school with not a problem. However, when the day came that he was to take the state board medical examination, he got such a violent fever that he could not take the exam. That’s crazy, he thought; I am never sick. What’s going on? So he rescheduled. When the day came for that examination he came down with another violent fever preventing him again from taking the test. During this time the Holy Spirit was working on his heart and he knew now without a doubt what the Lord’s plan was for his life work. Eventually he said, OK Lord, I know You want me to be a minister so I’ll be a minister.
With confidence in his career change, he went to the conference officials in a Midwestern state and told them he was convicted that the Lord wanted him to be a minister. They told him to go to a particular city where there was no church and start evangelistic meetings. If he succeeded in raising up a church of a hundred people, he could be the pastor of that church.
The Lord had to take him over some rocky roads because like Jonah, he did not want to know the Lord’s plan for his life. He thought he had more wisdom and better ideas than the Lord had; so, he started out on a different career path. There is nothing wrong with being a physician, but it is wrong if the Lord has other plans for your life.
Genesis 12:1–3 says, “Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ ”
The Lord came to him with a promise and also a test. And that’s always the way it is. In Hebrews 11:8, 9 is his test. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
Abraham could not explain what he was going to do. All he knew was that the Lord had told him to go. Relatives thought he was crazy. After all, who goes on a trip without knowing where they are going? But “By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.”
“Relying upon the divine promise, without the least outward assurance of its fulfillment, he abandoned home and kindred and native land, and went forth, he knew not whither, to follow where God should lead. …
“It was no light test that was thus brought upon Abraham, no small sacrifice that was required of him. There were strong ties to bind him to his country, his kindred, and his home. But he did not hesitate to obey the call. He had no question to ask concerning the land of promise—whether the soil was fertile and the climate healthful; whether the country afforded agreeable surroundings and would afford opportunities for amassing wealth. God has spoken, and His servant must obey; the happiest place on earth for him was the place where God would have him to be.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 126.
That last sentence contains a tremendous secret. If the happiest place on earth for you is the place where God wants you to be, He will make known where that place is.
We are told: “Many are still tested as was Abraham. They do not hear the voice of God speaking directly from the heavens, but He calls them. …” Ibid.
The question is, How does He call them? How can you find God’s plan for your life?
1 “… by the teachings of His word.” Ibid. If your plan is contrary to God’s word you are on the wrong track.
2 “… the events of His providence.” Ibid. These are often events that happen in your life that are unplanned and often unexplained that indicate that God is leading you in a certain direction for His own purpose.
We are told: “They may be required to abandon a career that promises wealth and honor, to leave congenial and profitable associations and separate from kindred, to enter upon what appears to be only a path of self-denial, hardship, and sacrifice.” Ibid., 126, 127.
God’s plan for each life involves His plan for the whole universe. God is winding up the plan of salvation and it will soon be over. “Looking down the ages, He has counted His workers.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 25. Are you one of that number?
God’s plan for your life will have something to do with the finishing of His work because that is what He is doing in this world today. Not all have been called to be a minister. Not all are to be a physician, or a nurse, or a teacher. But whatever your line of work, God’s plan for you will involve something to do with finishing His work.
“He calls them away from human influences and aid, and leads them to feel the need of His help, and to depend on Him alone.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 127.
Abraham is called the father of the faithful.
3 There is a call to be obedient to the light you have. God will only give more light as you put into practice that which you do know. “God has a claim on us and all that we have. His claim is paramount to every other. And in acknowledgment of this claim, he bids us render to him a fixed proportion of all that he gives us. The tithe is this specified portion. By the Lord’s direction it was consecrated to him in the earliest times. The Scriptures mention tithing in connection with the history of Abraham. The father of the faithful paid tithes to Melchisedec, ‘priest of the Most High God’ (Genesis 14:18).” The Signs of the Times, April 1, 1875.
4 To know God’s plan for your life, you must be a faithful Christian in your family. “God judges a man by what he is in his family. Abraham is called the father of the faithful. ‘I know him,’ said the Searcher of hearts, ‘that he will command his children and his household after him’ (Genesis 18:19).” Notebook Leaflets from the Elmshaven Library, vol. 1, 92.
5 Take your position at your post of duty. “To every one of His appointed agencies the Lord sends the message: ‘Take your position at your post of duty, and then stand firm for the right.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 8, 203. Even children have responsibilities and jobs they can do in their homes.
Jesus said, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10). God will not give some great work to the person who is slothful in small duties.
6 All are called to minister to others in some way. “Our Lord teaches that the true object of life is ministry. Christ Himself was a worker, and to all His followers He gives the law of service.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 326.
God’s plan is that we all be workers. “The toiling beast of burden answers the purpose of its creation better than does the indolent man. God is a constant worker. The angels are workers; they are ministers of God to the children of men. Those who look forward to a heaven of inactivity will be disappointed; for the economy of heaven provides no place for the gratification of indolence.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 280.
7 Advance the cause of God by your personal effort and talents. “When a minister who has labored successfully in securing souls to Jesus Christ abandons his sacred work in order to secure temporal gain, he is called an apostate, and he will be held accountable to God for the talents that he has misapplied. When men of business, farmers, mechanics, merchants, lawyers, etc., become members of the church, they become servants of Christ; and although their talents may be entirely different, their responsibility to advance the cause of God by personal effort, and with their means, is no less than that which rests upon the minister. The woe which will fall upon the minister if he preach not the gospel, will just as surely fall upon the businessman, if he, with his different talents, will not be a co-worker with Christ in accomplishing the same results. When this is brought home to the individual, some will say, ‘This is an hard saying’ (John 6:60); nevertheless it is true, although continually contradicted by the practice of men who profess to be followers of Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 468, 469.
8 Consecrate yourselves to God. “All may fill their appointed places in God’s great plan. The Lord accepted Samuel from his very childhood, because his heart was pure. He was given to God, a consecrated offering, and the Lord made him a channel of light.” Now notice the next sentence: “If the youth of today will consecrate themselves as did Samuel, the Lord will accept them and use them in His work.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 537.
9 The Lord’s army consists only of volunteers. No one is drafted or forced in the Lord’s work. Surrender the will to the Lord and He will open opportunities which you never dreamed possible. Humbly fulfill the role that God has chosen for you.
“When men exalt themselves, feeling that they are a necessity for the success of God’s great plan, the Lord causes them to be set aside.” The Desire of Ages, 436.
The proud will be set aside and someone more dedicated, and maybe even less talented, will be fitted for the job.
10 Fill the responsibilities of the present. God uses people in all fields of work. “Let us remember that while the work we have to do may not be our choice, it is to be accepted as God’s choice for us. Whether pleasing or unpleasing, we are to do the duty that lies nearest. …
“If the Lord desires us to bear a message to Nineveh, it will not be as pleasing to Him for us to go to Joppa or to Capernaum. He has reasons for sending us to the place toward which our feet have been directed.” The Ministry of Healing, 472, 473.
Remember, “Our plans are not always God’s plans. He may see that it is best for us and for His cause to refuse our very best intentions, … But of one thing we may be assured, He will bless and use in the advancement of His cause those who sincerely devote themselves and all they have to His glory.” Ibid., 473.
“The voice of duty is the voice of God—an inborn, heaven-sent guide. Whether it be pleasing or unpleasing, we are to do the duty that lies directly in our pathway. …
“It is the little things of life that develop the spirit and determine the character. … Every day a good or bad brick is placed in the structure [of your character]. … Therefore, in looking for great things to do, neglect not the little opportunities that come to you day by day. He who neglects the little things, and yet flatters himself that he is ready to do wonderful things for the Master, is in danger of failing altogether. Life is made up, not of great sacrifices and of wonderful achievements, but of little things.” In Heavenly Places, 226.
In a nutshell, to know and follow more closely God’s plan of life is
- to do our best in the work that lies nearest
- to commit our ways to God
- to watch for the indications of His providence
These are rules that ensure safe guidance in the choice of an occupation. If you follow those rules, your guidance in the choice of an occupation is guaranteed for God will guide you.
(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)
Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at: email@example.com, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.