Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
What Does God Want Me To Do?!
Have you ever asked the question, "What's God's will for my life?" or "What does God want me to do with my life?" Or have you ever wondered what the purpose of your life is or how you can serve God? I've asked that question loads!
Is there an answer? Well, that depends...!
Sometimes, God will tell you what to do exactly. Some people know that they want to be a lawyer, others may want to teach or work with young people, or maybe someone wants to work to help people who have been trafficked for slavery.
If God wants you to do something special, he knows where you are and knows how to find you! And if he has a special task for you, he will make it clear to you.
First of all, the Bible - you may read Bible verses about something (whatever you think God is asking you to do must line up with the nature of God and truths about God in the Bible) or maybe opportunities open up. Other people may suggest something to you that you've already been thinking about. Or they may have a prophecy or hear a song, or many Christians even have a dream or a vision (this is like when you 'see' something in your head that is very real). Just remember that God won't ask you to do anything that is against his nature or against the Bible (he won't tell you to do wrong things!)
And if people say God doesn't speak to us today or through things like dreams, then they're wrong - tell them to read their Bible properly! And then tell them they'd better tell that to the millions of people across the world (especially ex-Muslims) who have become Christians through seeing Jesus in a dream or vision!
Most of the time, God gives us loads of freedom and leads us according to what we like and what we are good at. So for example, "does God want me to be in the worship band?" A good place to start is: "Am I good at music?!" If you're not, then maybe help with the words or in setting up. But if you're good at music, love worship songs, then yes it's probably God's will for you to be in the worship team. As importantly, ask yourself: "Do I want to be in the worship team?" If you do then it's a good sign that it's God's will for you to be in the worship team!
Other times, God will give you the freedom. So, for example, you are thinking about which University to go to... Say for example that you have been offered a place at Guildford, Leeds or Cumbria. Which one will you choose? Well, after praying that God helps you, check out the courses; ask other people; go to the Uni and get a feel for it; ask your friends, family, youth leader etc. Ask yourself if you want to live in the south-east, or in a lively city like Leeds or whether you prefer the more rural countryside and mountains of Cumbria. Then apply for which one you want! If they all offer you a place, choose which one is best. If you can't decide, pray again and then just pick one! Ask God to open the right door and if your choice is wrong, to close any wrong doors. But God will often leave the choice to you!
God also has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29.11), wants us to prosper (3 John 1.2 - this isn't about having loads of money!) God wants us to be pure, holy, to run from sin, to be lights that shine and salt that flavours and challenges people's spiritual taste buds!
So what's Revelation 22 all about?!
Aha! You see, God often has a specific will for us. But as a Christian, there are plenty of things that are God's will for us - like loving God and loving others (Luke 10.27), caring for people, giving and being generous, making a difference, standing up against injustice, speaking the truth in love.
If you live in a street of just 50 people, you could spend the rest of your life helping and showing God's love to them. I know of a couple of people who are retired, who do just this and make a huge difference in their neighbourhood (running community days or just visiting people, sending them cards etc).
This is God's will for you as well. He calls us to be a light and to shine. He wants us to be so full of him and his love that it just spills out everywhere we go! And unlike a bucket of water that you run with that spills, the more you give out, the more God pours more 'water' back into you!
Revelation 22 is about the new heaven and the new earth that God will create for his people at the end of time. But we're going to use Revelation 22 to look at the kinds of things God calls us to do now...
1. There is a river of the water of life, clear as crystal and flowing down the street.
There's a song called "I've Got A River Of Life" which Cory Asbury did a remix of when he was at IHOP. The song says that we've got God's river of life in us and flowing out of us. And this is God's will for us - to be like a river of life that is pure and flows to all the people around us. This means we bring God's love, hope, healing, peace and life by living, speaking, doing Godly things.
2. There are trees which have fruit and bring their fruit every month.
In the same way, God has put his 'fruit' inside us. An apple tree produces apples. An orange tree produces oranges. A Christian should produce God fruit - like love, joy, peace, making a difference.
3. The leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations.
Back in Genesis 12.1-2, God told Abraham to leave his country and promised that he would be a blessing to all the nations of the earth. The same is true of God's church - of you and me. God has called us to be a blessing to all the nations of the earth. This may mean supporting missionaries or ministries in other countries. It could mean going on a missions trip. It may mean staying in your town or city and making a difference! But your life is like a 'leaf' that will help heal people emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Pray for people all around you. In Britain, there are loads of different nationalities everywhere. You can be a blessing to people in your community by showing God's love and speaking his truth.
4. Always remember that God shines through you and sees what you do
A few times when I've been speaking to people, they've looked and it's like they can 'see' something in you that makes them feel better and feel alive. Believe me, it's nothing to do with me! Instead it's the Holy Spirit in me. God is life and he is light! This should be why our churches shouldn't be the old boring, dull, pointless things that too many are! Instead, we should be full of life and light and passion and joy and love and care and support and people fired up for God and longing to bring God's light to transform an upside down world.
If your church isn't like this, start praying, start asking why, start showing people what this looks like - or go somewhere that is full of life!
And remember that God sees what you do. He is always watching you, always got your back. He's saved you from more than you can imagine and has better plans for your life than you can believe. He'll be there in the hard times, he'll be there in the good times. And he's got a plan, a purpose and a place in heaven just for you!