Test and approve God’s will

I think it is common to most people that we struggle to know what God wants us to do. Sometimes it seems difficult to understand which direction we should go. Sometimes it seems like it would just be better if God were to appear and say do this or do that.

Except… He did.

In fact, this is exactly what he did. He didn’t show up in front of me necessarily, but God did show up here on the earth and he did tell us what he wanted us to do.

Now we need to do it.

Except something gets in the way. My own self. And now we have arrived at the real problem. The issue isn’t that I can’t know what it is that God wants me to do. The issue isn’t that I don’t know how I can know his will. No, instead, the issue is that I don’t actually want to do what he wants me to do. I want another instruction. I want the instruction that I want. It isn’t God’s will that I’m looking to receive. It is my will that I am wanting to hear from God. If only God would tell me what I want to hear, then I could approve it and do it. Then I would confirm that God is speaking, because what he is saying is what I want him to say.

Except it doesn’t work like that. God has his will and his plans, and we have ours. Our job, instead of getting God to do what I want him to do, is to learn to align myself with what God is doing.

This is what Paul is saying as he tells the Romans that they must renew their minds and be transformed. Here is what he says:

Do not conform 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

The difficulty in this situation is that we are trying to understand God’s will for our lives, or for a particular situation, but we are doing it with a mind that is conformed to the world. We are thinking in the way that the world thinks and we don’t even realize it. We are thinking with solutions that involve money, power, fame, or pleasure, and yet these are exactly the opposite of how God thinks. His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts.

God will not change. We must. We must renew our minds by praying, by reading the scripture, by asking God for his help in understanding. Then, and only then, will we be able to test and approve God’s will for our lives. Then, and only then, will we see what it is that he is telling us and begin to do it because we understand that he has already told us what to do and it is the right way for us to go.

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