How to Know God’s Will For Your Career

This morning a girl wrote me that she’s struggling with “how to know God’s will for my career.” I figure she’s not alone, so I’m sharing my response here in hopes that it will help you, too, as you face this daunting decision.

First, a little history.

We’re living in a super unique time. Choices abound. Schooling, military service, full-time ministry, an apprenticeship, an internship, a job directly out of high school . . . these are just a few of your options.

But it wasn’t always like this.

“During Bible times,” Gary Friesen writes in Decision Making and the Will of God, “sons usually took up the occupations of their fathers . . . daughters became wives. Asking a young Israelite if he had discovered God’s will for his life’s work would probably elicit a blank stare.”

Yet somehow we’ve come to believe that we have to discover God’s specific will for exactly where we work.

I just don’t think it works that way.

Scripture shows that God is not concerned with what career you choose (unless, of course, it’s in direct disobedience to His revealed will in Scripture, such as prostitution) as He is about how you work at your career.

As Gary Friesen shares in his book, your work is to be characterized by:

In your relationship with your employer, you:

  • Must be submissive and obedient, as unto the Lord (Eph. 6:5Col. 3:22Titus 2:9; 1 Peter 2:18).
  • Must be diligent in your work, with the idea that your ultimate superior is the Lord (Eph. 6:6–8; Col. 3:23).
  • Must work as hard when no one is watching as you do under direct supervision (Eph. 6:6).
  • Must regard your employer as worthy of all honor (1 Tim. 6:1) and show respect even to those supervisors
    who are unreasonable (1 Peter 2:18).
  • Must not take advantage of an employer who is also a believer, but rather serve him all the more out of love (1 Tim. 6:2).

So can we tweak the question? Rather than asking “What is God’s will for my career?” can we ask “How can I best serve God through my work?”

Don’t fret when you don’t hear a voice from heaven telling you that you should move to Alaska to work in the fishing industry or that you should enroll in Bible college in Chicago. You have great freedom in choosing your work.

Instead, listen to His clear voice through Scripture and learn how to please Him in the way that you work. How can you best serve God with the gifts He has given you?

I’d love to hear from you. Have you been more focused on finding exactly where God wants you to work, or have you been obeying His moral will regarding how you work? What specific step will you commit to take after reading this post to glorify God in the way that you work?

PS: For your chance to win Decision Making and the Will of God, be sure to hop back on the blog for this week’s Freebie Friday!

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York. You can catch all her writing on

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  • Little Csaszar

    thanks Paula this was really helpful. I’ve been struggling to deside what career path that I want to choose. But I have a question. What if we are caught up in the idealism of a dream job that you not only want but every one around you thinks you would be good at. What is the best way to filter out the opinions of wise friends (parents, youth leaders) vs. God’s guiding voice?

    • Dear Little Csaszr,

      That’s great that others are seeing and affirming a God-given gift in you. I’d say pursue it, but with open hands. In my case, God gave me my dream job, but it was ten years in the coming. I had a lot to learn first about humility, servanthood, etc.

      It’s rare that you’ll get your dream job right out of high school. Be patient if it doesn’t happen right away. Trust God and know that a) He doesn’t waste anything, b) He is still writing your story, and c) HE is where it’s at. True contentment is found in Him; not in a dream job.

      So pursue your dream job (as long as you don’t have to sin to do your job) and trust God to open and close doors in His perfect, infinite wisdom.

      Hope that helps,


  • MoonBrightInTheNight

    Wow! I really love this. The first part was a realy eye-opener. I personally feel God has been transforming my work ethic, motivation and passions through serving Him these past couple of years. I am a dream on my heart that I want to pursue for my future career but I have always been rest assured and even from reading this today that it is all about loving God to your utmost daily and getting to know Him more. And where He has placed me so far on my journey to the future that He knows and I don’t know is fun and amazing. He is my life 😀

    • Rebekah

      So true! Thanks for the reminder that it’s all about loving God to my utmost every day and falling deeper in love with him. God bless you and your future girl!!! 🙂

  • Rebekah

    Thank you for that!!! That helped me conform that I need to follow the passion God has placed in my heart. God has given me a huge heart for kids, there is nothing that angers me more than a child who is abused, living with out knowing the name of Jesus, living without knowing that they are loved, and kids who live in poverty. With the passion and burden God has put on my hearts for kids I’M going to pursue nursing and be a Child Champion for kids here all the way around the world. Paula you are right God doesn’t care about your career but he does want you to us the talents he has given you for His glory.

    • Go, Rebekah, go! Please continue to set Rebekah free in every area of life, Lord, and use her to bring freedom to many others.

  • Thanks for this post. I think it’s really reassuring for what I plan to be, a midwife and a missionary. Sometimes I wonder if that’s going to glorify God, being a midwife, but I know that birth is Holy and that those who help with it are doing just as much as anyone else doing God’s work. Thanks again for writing this!

    • Dear Indwen, If your work is done in dependence on God and faith in Christ, any job can bring Him glory–even washing dishes. You go, girl!

  • Diana

    Wow …I really appreciated your beliefs on this,Paula! Thank you! Also thanks for sharing those thoughts from Gary Friesen. I’ve been struggling with letting go of my dream -ministering to orphans,-and choosing to let God decide when or even if, He desires that to be my future work. I want to, joyfully, fulfill the work He’s laid in front of me right now…serving my family by washing dishes, cleaning the house, helping homeschool my younger siblings, etc… But it’s been hard.

    Thanks for pressing us into HIM and HIS will for us.

    • Dear Diana,

      If He does grant your dream of ministering to orphans (which wouldn’t surprise me in the least, knowing Him), you will need experience washing dishes, cleaning the house, homeschooling. He will not waste any of this. 🙂

      • Diana

        Thank you for the reminder that He will not waste these things! 🙂

  • Julia

    This was really helpful in knowing how I should reply to people who doubt my choice. I would like the be a police officer, and many people have expressed doubts and such. But God has given me a passion for defending the helpless and seeking justice. And I believe my compassionate spirit he has given me will aid me in this.
    Thank you so much for the wisdom and insight!

    • You bet, Julia. And Lord, show Julia “small” ways she can defend the helpless and seek justice today, right where she is. Thank You that You are a God of justice and compassion.

  • Talya

    Wow! Thank you so much for this post! Even though choosing a career is a long way away I still have been recently pondering this and praying for wisdom! This is so helpful because I thought that there was something I had to do! This really is an answer to prayers!

  • Gloria

    I’m not too sure I agree with this post. Firstly, the lord is concerned about every little detail of our lives. Everything. We have to remember that he formed us and all our days on this earth, he knows and has ordained. So I strongly believe that we should be allowed to ask God what his will for every facet of our lives sh be…including our careers. There are certain places that God has ordained for certain people. That’s all I have to say… There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking God’s will for our careers and then asking him to teach us how to work in the career he’s ordained for us

    • Dear Gloria,

      I think we’re talking about two different things. Yes, God knows what every day holds for us–that’s His sovereign will.

      It’s important to clarify what will of God we’re talking about: there’s God’s sovereign will, and there’s His moral will (His commands revealed in Scripture), and then some also believe they have to discover His personal, individual will for every decision they make. I’m not convinced that the later “will” exists.

      Absolutely we should pray for wisdom; I just don’t think we have to wait until God somehow tells us what He wants for every non-moral decision such as what to wear, what to have for lunch, and even what career to choose. Yes, He is sovereign, and He can close and open doors as we move forward in the freedom He has given us.

      I hope that helps clear things up a little,


      • Gloria

        Thank you very much for clarifying. I was just very confused as to how one can claim to believe in God, but doesn’t believe that God has their lives planned out already. Thank you

  • Pamelah

    This is a great post & I appreciate this discussion as it’s cause to analyze whether I’ve even considered if what I’m doing is God’s will. What I struggle with most is when to stay in a job/career and when to leave? When do you know you are supposed to leave due to bosses, coworkers, environments that simply cause more challenges in your life? I think that I ask this question because I’ve quit a number of jobs, feeling that I was stumbling in my attitudes & choices or ungodliness around me, but I don’t feel that I’ve really grown or succeeded in doing this. I simply have a track record of leaving jobs. So this makes me think hard. Thank you for the Scriptures describing what is important in terms of HOW we serve rather than where unless specifically addressed in the Bible.

    • Wow. Great question, Pamelah. I would encourage you to be praying about this and to actively seek wisdom/counsel from the elders in your church (or other wise, godly friends). Share openly with them about your past and ask God to help you be open to their input. May He help you!

  • Ruby Bartle

    Thank you for the post Paula !! One of the biggest sins in my life is worry and this is one of my top worries! I have looked at those Bible verses and they have given me peace. I will pray that God uses me as a instrument for his work.

  • Amber

    I do not completely agree with this post. I do believe that it is important to consider how you can serve God in your desired career, but I also believe that God has a job picked out for everyone of us. He gives us specific passions and talents that go along with certain careers. Although it is important to consider how we can serve God in the field we choose, I still believe we need to pray and seek God’s direction to know that that is where He wants us. If we pray and ask God to show us the career path he wants us to choose, He will shape our personalities, reveal to us our strengths, and confirm in our hearts that that is what He wants us to be.

    • Hey, Amber,

      I totally agree that we should ask God to lead us. Absolutely. I just don’t think God desires for us to sit back and do nothing until we receive enough “signs” from Him. As we pray for wisdom, He promises to give it to us, and we can move forward in pursuing a job and working at it with all our hearts as unto Him.

      Thanks for joining in the discussion!


  • Maggie Fipps

    Thanks Paula! My pastor was recently talking about this last Sunday and said that if you want to know God’s will for your life in regard to the “big questions” as in career or marriage, he said you need to follow God’s written will in the Bible, and then God will reveal to you his will. Also I heard another preacher say that God will steer you in the right direction, as long as you are moving in his will. Thanks for the post!

  • Faith

    Thanks you for this, Paula! I really want to go into youth ministry (possibly in the church depending on how I could do that), and inner city missions is a passion of mine. My heart is in the midst of cities, working with families with histories/struggles of abuse, addiction, etc. and working with kids who haven’t grown up to know Jesus. I’ve told people before that “my heart is in ‘the hood'” and most think it’s silly, but I love it. I’ve worked with inner city missions before and I loved every minute of it. So, my passion is basically inner city/church youth min. 🙂 I loved this post!

  • MonicaG

    Thank you! This helps me feel a little bit more comfortable in thinking about going through with a decision in my education. I have been in college for two years, but I am considering transferring to another school in a different state that is tuition free and offers courses for particular paths as far as missions, youth ministry, psychology and family studies, and such. I feel like this would be a good opportunity for me to grow closer to God and to follow my dream of sharing God’s love with others.

  • Alis Peña

    Thank you so much, Paula! I don’t know what career I should study at college according to God’s will and perfect timing, so it makes me too difficult to decide and I’m still praying for that. I still believe that God is still working on my future so I can wait a little bit until before I graduate from school next year. I feel He would give me a chance to study a great career at a great university, and a great job. As long as God will direct my life in the right direction, He will reveal to me His will for my career I will study in college at the end of the year on December. Thank you for this post! God bless you from the Dominican Republic 🙂

  • Tiana

    I’m 13, and from time I was about 5 till the time I was 10 or so, I felt God telling me that I’m supposed to be a missionary. He gave me a scripture and everything (Acts 1:8). But He really didn’t clarify. Am I supposed to go on a missions trip? Or be a full time missionary? The thing is, I really REALLY want to be a pediatrician. I already know what college I’m going to, and everything. But I feel really guilty about wanting to be a pediatrician when God told me to be a missionary. I’m homeschooled and my mom said that I’m really smart and that I could graduate college early. So I don’t have many years left to figure oiut what I’m going to so. Any advice on the subject would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Tiana

    • Dear Tiana,

      Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?

      What makes you want to be a pediatrician?
      What is motivating you?
      Do others think you would be good at this?
      Is there any reason you couldn’t be on mission for God while you are working as a pediatrician?

      Missionaries come in all shapes and sizes. And ALL of us who have been saved by God are called to be “on mission” for Him as we go about our ordinary, everyday lives.

      Re. what you felt as a little girl, here’s what I can tell you. God does not speak audibly. God speaks through His Word. The verse you read in Acts 1:8 was written for a specific purpose at a specific time to a specific people who were dealing with specific issues. Do you know what these specifics were?

      The key to good Bible study (and therefore to “hearing” from God) is to first seek to understand the author’s original intent in writing to his original audience. After that, you can begin to see how it applies to you. But I would caution you against reading a verse and instantly receiving it as a “word” from God without first seeking to understand the original context.

      I hope this helps in some way,


      • Tiana

        Hey Paula, thanks fo replying to my post. Answers to the questions you asked: I want to be a pediatrician because I really love helping people, and I love kids.
        What’s motivating me is the fact that being a pediatrician has always kinda been in the back of my mind, and I really wanna work hard to accomplish my dream.
        Do other people ink I would be goods at this? Yes. My mom, best friend, and one of my old teachers at church.
        And I think that i could tell others about God while I’m a pediatrician, especially since its my plan to open my own clinic.

        • Personally, Tiana, I don’t see any problem with heading in that direction as long as you continue to seek God first and seek to glorify Him in all you do. He is big enough to shut that door if He wants to.

          • Tiana

            Thanks so much Paula. And you’re right. If God doesn’t want it to happen, then He will make sure it doesn’t. And If I keep my heart pollen to Him, then He will show me the path to take.

  • Laura

    So I have been struggling with my future career FOREVER! It started out as something in the medical field, for I have always loved hospitals for some reason. I was set on neonatology, until I was introduced to the law enforcement type of side. Growing up in a military family, I’ve always felt proud toward serving our country in some way, and then there is how I got the idea of entering the military or government organization.
    Currently, I can’t make up my mind. I had prayed to God months ago and I HEARD HIM say “I want you to enter the medical field…” and I was set then. Now I’m just back to doubting, and don’t know if He still wants me to do that, you know? He’s also given me a ‘gift’ of writing (I’ve been writing since I was little), so I don’t really want to throw that away either…
    It’s all a mess! I would include more details but I don’t want to write a novel on here haha. Anything will help(: I’m glad this place exists and that there are more people like me on here.

    • Did you know that careers in medical and military are not mutually exclusive? Many medical personnel actually get their medical training while serving in the military. We encourage you to keep an open dialogue going with your parents or at least someone who knows you well. Get their input. Where do they see your gifts and interest? What field could they see you in? What are the pros and cons for a woman in the military and/or a medical field? They may have some ideas that you haven’t even considered, so be open to hearing their thoughts. We have paused and prayed for you today asking God to give you clear direction in His timing and in His way.