Knowing God’s Will
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Martin Luther, the great reformer, lived a life of continued repentance. Each and every day he would crawl on his knees up the steps of the Wittenberg Church, toward the goal of pleasing God. And each day, no matter how hard he tried, he never felt any closer to God.
After reading through the Book of Romans, Luther wrote and nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church, a declaration of the doctrine of grace. It was a document that attacked the abuses of the church’s leadership and the sale of indulgences by church officials. Luther saw that his life had fallen short of the glory and perfection of God. That none of his efforts made a difference. He recognized that the gospel of Jesus Christ was and is the Good News and that the doctrine of justification by faith is at the heart of the gospel.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.
When we hear the term sacrifice a lot of images come to mind. In the Bible, we envision the sacrifices described in the Old Testament, a priest killing an animal, and placing it upon the altar. Animal sacrifices were an important part of worship in the Old Testament, but it was second to the true type of sacrifice God desired from His creation, obedience.
God does not want dead animals but living people. We are to sacrifice our lives by being at His disposal. Laying our wants aside to follow and submit to His direction. According to the Scripture, it is the submission of our lives that is true worship.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, His good, pleasing, and perfect will. Romans 12:2
We are not to allow our lives to become molded into the image of the world around us. The world is filled with customs and behaviors that appear right but aren’t of God. For this transformation to be successful it must go deeper than merely not taking on the world’s value system. Nor will it come about by self-discipline or a strong will. God is not pleased by our sacrifice of worship if we allow our sinful nature to rule our lives. We can only be truly transformed by the Holy Spirit.
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
We all struggle with knowing God’s will. When Sir Winston Churchill was asked his opinion on the subject he said, “It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”
In other words, God’s Will is elusive, and at times, impossible to grasp. We use all kinds of approaches to decipher this divine secret code. Some are so ridiculous, if they were not done with such sincerity and devotion, they would be laughable.
A young man needed a car. He knew what he wanted and what he could afford. His primary desire, however, was to buy what God wanted him to buy. He prayed fervently and some good opportunities came his way, but he couldn’t tell if they were from God.
One night he had a dream, and everything was in yellow. He had his answer. So he went shopping and without ever driving it, bought a bright yellow Ford with yellow interior. The color turned out to be appropriate, it was a lemon.
What school to attend, what career to seek, who to choose as a marriage partner, where to live, and what church to attend are very real dilemmas that are NOT made very clear in the Scripture. In most cases, if we are honest, we will admit that it is not His will we seek but His direction. If we know what God wants from us, which is His will, then it stands to reason that we will know what we must do.
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?” Who has ever given to God, that God should repay Him?” For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.
Paul the apostle and God’s spokesman to the Gentiles, wrote more than two-thirds of the New Testament. Yet he professes to be incapable of comprehending God’s mind. If Paul the great apostle can’t know the mind of God, how can we be confident that we can?
We don’t need to know or understand what God is thinking to know His will for us. Remember Paul’s words in chapter 12, verse 2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Note that Paul doesn’t tell us to isolate ourselves from the world in a monastery on some mountaintop. Rather, while we live in this corrupt world, we are not to conform or adapt our lives to it. He also doesn’t tell us to change our minds but renew them. Changes can go both ways. They are a temporary fix. Renewal is permanent.
If we fulfill this mandate by allowing our lives to be transformed, then we will know what God’s will is. If we submit our desires and expectations in this life to God as an expression of our worship, then the struggle between His will and ours will come to an end. God’s will is simple. He wants the very best for us. We are His children. As with all children, because of our lack of understanding, we may not always agree with our Heavenly Father’s methods.
There is one thing that you can always be assured of: His motive is always love.
Until next time,