Myths about God’s Will: Pride and False Humility
by Adam Wittenberg
Most of us want to know God’s will for our lives; it’s part of the Christian walk. But many popular myths surround it—Can we really know it? Is it too hard? Is it prideful to dream big? Must I always deny myself?
In this three part series, we’ll examine popular myths about God’s will, and how to debunk them. Here’s the first one to consider.
If You Want It, Then It Can’t Be God
This is a popular one. Sure, Jesus told us to deny ourselves and follow Him, but this doesn’t mean we’ll never do anything that we naturally like. In fact, Scripture talks about God knitting us together in our mother’s womb, setting us apart from before birth for specific roles, and saving us in Christ for good works prepared in advance for us to do (Psalm 139:13–16; Jeremiah 1:5; Ephesians 2:10).
You are made for a purpose. If you like to sing, maybe you are made to be a worship leader. Perhaps you like numbers and feel a calling to business, accounting, or engineering. Or if meeting new people is your thing, you might consider sales or evangelism—or even both! God gave you those gifts to be used for His glory. It would be sin to hide them or deny their use, unless God gives you specific instructions not to use them, or your immediate season or surroundings prevent it.
Some Christians fear pride so much that they fall into false humility. It’s heard in phrases like this: “I really want to be a figure skater/business person/politician/etc., but that would be prideful, so I’ll deny myself and become a foreign missionary or pastor because surely that’s what God wants.” When we assume our giftings and desires don’t matter and can’t be from God, we might be falling into false humility.
History tells a different story. Both Joseph and Daniel had high positions in “secular” governments, and yet they honored the Lord with their influence. And many Christians have glorified God through their anointing for business, sports, or the arts, drawing attention to Him. We’re each called to use our gifts to bring people to God, not run or hide from what He’s given us (Matthew 5:16).
King David had many gifts: he was a worshiper, a warrior, a king, and a priest. He loved to write and sing songs to the Lord. God eventually had many of those songs recorded in Scripture, in the book of Psalms, and we still use them today. Instead of hiding his gift or thinking it couldn’t be from God because he enjoyed it, David sang boldly, drawing millions of people closer to God.
Yes, there’s a bad extreme where we only do the things we want and never ask God or try to achieve greatness in our own strength (which leads to pride), but the Lord is after partnership. With His hand in yours, and you following Him, He can raise you up as high (or as low) as He wants, shaping nations, or succeeding in business or the arts to glorify Jesus and expand the kingdom.
Don’t discount your dreams, talents, and giftings! Submit them to God and ask His help to walk in partnership with Him. As you “delight yourself also in the Lord . . . He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
Where do you need help in knowing God’s will?
Seven Longings of the Human Heart by Mike Bickle is a classic in its discussion of how the Lord made us and why we long for the things we long for in this life. Pick it up and discover how your design glorifies God and draws you closer to Him.
A Detroit native who was raised in Vermont and Connecticut, Adam worked as a newspaper journalist until 2012, when he moved to Kansas City to complete the Intro to IHOPKC internship. Afterwards, he earned a four-year certificate in House of Prayer Leadership from IHOPU and is now on full-time staff in the Marketing department at IHOPKC. He also serves in the NightWatch (overnight prayer hours) and is active in evangelism. He, and his wife Stephany, have a vision to reach people everywhere with the good news of Jesus Christ.