Bible Question:

Can I be what God wants me to be and still be what I want to be?

Bible Answer:

The answer depends on what you mean by “what I want to be.” The prophet Jonah is a great example of a person who did not want to be what God wanted him to be – a missionary. Some people would also say he was an evangelist.

The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. (NASB) Jonah 1:1-3

I Do Not Want To!

The Bible tells us that God wanted Jonah to go to Joppa and “cry against” Nineveh. That is an old expression meaning “to warn” or “preach against something.” God wanted Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh that they were sinners and that they were going to hell some day if they did not believe or depend on Jesus to forgive their sins. This means they had to stop trying to earn their salvation – heaven. So Jonah was to warn them to turn from their sins and turn to God. But he did not want to do that.

For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. (NASB) Jonah 1:10

Jonah was trying to run from God. He did not want to do what God wanted him to do. So he “bought a ticket” on a “cruise ship” and God eventually gave him a “ride” inside a fish (Jonah 1:15-17). Scripture tells us that Jonah died inside the fish (Jonah 2:6) and was brought back to life. Eventually, Jonah decided it was better to do what God wanted and so he went and preached to the Ninevehites.

They Wanted To!

The people of Nineveh heard Jonah and repented of their sins.

When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it. (NASB) Jonah 3:10

God saw their sorrow and the fact that they turned away from sinning and spared them from calamity. These people decided to do what God wanted. They wanted to be what God wanted them to be. Here is a believer in God who did want not to do what God wanted and a group of sinners who did want to please God. God punished this believer and was lovingly kind to the people.


Can we be what God wants us to be and still be what we want to be? It depends on the desire of your heart. If you want to please God from the depths of your heart, then the answer to your question is yes because you will want to do what He wants you to do. Psalm 37:4 tells us that if we love God and truly seek Him, then we will want to be what He wants us to be.

Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. (NASB) Psalm 37:4

Our desires will be His desires because He is changing the desires in our hearts to be like His.

But if you do not care about what God wants, then you will probably not be seeking to be what He wants you to be and God may eventually discipline and give you a “ride” with some disaster in your life. It depends on your heart’s desire. As a young person I did not always want “to be what God wanted me to be.” Life was not very fun; in fact, being a Christian was dull and boring. Finally, one day as I struggled with my life and what it meant to be a Christian, I found that I wanted to please God and to be what He wanted me to be. It changed my life! I no longer did what I did because I “had to” but because I “wanted to.” I found that I wanted to be what God wanted me to be both now and in the future.

Suggested Links:

Discipleship Training - Part 1
Discipleship Training - Part 2
Second Rejection in Nazareth