Choice of Higher Education and Career
The following is a mail I received from a young believer by the name James, asking me to help him to clarify issues related to vital choices he has to make in life as a believer. My reply to him is given below for the benefit of the youth, parents, and leaders of assemblies.
I am about to complete my secondary education and now considering various options for higher studies and a future career. I have many thoughts and desires about this but my parents are putting pressure on me to choose areas of study and career according to their desire. So I am much confused and do not know what to do. Will you please guide me to make the right choice according to God’s will for my life?
Yours in Jesus Christ,
Hello dear James,
Thanks for writing to me about your confusions in making a choice about future studies and career. Please know that you are not the only one who has such confusions. Wherever I go, I find young people who have such concerns. But at the very outset, I want to remind you that our God is not the God of confusion, but of peace and order and He will remove all confusions from the heart of His dear children like you (1 Corinthians 14:33). So be confident in the Lord.
I am glad that you are much concerned about God’s will in your life. It is vital that you make the right choice according to God’s perfect will for you. God’s will is most important in all your choices, but it is not easy to find it out. So you have to be very careful and prayerful. Our God will not forsake those who seek Him (Psalm 9:10). The Bible says that if you are humble and willing to surrender all your interests and desires to God, He will guide you in the way in which you should move (Psalm 25:9). If you have true fear of God in your heart, God will honor it and show you His ways for your life (Psalm 25:12). You are asked by the Bible to delight in the Lord and in His will and He shall give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4-5). When you are truly committed to the Lord, He will give you the ability to develop the right desires and then He will help you to work it out (Philippians 2:13). The Bible also tells us that whatever we do, it should all be done in the name of the Lord Jesus and for the glory of God (Colossians 3:17). I suggest that you may please read and meditate on these passages of the Bible.
As an aspiring disciple of Jesus Christ, you should work on your desires, interest, and abilities which Jesus has given you in life. It will then help you to see the most spiritually relevant choices that are available for you. Your academic achievements at the Secondary school level will also decide for which course you will qualify for admission. At the same time, you need to know that your education and career should be relevant for eternity and not simply for this life. So surrender your desires, interest, and abilities to the Lord and ask Him to work out your admission and career for you. Commit all your desires to the Lord and tell Him that you are ready to accept anything that He would bring your way. God will also work through your situations by closing doors which He would not permit in your life and open doors which are according to His will (Revelation 3:7). But you should be careful not to forcefully open the doors He closes in your case or ignore the doors that He opens for you. Whatever course of study you choose and career you aspire, it should be for the glory of God and for the furtherance of His kingdom.
Please remember that your desire for a course of study may be such that it would help you to love and serve God better. Your career also may be one that would help you to serve God better and will grant enough time to use for His glory.
Let me tell you that you should consider your career as a means the Lord would use to meet your living expenses while you serve Him in some ministry, whether it is done full time or part time. God is not interested in you to be great, prominent and popular in this world, but to be His servant with or without a career. When you choose a career, it should not be one which would hinder you from attending the meetings of the assembly and engage in the ministry of the Lord for which He gives you spiritual gifts. One more thing to remember is that your course of study and career should not be in an area which is forbidden by the Bible for God’s children, especially in services related to alcohol, tobacco, commercial movies, fashion, usury, black marketing, money laundering, politics of the world and in areas like secular humanism. You should not allow the world to make you a slave to a job or a profession, but to Jesus Christ only.
It is good to collect information about the job market and prospects and to see the admission criteria for the courses you like to join. These will help you to focus on some area of study and to pray specifically. If you commit your ways to the Lord without any reservation and wait upon Him in intense prayer, He will also give you internal peace and joy and will confirm His choice in your heart. But at the same time, please also remember to stay within the means of your parents to support you in your educational expenses. Your studies and career should be a matter of exercising your faith in the Lord for the means to study and find a job.
Along with considering secular education, it is also worth considering biblical education as a viable option. Biblical education will help you to have a strong foundation in the Word of God and train you to serve the Lord in His vineyard. God’s vineyard needs people of all professions to work as partners in the extension of His kingdom. Christian ministry needs doctors, nurses, engineers, IT professionals, teachers, mechanics, cooks, painters, and administrators, along with Bible teachers, preachers, writers, and counselors. So pray that the Lord will have pre-eminence in your choice of education and career, whether it is through secular or biblical studies.
I want you to be careful that your choice of a course or a career would not keep you away from Christian fellowship and spiritual activities. Always keep your spirituality, the interest of the Lord, His church and the people He loves as most important in your mind. God expects His children to be ready to sacrifice any worldly prospects and prosperity for His sake because He forsook heaven and all its comforts to come down to this world to die for you.
It is also good to discuss your interest and commitment with your parents and seek their prayer support and wise counsel in making the right choice. Make sure to listen to the views and opinions of your parents patiently and pray together with them so that you all can together decide about your choice of a course and a career. It is also good to consult with senior brothers in the assembly and ask them to pray for you in this vital matter. Hope you have a prayer partner with whom also you can pray about your choices. Above all, you may please pray alone intensely (Matthew 7:7-11; John 14:13-14; Philippians 4:4-7) about this matter.
May God lead and guide you to find His perfect will in choosing the right field of study and join the right career for His glory! I am praying for you that the Lord may make your life, education, and career a great source of blessing to others and bring glory to His name.
Hope my observations given above will be of use to you as you prayerfully consider the various options that are around you. If you have any further questions in this matter, please do not hesitate to write to me.