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God’s Intended Plan: Help Teens Find True Purpose for Their Lives

God's intended plan

Teenagers want to know God’s intended plan for their lives. That’s a key part of spiritual searching. Read and share these helpful insights about knowing God’s will and purpose.

I became a Christian as a teenager. Back then, I was consumed with the question, “What does God want from me?” Because I had people-pleasing tendencies, that was a huge concern.

First, God opened my spiritual eyes to the truth that He is a personal being with authority in my life. Then the next logical question was: How do I make God happy? But I quickly became confused about seeking the answer, because I assumed God had one plan. One purpose. One use for me. My mission was to seek out God’s will and do it.

I also assumed I would know God’s will by having this absolute confidence. I thought that’s what people were describing when they said, “I have peace about this decision.” The “peace” seemed to indicate they had rejected all other possibilities and locked their eyes and heart onto only one possible course of action. (That was true whether it was about dating, finances, educational decisions, etc.)

What I later found out is a freeing and sometimes scary reality. God doesn’t have a plan.

God’s Will Is Actually Three Wills

If you’re a youth leader, then expect a teen to ask, “What does God want me to do?” Here’s where you have the awesome, gut-wrenching responsibility to walk with kids. Teach them that God doesn’t have a single plan for their life.

Will is a desire, purpose or determination, especially of one in authority. We typically say God’s plan or purpose instead of God’s will. Whatever you call it, confusion exists among Christians about what we’re actually talking about when we talk about God’s will.

Pastor Leslie Weatherhead provides a clear description of God’s will. He divides it into three concepts:

  • The intentional will of God—God’s ideal plan for humans
  • The circumstantial will of God—God’s plan within certain circumstances
  • And the ultimate will of God—God’s final realization of his purposes

Let’s take a deeper look at these. We’ll see how each relates to teens seeking God’s intended plan for their life.

To dig deeper into each concept, we’ll reflect on God’s will as it relates to Jesus. Then we’ll apply it to the practice of spiritual direction with teens.

Three Parts of God’s Intended Plan for Our Lives

1. Intentional Will

Weatherhead writes: It was not the intentional will of God, surely, that Jesus should be crucified, but that he should be followed. If the nation had understood and received his message, repented of its sins and realized his kingdom, the history of the world would have been very different. Those who say that the Crucifixion was the will of God should remember that it was the will of evil men. (The Will of God; Chapter 2)