What is God's Will for My Life?
Romans 12:1-2 - Selected Scriptures
by Cooper P Abrams III
INTRODUCTION:   Many times over the years people have expressed to me they were trying to find God's will for their lives. Often they make statements like "I really do not know what God wants me to do."
We first must determine what the person means by their statement they are seeking God's will. Are they seeking to know?
There is really no mystery to the matter and the answer to all these questions is actually quite simple. Let us look at this matter of finding God's will for our lives in two categories:
God's present will for me and God's future will for me.
I. God's Present Will for My Life.
First let us deal with a false expectation that is often associated with seeking God's will. This expectation is that we want God somehow to reveal the future to us. Often that is really what people mean...they want to know the future. I suppose we think if we knew the future we would know what direction to go and what to be doing now to prepare for it.
That is putting the cart before the horse. Certainly we can have goals and work toward them, but in finding God's will for our lives God normally does not work this way.
The biblical principle is that we live in the present trusting in the Lord, daily living our lives for Him, and He will direct us and guide us towards what He wants us to do in the future. In other words, we live by faith, trusting in the Lord today, and by this process God will prepare us for future service and get us to where He wants us. Therefore God's will involves if we are living today for the Lord the future will take care of itself.
A. Romans 12:1 begins with a simple but profound statement..."I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
B. Note there are three specific statements which will accomplish "proving, that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.
2. We are only able to do this by the "mercies of God." Although we by faith acting on God's instructions give ourselves to Him, we cannot be successful if it is done in the flesh. It is the mercy of God that He enables us to live for Him. As Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:1 "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."
Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7 mentions that he asked God three times to take from him what he calls a "thorn in the flesh." God's answer was, ". . . My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9).
God tell us in 1 Thessalonians 5:24 "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." We are to make ourselves available to the Lord and He then directs and uses us. Whatever God's will is for us....He will accomplish His will for our lives if we allow Him too. We do not need to know the future because it is in His hands. If we live today faithfully serving the Lord, God will take care of the future and of course are present also. It is a matter of living by faith. We trust the Lord and that means believing what He has said. So He promises to guide and direct our lives...therefore we by faith accept that is what He is doing.
It has been well said that God never asks to do anything that He does not provide the means for us to do it. God gives us the abilities and means to accomplish He will. 1 Corinthians 12 explains that God gives spiritual gifts to all believers to equip us to serve Him in the capacity that He desire.
Some people are given the ability to teach, but others are not. If a person has the ability to teach and that was God's will He would provide the opportunity to use the gift.
Old Testament animal sacrifices were offered to the Lord and given to the worship of God in the Temple. Further the sacrificed animals were the food which sustained the priests and allowed the work of God to continue. Thus, the sacrifice was vital to the ministry of the worship of God and in the same way, those who sacrifice themselves to the Lord, are His witnesses and He uses them to carry out His purposes. God work requires sacrifice on our part.
It was Christ's sacrifice and suffering for sin that made our salvation possible. Matthew 16:24 records Jesus' words to those who wanted to be His disciples, "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." To serve the Lord, which is what being a disciple means, involves sacrifice on our parts....putting ourselves on the altar of God's will and letting Him use us as He purposes.
It says this is to be a "living" sacrifice. It means the Christians is to devote his life vigorously and actively to the Lord. In the Old Testament the when the Jew offered his sacrifice, he slew it, and presented it dead. This is what happens when a person puts their faith in Jesus Christ and is born again. The Old Testament sacrifice could not be presented again. The believer however, gives his body sacrificially to the Lord. In opposition to this, we are to present ourselves a living to be used in God's service. It means we are to be a continuing sacrifice which God can use daily over and over. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:31 that he died daily meaning he died to self in order to live daily for the Lord.
Further we are to "die to self" in which we become dead to sin. Romans 6:1-2. 11 explains, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? . . . Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him"
Romans 6:13 says, "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."
3. The word "holy" means "dedicated wholly to God's purposes without blemish or defect." The Old Testament Temple and its furnishings were never used for anything else but the worship of the Lord. These things used in God's service were to be carefully kept clean and pure always and never allowed to be polluted or contaminated. They were never used for anything else. The Christian is to sacrifice himself (body) to be "holy" which means dedicated only to the service of the Lord and nothing else. We are not to yield ourselves to worldliness as verse 2 states, but be wholly given to the Lord's service. We are not to allow any corruption to enter and if it does we are to a 1 John 1:9 says...confess it immediately to the Lord and let Him "cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
ILLUS: We often hear of the "conversion" of some Hollywood movie star. A number of them claim they are Christians, and "born again." Sadly they continue in the same way as they did before, making "R" rated movies, which show sinful acts. Mel Gibson who produced the movie the "The Passion of Christ" is an example of a man who claims to serve the Lord, but makes sinful movies. His movie the "The Passion of Christ" was wholly unbiblical. It was based on visions of Catholic nuns in centuries past. It appealed to many people...but it was not unsurprising to me that so many who claimed it helped them, remained in the same old sinful life style as before. Several people got mad with me because I spoke out against it and tried to show people it was not based on the biblical account. Yet, they did not like it and criticized me. You see dear friends....we are to be separated from the world. We do not need the movie of a sinful Hollywood actor to teach us about Christ's sufferings. We have God's word the Bible and in it we will find truth and strength to live for the Lord.
3. This bodily sacrifice is to be one that is "acceptable" to God. We cannot offer a polluted or tainted sacrifice to Him. God tells us plainly how we are to worship Him in "Spirit and in truth" as John 4:24 says. The vain traditions of men, religious acts, and ceremonies such as performed by the Catholics and of pagan religions are not pleasing to God and thus are unacceptable to Him. Bowing before statues, crossing ourselves, chanting ritualistic prayers, wearing robes, etc do not impress God and are not to be done in worship nor allowed to be practices in our lives. We do not lift up church rituals and ceremonies to honor the Lord....but offer to Him godly lives, lived as a testimony to the truth of God's word and His life changing power.
4. It says this absolute and complete giving of ourselves to the Lord is just "our reasonable service." This means it is not something unusual or some extra ordinary act, but that giving ourselves wholly and completely to the Lord is the normal way a believer is to live his life.
Our offering of ourselves to the Lord should not be constrained or forced on us by any means. It should be totally given out of conviction that it is what God wants and in faith we believe God and know it is the best for us.
We are to hold back nothing giving ourselves completely.
2. The Holy Spirit will lead us daily to accomplish what God wills for our lives.
3. If we do not live for the Lord today and accomplish His will for today... certainly we will not accomplish God's will for tomorrow.
4. This is an important point: We do not need to know a great deal about the future God has for us. Certainly we would like to know what God wants for us in the future, but what is important is to know what He wants today! If God directs today, and tomorrow and the next day...on into the future...God will get us to where He wants us to be and will use us as He desires.
2. The unsaved world lives in sin and seeks to satisfy the lusts of the flesh. The motivating force in their lives is satisfying their own desires. In their lost state they live according to their carnal natures. God tells us this in 1 Corinthians 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
In Romans 7:14 Paul explained that as a unsaved man he was carnal and sold under sin.
3. Many churches today are using what is termed "Contemporary Services" which is only a phrase that tries to hide the fact they are conforming to the ways of the world. A more accurate term would be to call their services "Worldly Services." They us what is called "Christian Rock Music" in their services. It is certainly rock music, but it absolutely not Christian. It is the world's music being masqueraded of Christian. It is not of God, but music of the world with a beat and tempo that appeals to the flesh and emotions. It promotes a temporary emotional high and pleasurable feeling, but it does not feed the soul and spirit of man. This is but one example of not conforming to the world. They in effect are conforming to the world's sinful ways...offering them to the Lord as worship. They make the pulpit where the Word of God is preached and taught rather into a stage where they put on entertaining "talks and shows." God says our worship is to be acceptable to Him and further says it is not to be conformed to the world and its sinful ways.
4. It does not mean we are to dress in dark suits, wearing special garb and act strange. We know of a number of groups that do that wearing special clothes and speaking in a certain way. But wearing different clothes does not make us spiritual or closer to the Lord. It actually sends the wrong message. We are not be conformed to worldliness which is sin.
If a person wears clothes that is immodest and sexually revealing it indicates an inward spiritual problem. Indecent dress is what the world wears and it is designed to accentuate that which is sexual. Christians are to dress modestly which means not drawing attention to themselves.
The Christian rejects such sensual and worldly clothes and instead wears modest clothes that honor the Lord. Christians should not get caught up in every fad that comes down the road. Today, the popular trend is getting tattoos, body piercing, spiked hair, sexy clothes, baggy clothes and makeup. We should not let ourselves or our children be taken up in every fad that comes our way. Modesty is rule of the Christian's apparel and dress that does not draw attention to one's sexually.
We must also say that some styles of clothes are designed to show a rebellious spirit. I grew up in the 50s-60s when long hair for men was a sign of rebellion. Ear rings in men in America and may parts of the world today are symbols for homosexuality. We can see that in our culture in every age there are clear styles of clothing and behavior that promote the image of being a rebel and worldly....which is against godliness and righteous living.
2. 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." A Christian is a new creation in the Lord. The unsaved man only has a carnal nature and cannot please the Lord, because he does not believe in God nor worship Him. But the saved man, has a new nature, the very nature and indwelling of God. He now has the ability to serve the Lord and to overcome sin and worldliness.
1 John 4:4 explains this new status the believer has, "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." The believer can have the victory over sin because God abides in him.
To renew something means to re-establish or give fresh life and strength to something. It means to replace something that is of no longer any value. Clearly, when a person believes and received Christ as their Savior, their minds and thoughts are given a new way to think and strength that was not present before. The old carnal mind is replaced with one that seeks the Lord and is able to understand God's truth and apply it in one's life.
B. The verse uses three words to describe this will of God that will be accomplished.
Perfect - Is that which is free from defect, stain, or sin. That which has all its parts complete, or which is not disproportionate. Applied to the will of God, it means that which is consistent, which is carried out; which is evidenced in all the circumstances and relations of life.
Acceptable - This refers to that which will be pleasing to God, or which He will approve It involves the main duty of our salvation is to be separated from the world; and expresses the way in which that duty may be performed.
We are to live so as to ascertain and do the will of God. If all Christians would obey this, our faith would be everywhere honored. If all would separate from the vices and follies, the amusements and gaieties of the world, Christ would be glorified. If all were truly renewed in their minds, they would lose their relish for such things; and seeking only to do the will of God, they would not be slow to find it.
So...in a nutshell, God's will is simply that we live today for Him, giving our lives sacrificially to Him, and He in turn gets us to where He wants us to be and uses us as it pleases Him. We are to pray seeking God's will and making ourselves available. If we have the desire to teach or even be a pastor or missionary....we should seek to determine if we have the God given ability. Then we wait ready for God to open a door or means to use the talent. If it is God's will...the door will open and the means to use our God given gifts will present itself.
Finding the will of God is as I said in the beginning...it is quite simple. Finding God's will comes when one lives his life daily for the Lord. It comes or is revealed as we obey God. That is God's will...that we obey Him daily trusting in Him. We need to address our lives and through self examination determine is how we are living is in accord with the Word of God. It there is any sin or unfaithfulness in our lives we are to confess it and in repentance turn from it unto the Lord.
We should not concern ourselves with seeking God's will in the sense of trying to know the future, but rather seek to obey God, and thereby be in His will. Ecclesiastes 12:13 after looking at all the follies and short comings of man says, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."
We need to realize that God rarely lets us know the future and He has a reason for doing so. If we knew the future....it would be our natural reaction to work toward accomplishing it. But God does not want us to accomplish His will for us in the flesh and in our human power, but rather being dependent on Him....let Him bring about that will in our lives. Then what is accomplished will honor the Lord and He will be able to use us to reach others for Christ.