One of the most asked questions I get as a pastor/elder is: How can I know God’s will for my life? It’s a great question. But, I have learned something over time that may sound odd when I share it with you. I don’t believe the Lord is so much interested in revealing a specialized, nice, neat, wrapped up box with a bow on top to us that says:
“God’s Will for YOU inside.” The question we should be asking is not, “What is God’s will for my life,” but instead: “What is God’s will?” After many years, I think I might just be starting to learn the difference.
The first question is ego-centric. It is all about me. I want to know God’s will for MY life. The second question is about God. I simply want to know His will and then join Him where He’s already at work. So, what is God’s will? I believe Romans 12:1-2 tells us:
1 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. 2 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.
I am to be a “walking, dead man.” That’s an oxymoron, I know. Yet, that’s what Paul said to the church at Rome via the Holy Spirit. We are to be “living sacrifices.” God’s will for my life is that I die to myself. I am to be crucified with Christ so that I may live (See Galatians 2:20). Dying to myself is hard. Why? Because I like making ME happy. I like to eat what I want to eat, sleep when I want to sleep and do what I want to do. I’d like to do all of these things preferably in a comfortable manner. I don’t want to hurt, suffer or sacrifice. Just show me your will Lord and please don’t let it hurt. If you don’t mind, could you make it come with a promotion, more money, bigger house and with a slimmer waistline too! 🙂
If I really want to know God’s will then I must lose my life to gain it. “I” must lose “MY” life to gain it. MY life is no longer MINE, it’s God’s. Guess what? When that happens…hold on to your seat now…drum roll please… I will discover the will of God. That’s right! When I choose to be a living sacrifice and offer my body up to Christ, something will happen. I will become holy and I will no longer operate by the patterns of this world. My mind will become transformed. Do you know what it means to be transformed?
That’s a picture of transformation. The butterfly can do things the caterpillar could never do. So, it is when we seek the Lord because He is worthy to be sought. We go after him (ask, seek, knock) because of Who is He, not what He can do for us. Sometimes I treat the Lord like a jukebox. I put in my “prayer quarter” and expect to get my selection.
Psalm 37:4 says:
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Oh goody! I get what I want when I delight in Him. Ok, I’ll do that! Hold on! Wait a minute! We’re back where we started. I have a question. If I’m truly delighting in the Lord, what will MY desires be? Won’t they be His desires? Shouldn’t they be His desires? And, if they are His desires that I want, then shouldn’t I be able to discern His will?
That’s it! When our delight is in the Lord, then we will die to ourselves, thereby becoming a “living sacrifice,” developing a transformed mind and what do you know… I’ll tell you what we can know…
The WILL OF GOD!
That’s the last part of the passage from Romans 12:2…
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Isn’t that amazing? So, let’s quit coming to God asking, “What’s Your will for MY life.” Let’s start asking, “Lord, what is Your will?” When we do so in this fashion and then obey what He asks us to do, we’ll suddenly find we are smack dab in the center of God’s will. Don’t you just love the Lord!