"I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go."
- Isaiah 48:17 NIV
I was having a heart- to-heart talk with one of my sons recently, and I was encouraging him to not only pray for God's will for his life and circumstances, but to pray for God's absolute best. I told him how years ago, the Lord began dealing with me in this area, and challenging me to become all that He created me to be, and to accomplish all that He called me to do. I began thinking about how different my life would be today, if I hadn't made the decision to passionately pursue God's best in every area of my life. Perhaps I'd be working in a travel agency, like I did so many years ago. I might have been content doing that, to some extent, although I know in my heart that I'd never feel fulfilled--not because there's anything wrong with working in a travel agency, but because I know now that it wasn't God's best for me. And I shudder to think about all the lives I would have missed out on touching, if I settled for less than the Lord's best for my life.
The Bible makes it clear that our God earnestly desires to help us receive His best for our lives. But it also reveals that there are some things we need to do to cooperate with Him in this process. First and foremost, we need to have a sincere reverence for God, His Word, and His ways. Psalm 25:12 (TLB) says: "Where is the man who fears the Lord? God will teach him how to choose the best." As we humble ourselves before the Lord on a daily basis, seeking His will in every situation and circumstance, He will teach us to choose His best every time. Keeping an open and obedient heart when we pray for God's best is absolutely essential. Isaiah 1:19-20 (NIV) says: "'If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.' For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Having a rebellious spirit will not only keep us from God's best, but it will ultimately destroy us. We don't have to look very far to see the evidence of this problem all around us, even among Christians. Jesus wants, not only to be our personal Savior so that we can go to heaven when we die, but He desires to be the Lord of every area of our lives while we are here on this earth. One reason for that is because He wants us to receive His absolute best in this life, as well as in the next. Some Christians doubt that there is a "best pathway" for each of our lives, but Scripture reveals that there is. Psalm 32:8-9 (NLT) says: "The Lord says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.'" Very often, those who resist the idea that God has a unique, specific plan for their lives have a problem with pride. Their refusal to submit to God's control dooms them to look back on their lives in later years with painful regret over what might have been. Last, but not least, we need to maintain a worshipful attitude throughout the day, every day. Psalm 34:9 (MSG) says: "Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all His goodness."
I encourage you to seek the Lord about how you can pray for His best in every situation, as well as in every area of your life. I like to put some of the Scriptures I just mentioned in prayer form: "Lord, make me willing and obedient that I may eat the best from the land." And I also use other verses to petition God for His best: "Lord, I pray that no matter what I plan, no matter what anyone else plans for me, that You will direct my steps and make them sure, and that Your highest purposes will prevail in every area of my life, and in every matter that concerns me." (Proverbs 16:9, Proverbs 19:21) I also ask God to guide me by praying: "Lord, shut against me every door that it's not Your perfect will and pleasure for me to enter, and open wide before me every door that it IS Your perfect will and pleasure for me to enter, and help me to enter it at the right time, and in the right way." By praying prayers like these with sincerity, I am submitting myself to the Lord's will, and showing Him that I really do want His best for my life. I don't believe that I would have a ministry that touches the lives of thousands of people on a regular basis today, if it weren't for my passionate pursuit of God's highest and best. Ask yourself today, "Just how much will I miss out on in this life, if I fail to pray and believe God for His best?"
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to desire and pursue Your best for me in every area of my life. Remind me that You don't expect perfection, but only cooperation. Thank You that as I refuse to settle for less than Your best, You will guide me and guarantee my success!
- J. M. Farro