God wants you to design your life.

That’s a bold statement. But is it too bold? Heretical even?

Let’s try out the opposite claim: God wants you to make major life decisions without thinking them through.

We know that can’t be right. The Bible shouts against the folly of thoughtless decision-making. There’s even a whole book about it (Proverbs).

So let’s take one more crack at it. Maybe the problem is that we’re assuming that we should be making decisions at all. Maybe that’s our pride talking. Surely the most gospel-centered statement is something like this: God doesn’t want you to make decisions about your life. He wants you to receive the life he designed for you.

Sounds orthodox, doesn’t it? Pious, even. We could close the service and take up the offering right there.

But how does it actually work? What does it practically mean to leave everything up to God?

Think of it this way: is there any hint in Scripture that the more gospel-centered your life is, the fewer decisions you make? If that were true, then the godlier you become, the more you resemble a jellyfish or a houseplant or a lamp-post or something else that doesn’t make decisions. It’s hard even to picture what life like that would be. Worse, it doesn’t match up with the model of the godliest people in the Bible, including Jesus himself.

So what is God's plan for this thing called a life plan? How do you follow Jesus and fashion your life in a proactive way?

Becoming gospel-centered doesn’t mean becoming less human, but more human. It doesn’t mean making fewer decisions about your life. It means making more decisions the right way.

God wants to do more than command you as a servant. He wants to raise you as his child. Our Father in heaven is training you and me to make the decisions that he would make if he were in our shoes.

That is gospel-centered life design.

Becoming gospel-centered doesn’t mean becoming less human, but more human. It doesn’t mean making fewer decisions about your life. It means making more decisions in a better way.

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So I’m going to reassert the claim I began with: God wants you to design your life. But I want to add a tag: God wants you to design your life after his dream for you. God's plan for your life plan is simple: it's all about finding your personal calling and aligning it with your daily life, especially your job.

See, God has been dreaming about your life since before he created the world. In fact, he created the world with his dream of you in mind. He has a special assignment for you to do. He intended that the world he made and everything that has ever happened in it would shape the person who is reading this sentence at this very moment. Yes—you read that right.

God’s dream of you is utterly unique. The proof is that you are utterly unique. God’s heart’s desire for you is that you would fully live out all that he made you to be as a one-of-a-kind reflection of his glory. He is so committed to that destiny for you that he sent his Son to die for your sins to put you back on track to get there.

In the end, gospel-centered life design is about learning to be you and do you, with Christ and for Christ.

In the end, gospel-centered life design is about learning to be you and do you, with Christ and for Christ.

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But gospel-centered life design doesn’t come naturally. It is learned behavior, thoughtfully practiced over time.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to introduce you to the 7 Essential Skills of Gospel-Centered Life Design (The Life Design 7). These seven skills guide the work we do at Younique, a training company for the church that Dave Rhodes and I recently started. Our aim to help Christ followers gain break-thru clarity in their personal calling and vocational planning. The mission of Younique is to deliver gospel-centered life design to every believer.

Imagine the opportunity to deliver gospel-centered life design to every person in your church.

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I can’t wait till the next post to get started, so I’m going to show you all seven life design skills right now:

Skill #1 – Engage Your Vocational Vision. Embrace four lifelong practices to maximize your work potential and find your dream job.

Skill #2 –Discover Your One Thing. Sum up a wealth of self-assessments with a clear and concise understanding of your special calling from God.

Skill #3 – Own Your Personal Calling. Live every day from a deep sense of what you were born to do and what drives everything you do.

Skill #4 – Improve Your Whole Life. Take a few simple steps right now toward vitality in all dimensions of life.

Skill #5 –Imagine Your Better Future. Think further ahead to where God is leading you and define your life’s biggest wins.

Skill #6 – Achieve Your Next Goal. Bring laser focus to the most important next step in your life, over and over again.

Skill #7 – Integrate Your Continual Break-Thru. Repeatedly reflect on your progress and reset your priorities using three universal rhythms.

As the New Year kicks off, I'd encourage you to follow this series closely as I shed light on these seven essential skills one at a time. And watch for an upcoming release of a free resource on Skill #1: A free ebook named "Clarity Spiral" (now available!).


Cory Hartman contributed to this article.

Title photo by Sonja Guina on Unsplash

Topics: Date: Dec 21, 2018 Tags:

About Will

Would you like more meaningful progress in your church? 

I want you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, I’ve worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing mega-churches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. I have the privilege of being the founder of Auxano, a church consulting group and Younique, a personal vision and life planning training company for the church. Most people know me from two of several books that I have authored: Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision and Create Movement and God Dreams: 12 Templates for Finding and Focusing Your Church's Future.

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Will Mancini