(Editor's Note: Today's Guest Writer is Parker Kathleen May, currently a student at Itawamba Community College in North Mississippi. This article was first published in the December/January print edition of The Stand.)
For young people, much time is spent thinking about the jobs that we will have when we become adults. We often start to worry as we consider the choices that we will make regarding our future and the many directions our lives could take. As Christians, we are told to honor Christ and dedicate our whole lives to Him, including the choices we make while pursuing an education. Knowing for sure if the decisions we make are to please God or to please ourselves can be a source of stress. We want to do the right thing but knowing exactly what this is isn’t always easy.
Here are a few things to help you know if you are making a God-honoring choice regarding your field of study.
The first step is to align your desires with God’s desires. One of the most important aspects of being a Christian is maintaining a close relationship with the Lord, and it is necessary for many reasons. One reason is given is Psalm 37:4, which says, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (KJV). When we take the time to search the Scriptures and know God, He rewards us by giving us our desires. Does this mean God is like a genie in a bottle, giving us whatever we want? No. Philippians 2:13 tells us that the longer we dwell in God the more we become Christlike. This means that our desires will align with God’s plan for our lives.
The next step is to pray for discernment when choosing a field of study. Although our desires should be aligned with God’s, we still need to choose the right path. Since choosing what kind of job we want to pursue is an important decision, we need to pray for God’s wisdom. Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” God wants us to communicate with Him, and by praying and reading His Word, we begin to understand the exact direction He wants us to take.
The last step is to cast any worries about the future on Him. Once we know what field we want to study, a whole new set of doubts can appear. Some college students may think their major is not spiritual enough to serve the Lord, or that their future career might not pay enough money. For many people, this line of thinking can be an especially tough hurdle to overcome. Instead of allowing fear to paralyze you, turn your attention to the Lord. Focus on Him and see how He can use your circumstances to strengthen your faith. Remember that when you walk in obedience and work for the glory of God, any honest occupation is spiritual – whether you’re a manual laborer or a minister.
First Peter 5:7 urges every Christian to cast “all your care upon Him; for he careth for you.” God cares for us and does not intend for evil things to happen to us (Jeremiah 29:11). We need to trust in Him. If it seems as if your job will not have enough opportunities, pray and trust that the Lord will provide what you need. If you have a job that doesn’t appear spiritual on the surface, remember that we can use any talents that the Lord gives us to serve Him (Romans 12:16, 1 Peter 4:10).
Choosing a career path can be hard, but if we consult the Lord about it, He will lead us in the right direction. The Lord will never lead us astray.